John H. Whitaker Place
Thursday, July 25 @ 2:30 p.m.
Margaret Pratt Community
Friday, July 26 @ 10:15 a.m., Bradford, VT
Wyonegonic Camps, Denmark, ME
Thursday, August 1 @ 1:15
Hickory Stick Bookshop
Washington Depot, CT
October 26, 2018
“Bessie and Tom Farmen captivated our School audience. The story of Bessie living with her blindness reminded the community that we need to be open and kind to everyone we meet. We showered Bessie with love because we knew she was blind. We were reminded to do that for people in our lives who are also struggling with their challenges. We loved learning about Bessie's life adventures and following her journey through videos, images and stories. The highlight was watching her try to catch the cookie she flipped off her nose!”
Liz Butler, Administrator, Rumsey Hall School - Washington Depot, CT
The 4th grade students at Disnard Elementary in Claremont had a warm welcome for Bessie, Tom and Ashley when they visited. Students marveled at Bessie’s independence and confidence despite her blindness. The visit reinforced the recently learned lessons on empathy and acceptance too. A great reminder for all of us to be kind to one another and man’s best friend too!
Kathleen Buckley, Grade 4 Teacher
Our residents and staff thoroughly enjoyed meeting Bessie and hearing her story of loss, courage and perseverance. This is a story that gives us courage through our own life struggles.
Donna Baker-Hartwell, Director of Activities
The Unity Town Hall
January 26 @ 1 p.m.
Sponsored by Unity Free Library
Our elementary school thoroughly enjoyed Bessie's visit! The Farmens spoke lovingly of Bessie's example of perseverance when faced with adversity and watching videos of Bessie putting those words into action was powerful for our students. The message of acceptance of and respect for all people, no matter the ability, supported our school's Community of Caring theme. We wholeheartedly recommend this assembly program: The message is a powerful one, appropriate for all aged students..and staff too!
Danielle Morse, School Psychologist/Counselor - Thornton Central School, Thornton, NH
We held a presentation by local author, Tom Farmen, who has written a book titled BESSIE'S STORY - Watching the Lights Go Out. He and his wife Ashley have an almost 10-year-old chocolate Lab who slowly went blind over a three year period. This book, and their presentation, show how they embraced this as a chance to learn from Bessie about facing challenges. Bessie has not slowed down at all. She's an outstanding Lab who graciously showed the students that despite her disability, nothing stops her from leading a perfectly content and fulfilling life. I witnessed many students smiling, loving and showing happiness that is sometimes hidden within them. The love and warmth that Bessie, Tom and Ashley exude is simply wonderful . It is our hope that our students will come away with the lasting thought to "Be Like Bessie."
Jennifer Aiken, School Librarian
We at Summercrest Senior Living Community in Newport, NH want to thank you for a wonderful afternoon. Bessie is an inspiration and such a HAPPY girl. I had Residents come to me after the presentation and say that they had tears in their eyes when Tom was reading parts of the book. They loved seeing Bessie so full of life, even when her world is so dark. BESSIE’S STORY - Watching the Lights Go Out reminds us that we have to face our disabilities with a smile, just like Bessie. She is a mentor for living life to the fullest and aging gracefully, no matter what happens. Thank you for telling Bessie’s Story. We could all feel the love in the room.
Barbara Rabtoy, Activities Director
Thank you so much for choosing The Toadstool Bookshop in Keene for your event. We appreciate you (and Bessie) taking time to share your book with our readers and we hope you will consider us again for any books you may publish in the future! Be sure to stay in touch and good luck with any future endeavors! Best,
Jasmine ( Events Coordinator) and the Keene Crew
Bessie’s Story engaged both students and staff, expressing lessons that are essential to life. As a middle school educator, I found this talk especially relevant and helpful as a way to use a wonderful story, such as Bessie’s, as a vehicle to teach about emotional intelligence. Bessie and Tom are wonderful teachers of what it means to enjoy life and not merely to endure challenges, but to embrace them.
Jacob Gagnon, M. Ed., Language Arts Teacher (6-8) - Walpole Elementary School
You were a delight to host (and the cookies were delicious, I can confirm) and we so adored sweet Bessie. Everybody left with smiles on their faces.
Elisabeth Jewell, Events Coordinator
“Thank you so much for everything! It was an all around great experience for everyone, and we're happy that it worked out so well! You were great guests, highly professional and personable, and Bessie, what can I say, she was amazing!” Kristian Preylowski, Co-owner, Yankee Bookshop
“Keene Area AAUW (American Association of University Women) invited three authors to speak at our recent annual "Evening with Authors" event in support of our scholarship program. One of those authors was Thomas Farmen who wrote in his book Bessie's Story: Watching the Lights Out about his dog Bessie, a chocolate lab, who lost her sight, providing life lessons on the art of aging gracefully. We so enjoyed Tom's presentation, along with slides and videos of Bessie, who attended the event. Tom concluded with an important message for us: "Be like Bessie!" We are so glad Tom agreed to come help us with our event. We learned about living with a special dog and growing old gracefully. Thank you, Tom, Ashley and Bessie!”
Vesta Hornbeck, President AAUW, Keene, NH