Jean-Francois Dumont has created some of our favorite children's picture books: The Sheep Go on Strike, The Geese March in Step, and The Chickens Build a Wall. In each one, he cleverly raises questions about social issues and the attitudes needed to build community. I Am a Bear follows in that vein. Any child who lives in or visits a city is bound to notice homeless people living on the streets. This book gives them a way to talk about that experience and consider how they might respond.
Bear lives on the street. He doesn't remember how or why he got there. "At first I thought that I was like everyone else: I'd go home at night for dinner and fall asleep peacefully in a nice soft bed." But now he sleeps on cardboard boxes.
He soon discovers other ways he's different. A little old lady won't talk with him; a butcher chases him away with a knife; a security guard throws him out of a food store. Soon he learns that people don't pay any attention to him at all. Until one day, a little girl stops and talks to him. To his delight, she returns in the following days, making his life brighter.
This book is designed for ages 4 to 8, but we think people of all ages will find it thought-provoking and inspiring.