Friday, January 27, 2017

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille

First, I love that this story is told in first person.  Having already written another biography of Louis Braille, Jen Bryant was intimately familiar with the details of his story but in this picture book, her goal was to convey how Louis Braille felt and I think she does so masterfully.  Towards the beginning of the story, when he is playing with his father’s sharp tools and hurts his eye, you can feel the mischief, the knowing that he felt he was big enough to do what he was doing.  It doesn’t end well there, but fortunately that was not the end of Louis’ story.  Really, it was just the beginning in many ways.  Louis has an opportunity to attend a school for the blind where there are books for the blind and he is so motivated to be an excellent student in order to have the privilege to read them with his fingers but when he finally gets to do so, he realizes they are sub par.  Then a military code is developed, but Louis and the students decide it still doesn’t do everything they need when it comes to reading books.  Louis, still a teenager, develops an impressive code of raised dots and the rest is history.  Boris Kulikov shows how bright the possibilities are in the beginning of the story but how starkly dark they become after Braille’s accident and then conversely, they smile on Louis’ face and brightening of the illustrations show that once again his life is filled with the art of the possible.  Likewise, this story highlights a child inventor and young man who accomplished quite a lot in his short life; a model that any child can aspire to think big thoughts, even when you are still small.

{Like several previous blog posts, this one was written a while ago.  As I am loading it onto the blog, it is January 23rd and it will post on January 27th.  Today was a big day!  The ALA Youth Media Awards were announced this morning and Six Dots won a Schneider Family Book Award for being a book for children ages 0 to 10 that embodies artistic expression of the disability experience.}

Title: Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille
Author: Jen Bryant
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Published 2016 by Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN: 978-0-449-81337-9

This copy was borrowed from the public library for purpose of review.

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