Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Louis Braille

A Picture Book of Louis Braille

David A. Adler
Illustrator:  John C. Wallner , Alexandra Wallner 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Holiday House, 1998   ISBN: 0823414132

Louis Braille was the son of a saddle maker, and he lived with his parents and siblings in a small village near Paris, in France. One day, when Louis was only three years old, he went into his father’s workshop, and when no one was looking, he played with one of his father’s sharp tools. The tool slipped and cut Louis’ eye. Unfortunately, medical care in 1812 was primitive, and Louis lost his sight in the injured eye. The infection then spread to his other eye and he became completely blind.

Not wanting his son to be cut of from the world, Louis father did everything he could to make sure that Louis had as normal a life as possible. Using nails hammered into a board to form letters, Louis’ father taught his son the alphabet, and Louis then went to the local school.

When Louis was ten years old, he became a student at the National Institute for Blind Children in Paris. Louis was taught to read using books that had raised letters on the pages. Later he was taught sonography, a system of writing that used raised dots and dashes. Though Louis was able to use the system, it was not that easy to learn, so Louis began to work on a new system that used raised dots only. His system was much easier to use then sonography.

As they read this excellent picture book biography, young readers will discover how Louis Braille created a form of writing for the blind that would improve the lives of millions of blind people all over the world. The author helps readers to see what Louis’ world was like and why his invention was so important.