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Posts Tagged ‘louis braille’

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, written by Jennifer Bryant, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
published in 2016 by  Alfred A. Knopf

On one hand, Louis Braille doesn’t need any introduction. His name speaks for itself. It must be among the most recognizable in the world.

On the other hand, the story of his childhood, appalling accident that led to blindness, quest for learning, and sheer brilliance and dogged persistence in developing a written code to uncloak the world for the blind — this fascinating story does need telling and hearing.

And there are numerous biographies of Braille for children. This newest one by Jen Bryant, though, tells it exceptionally well, ushering us right into Braille’s experience. As Bryant says in her Author’s Note, she wanted to answer the question, “What did it FEEL like to be Louis Braille?” By digging into the emotions of Braille’s story rather than only the facts, she gifts us with this superb book.

Boris Kulikov’s inspired illustration work plunges us into darkness right alongside Louis, then gorgeously illuminates his world.  Little wonder it received a 2017  Schneider Family Book Award, a category honoring the artistic expression of the disability experience for children.

Braille spent years slaving over his code, determined to craft one efficient enough to give the blind opportunity to read anything and everything available to sighted persons. And he did this as a child, producing his nearly-final code at age 15. What a fitting story to share with children, ages 6 and up.

A Q&A at the end of the book reveals lots more about Braille and his marvelously curious, inventive mind.

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the kid who named pluto cover imageThe Kid Who Named Pluto and the Stories of Other Extraordinary Young People in Science, by Marc McCutcheon, illustrated by Jon Cannell

When Robert Goddard was a young boy, frequent illness caused him to miss a great deal of school.  He used the time to read and imagine.  His inventor father, pleased with his son’s curiosity, kept him supplied with equipment — a telescope, a microscope, and a miniature lab which proved to be quite explosive!  Goddard continued to pursue scientific experimentation and musings into his high school years, doggedly pursuing his dream of space travel despite zero encouragement from the scientific establishment.  In the end, of course, he became “one of the greatest aerospace engineers in history.”  We call him the father of space flight.

Robert Goddard

Robert Goddard

At age 11, Venetia Burney took all she new of mythology, mulled it diligently, and came up with an exceedingly clever name for the planet that had just been discovered.  When she submitted her idea to the scientists at Lowell Observatory, they were delighted, and named the planet, Pluto.  Want to know why she chose it?  You can find out in this book.

Did you know that Isaac Asimov was a voracious reader who wrote gobs of stories beginning at age 11 and was published, finally, after years of hard work, at age 18?

Or that Philo Taylor Farnsworth was just 14 when he came up with the design for the first television?

Venetia Burney

Venetia Burney

This fascinating, energizing book tells the stories of nine young people who did not think science was only for their elders!  Their curiosity and tenacity led them into amazing fields of work — discovering sea monster skeletons, creating elaborate secret codes, developing Braille type — as teenagers and at even younger ages.  It is thrilling to read about the particular, uncommon interests each one possessed from a young age, and how they persevered — reading, writing,  studying, experimenting, building, digging — with such passion until they achieved their dreams.

Each story is fairly short — 4 to 10 heavily illustrated pages — and very engagingly written.  Page layouts, llustrations, colors, photographs, all work together very nicely to make the book look as appealing as it reads.  A nice list for further reading is also included.

Especially if you have a child intrigued by any scientific area, this is a captivating read.  However, philo farnsworth postage stampits enthusiastic portrayal of pursuing dreams at  young ages cuts across any boundaries.  Arts, craftsmanship, entrepreneurship, social activism, you name it — the sky’s the limit for young people.  Read this book with your mid-elementary age kids, and let the dreaming begin!

Here’s an Amazon link:  The Kid Who Named Pluto: And the Stories of Other Extraordinary Young People in Science

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