[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Different Kind Of Seeing in George Mendoza’s “Colors Of The Wind”

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

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I know about this particular title and often book talk this in many of my presentations. I figure it’s perfect time to introduce it here for our current reading theme.


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Colors Of The Wind: The Story Of Blind Artist And Champion Runner George Mendoza

Written by: J. L. Powers Paintings by: George Mendoza
Published by: Purple House Press, 2014
ISBN: 1930900732 (ISBN13: 9781930900738)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

George Mendoza was not born blind. He became legally blind at the age of 15, but his case is somewhat unique as he still sees things, except that he perceives them differently from the ordinary individual. He has a rare form of blindness known as fundus flavimaculatus. In the Author’s Note, this is described as having a destroyed central vision but with limited peripheral vision.

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Originally, he wanted to become a basketball player, and he was good at it too – until he started having strange visions and prolonged headaches. Yet even when the doctor told him that he was going blind, this did not deter him from being physically active, although he would often stumble into things. While he could not play basketball any longer, he took up running and became so good at it, he competed twice for the Olympics.

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It was a priest friend who encouraged George to paint what he sees, at a time when he felt very discouraged. Given that he has what he describes as “kaleidoscopic eyes” it does put him in a very unique position to transform those brilliant flashes of light into something real and beautiful through his paints.

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The Author’s Note shows that Mendoza now has a non-profit corporation for the promotion of the arts known as the Wise Tree Foundation, Inc., and his paintings have been exhibited around the US. His biography was also narrated by actor Robert Duvall on PBS stations in 2006. Clearly, George Mendoza’s kaleidoscopic vision has much to offer the world.

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