Bringing a message of kindness and acceptance, author and television anchor John Gray visited Ryder Elementary School on Thursday, Jan. 23, to read his book “Keller’s Heart” to students.
Gray, whose visit was arranged by the Cobleskill-Richmondville Education Support Team (CREST), spoke for about an hour, answering questions from students and staff as well as signing copies of his book.
Throughout, he reminded his audience of the importance of simply being nice to others.
“All of us have something special about us,” Gray said in his talk. “Just be kind to another, and the world will be a much better place.”
“Keller’s Heart” tells the story of Raven, a deaf child, and Keller, a blind and deaf dog the young girl adopts from a shelter. Raven and Keller, named for Helen Keller, become best friends, and together they inspire those around them to accept one another, despite their differences.
Keller’s character is based on Gray’s own dog by the same name. The longtime television news anchor in Albany adopted Keller despite initial reservations about how the dog might get along with his other pets. As it turned out, his other dogs quickly made Keller part of the family.
“He’s happy every single day because they’re nice to him even though he’s different,” Gray told students. “They don’t mind that he’s different. They never ever tease or make fun of him.
“If you’re ever tempted to tease someone else because they’re different, or because they’re not as good as you at something, think of Keller.”
After Gray’s talk, CREST presented him with a parting gift – heavy-duty dog toys for Keller to enjoy with his friends.