[Monday Reading] Visually Impaired Heroes in 2016 Picturebooks

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

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What Color Is The Wind?fullsizerender-5

Written and Illustrated byAnne Herbauts Translated from the French by: Claudia Zoe Bedrick
Published by: Enchanted Lion Books, 2016 ISBN: 159270221X (ISBN13: 9781592702213)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me. 

Where has this book been all my life? I fell in love with this brilliant book with the blind boy – described here as the “little giant,” asking every creature that he meets: from the wolf to an elephant to the mountain and the rain – what the colour of the wind is.

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Each answer is more poetic than the last, as the wind’s colour is imagined oh-so-differently and so lyrically depending on who is giving the answer. While They All Saw A Cat is receiving rave reviews about how it tackles perspective taking in such a unique way, I feel that this title provides all that and more – except that this one has cut-outs, tactile pages (feel those raindrops – see below):

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… it even has a Braille version of the title in the colour page – something that may be easily missed by those who may not be paying close attention to the many little details that the author has lovingly introduced into the book. Then the vibrant colours – see the bright orange below:

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… as one captures sunshine as a colour. I also strongly feel that it is not so out there that it becomes inaccessible to young children – that this is a book that only adults can appreciate – I don’t think so.

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Its power lies in the cut-outs, the interactive nature especially in the end, and just the beauty of the language and the art. This is one book you should definitely find and experience for yourself, then maybe, just maybe, you can share with me what the colour of the wind is.

Six Dots: A Story Of Young Louis Braillefullsizerender-32

Written by: Jen Bryant Illustrated by: Boris Kulikov
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016 ISBN: 0449813371 (ISBN13: 9780449813379) Literary Award: Schneider Family Book Award (2017)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

When I learned that this book won the Schneider Book Award this year, I just know that I couldn’t wait for Nonfiction Wednesday to share this title.

This book tells the story of young Louis Braille’s life in France – from the time of his birth until the time that he invented the Braille Alphabet that revolutionized learning and education for visually-impaired individuals such as himself – when he turned fifteen.

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The young Louis had not always been blind. He got into a tragic accident when he was only five years old while playing with his Father’s tools in his workshop, determined to prove that he was big enough to be handling dangerous tools – only to end up losing his sight entirely, after complications during the period that he was in recovery.

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Everyone was devastated – since they know just how smart a young boy he was. When the Marquise who lived near their small town paved the way for his being educated in the Royal School for the Blind, the young Louis took the chance – even if it meant being away from his family and living in Paris. This was what changed Louis Braille’s life – particularly when the Headmaster asked for the young boys’ help to decode secret messages being sent by the French Army during battle – a message that can only be read by touch.

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Inspired by what would now be termed as the beginnings of Braille, Louis came up with a more intuitive system that would stand for letters, and not just sounds – and would be tailor-fit for the needs of blind people and make heretofore inaccessible reading materials available to them. I thought that this was such a beautiful and inspiring story that shows how much of what we consider as boundaries or limitations are self-imposed – and that there is really very little that we can not do, if we set our minds to it. Teachers would also be happy to note that there is an extensive back matter that provides additional information about Braille’s life and his invention – as well as a list of further references to check out for those who wish to know more.

10 Comments on [Monday Reading] Visually Impaired Heroes in 2016 Picturebooks

  1. What Color is the Wind? sounds fantastic. I also thought Six Dots was an inspiring book and had a great message. It was interesting, too. Thanks for sharing these wonderful books!

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  2. I still haven’t read Six Dots–and just remembered that fact thanks to your post. Just requested from the library. What Color Is the Wind? does look wonderful.

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  3. Oh my goodness, What Color is The Wind? looks breathtaking. I love the textural elements, which really encourages readers to explore the book on different levels. I really enjoyed Six Dots, such a fascinating nonfiction title.

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  4. What Color is the Wind looks terrific.

    I love the illustrations.

    Have a great week.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My It’s Monday, What Are You Reading

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  5. I’ve read and own Six Dots, love all of Jen Bryant’s creations. Every teacher might do well to have their students learn how it is to be sight challenged, or learn of other disabilities that both hamper, but teach new ways of “being.” What Color Is The Wind? is on my wish list, so someone shared it in the past. It does sound wonderful. Thanks, Myra.

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  6. Wow, I love these book suggestions about different abilities! Very moving . Thanks for the recommendation!

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  7. Always love the diversity in your picks!
    I cannot wait to read Six Dots–I am going to highlight it with a couple of other bios on a NF PB Wednesday 🙂 I didn’t know the other title–thank you for sharing!

    Happy reading this week!

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  8. Both of these are books I need to check out! Thanks for the recommendations!

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  9. Love the way you organized this post – Six Dots is sitting in our TBR pile

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