Approximately 285 million people around the globe live with low sight or blindness. October 12 is World Sight Day, a program organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to highlight treatment and prevention issues surrounding visual impairment. To find out more about their program visit their site here.
Many children are affected by blindness, low sight or other visual difficulties. There are some great books that help bring understanding to these issues.
The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Illustrated by Rosana Faria
This book is so unique my children kept coming back to look at it or rather feel it. The illustrations are raised black line drawings on a black background. Readers feel the grass, the feathers, and the rain rather than seeing them. This book is such a unique concept I can see why it was one of the 2008 New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books. The book also includes both text and Braille. The Black Book of Colors must be felt to be fully experienced.
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best
Zulay is a sweet girl with three best friends. As a mom of 3 trans-racially adopted daughters I loved that the main character is black and that her friends are of various races as well. Grace and I identified with the character right away. Zulay is shown with her with friends doing everyday activities and slowly the author leaves us clues that Zulay is unique. Braille name cards on desks, Zulay’s strong sense of smell and hearing, and a folded probing cane all lead the reader to discover Zulay is blind. Zulay may have to ask her friend for help during art class, but Zulay is the girl to ask for help if you are struggling with math. However, Zulay has to do one thing she doesn’t like, daily cane lessons with Ms. Turner. My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay is a great book for showing that everyone has weaknesses AND strengths.
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
Tricia the main character in this book can see, but she has problems with her vision that take years to discover. Tricia has trouble seeing letters and numbers the way others do. Dyslexia is difficult to diagnose and creates difficulty with reading and math. Mr. Falker is a creative teacher that helps Tricia learn to read and discover the joy of learning. This book is for more advanced readers or for listening to since the story is long and complex.
Back to Front and Upside Down by Claire Alexander
This is another book about dyslexia and the trouble a student can have learning to write letters. The illustrations are fun and colorful and will engage young readers. Stan learns that he has difficulty writing his letters, but even more trouble asking for help. When he finally does ask for help he discovers he isn’t alone. While this book is about having trouble with writing, I love that Stan finds the courage to ask for help.
The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon
Who doesn’t love a good pirate book? And with the pirate being a darling kindergartner named Ginny, this book had my children’s attention right away. Ginny loves kindergarten and she loves to read. But she often runs into things and must almost press her nose to a page to read the book. A vision screening at school reveals Ginny has double vision and must wear an eye patch. She earns her pirate title with her eye patch and is happy to not run into chairs and have to squint to see things. The illustrations in this book are so fun and help the reader understand what Ginny must be seeing. This one is definitely added to our favorites pile. This book was also the winner the Schneider Family Book Award which awards outstanding books dealing with special needs.
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant
Six Dots received the Schneider Family Book Award for 2017. The book retells the story of Louis Braille who created the Braille system of reading still used today. Louis created this system of raised dots because of his strong desire to read. A desire I fully understand! A life without books would be missing so much knowledge and adventure. This is a great book for those interested in learning about Braille and a great book about motivation and the desire to learn.
To read some of my other reviews of books about children with disabilities go here.
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