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NLS Minibibliographies

Books about Louis Braille and His Invention

Content last modified November 2009

Introduction

To observe the bicentenary celebration of the birth of Louis Braille, the inventor of the embossed six-dot reading system used by blind people globally, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) compiled this minibibliography from its special-format collection of books about the man and his invention. These books are available to eligible NLS patrons through their cooperating network libraries throughout the United States and its territories.

Louis Braille was born January 4, 1809, in Coupvray, France. At the age of three he sustained an injury that led to his total loss of sight. He adapted to blindness and progressed through school, earning recognition for his high level of intelligence and creativity. As a teenager, he was introduced to a system of reading and writing by means of raised dots that had been devised by the French military. Since previous tactile reading systems for blind people had been based on printed letters, the efficiency of using dots inspired Braille to develop a dot-based system suitably sized for finger reading. He continued to refine and extend the system throughout his life.

Braille went on to become a well-respected teacher at the National Institute for Blind Youth, where he had studied since the age of ten. At the time of his death at forty-three, however, Braille had no idea his invention would become a universal system that opens doors to literacy for blind and visually impaired people around the world.

Although several dot-based systems were used during the early part of the twentieth century, the braille system was officially adopted by the American Association of Workers for the Blind and the American Association of Instructors of the Blind in 1918. When the Library of Congress was authorized by law to provide a free reading program for blind residents of the United States in 1931, the first books circulated were in braille. From those 15 titles, the NLS collection has grown to include 17,240 braille titles, including print/braille titles that allow blind and sighted individuals to read together.

This minibibliography lists titles available in braille and/or analog and digital audiobook formats. The first section offers materials covering the life and accomplishments of Louis Braille, and the second section lists books that discuss braille.

All digital audio titles are also available on the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD), https://nlsbard.loc.gov, which allows eligible patrons to download digital talking books and audio magazines. Patrons who wish to use BARD must have basic computer and Internet skills and a high-speed Internet connection. Most braille titles are also available on NLS Web-Braille at www.loc.gov/nls/braille (available only to registered users of Web-Braille).

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Contents

Louis Braille

      Books for Adults about Louis Braille
      Books for Children about Louis Braille

Braille: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

      Books for Adults on Braille: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
      Books for Children on Braille: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Louis Braille

Books for Adults

Triumph over Darkness
by Lennard Bickel
Biography of Frenchman Louis Braille (1809–1852), who created a raised-dot alphabet code when he was only fifteen. Discusses the development of the system of reading and writing that opened the world of literacy for visually impaired people. 1988.
BR 17280, DB/RC 68015

Louis Braille: Windows for the Blind
by J. Alvin Kugelmass
Biography of the inventor of the reading system that opened the world of books to blind people. Discusses the lack of recognition for Braille’s revolutionary innovation during his lifetime and its acceptance throughout the world during the twentieth century. For high school and adult readers. 1972.
BR 03178, RC 09596

Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius
by C. Michael Mellor
Biography of Louis Braille (1809–1852), a blind Frenchman who designed a code of raised dots that enables blind people to read and write. Discusses his schooling, his love of music, and the advantages of his tactile-reading system. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2006.
BR 16790, DB/RC 63350

The Reading Fingers: Life of Louis Braille, 1809–1952
by Jean Roblin
Biography of the French inventor of the braille code. Covers Braille’s family background and the cause of his blindness. Discusses his education, love of music, and contributions to the intellectual advancement of blind people through his raised-dot system of reading. Translated from French. 1952.
BR 14555

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Books for Children

A Picture Book of Louis Braille
by David A. Adler
Presents the life of the nineteenth-century Frenchman who was accidentally blinded as a child. Discusses Louis Braille’s development of the raised-dot system of reading and writing used throughout the world by visually impaired individuals. For grades K-3. 1997.
BR 14002 (PRINT/BRAILLE), DB/RC 53405

Louis Braille: Inventor
by Jennifer Bryant
Recounts the life of Louis Braille who, at fifteen, created a system of raised dots that allows blind individuals to read and write. Describes Braille’s childhood, the accident that caused his blindness, the support he received from his family, and his education. For grades 5-8 and older readers. 1994.
BR 11716, RC 46863

Louis Braille: The Boy Who Invented Books for the Blind
by Margaret Davidson
Biography of Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident at the age of three in the early 1800s. Describes his desire to learn, his education at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, his frustration with the method of using raised letters to read, and his development of the dot alphabet. For grades 3-6. 1971.
BR 09495, DB/RC 41325

Out of Darkness
by Russell Freedman
Recounts Louis Braille accidentally blinding himself with one of his father’s tools when he was three years old. Discusses Braille’s enrollment at the Royal National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, where at age fifteen he developed a system of raised dots for reading and writing, which is used worldwide by blind people. For grades 4-7 and older readers. 1997.
BR 11319, DB/RC 44992

Louis Braille
by Stephen Keeler
Discusses Louis Braille’s dedication as a teacher at the Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. Describes Braille’s development of a simple system of reading and writing for blind people and its use around the world. For grades 2-4. 1986.
RC 26767

Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius
by C. Michael Mellor
Biography of Louis Braille (1809–1852), a blind Frenchman who designed a code of raised dots that enables blind people to read and write. Discusses his schooling, his love of music, and the advantages of his tactile-reading system. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2006.
BR 16790, DB/RC 63350

Touch of Light: The Story of Louis Braille
by Anne E. Neimark
Describes Louis Braille’s home life before and after his accidental blinding at age three. Discusses his dissatisfaction with raised-letter books, which compelled him, at age fifteen, to develop the coded alphabet for blind readers. For grades 5-8. 1970.
BR 01423

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Braille: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Books for Adults

Braille into the Next Millennium
edited by Judith M. Dixon           
Essays examining the history and future of braille. Includes such topics as the development of the literary, Nemeth, and music codes; braille production; legal issues; library service; and literacy and computer-access concerns. Foreword by Frank Kurt Cylke and preface by Kenneth Jernigan. 2000.
BR 13188, RC 50969

The War of the Dots
by Robert B. Irwin
Recounts the struggle to achieve a uniform system for English-speaking blind readers. Discusses various raised-type systems, from embossed Roman letters used in the 1830s to the establishment of Standard English Braille in 1932. 1970.
BR 10878

The World under My Fingers: Personal Reflections on Braille
by Barbara Pierce
Encourages parents of children with low vision to introduce them to braille. Includes firsthand accounts from lifelong braille users and from people denied braille instruction, who believe they “have paid the price of that neglect for years.” Makes the comparison that reading print is like listening to a distant radio station with static while reading braille is like sitting in a symphony hall. 1995.
BR 10436

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Books for Children

All about Braille: Reading by Touch
by Laura S. Jeffrey
Discusses Helen Keller, Louis Braille, and other noted blind individuals, including mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer and musicians Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Provides information about learning braille, using computers with braille displays, and walking with a cane or guide dog. For grades 3-6 and older readers. 2004.
BR 15653, DB/RC 58906

The Secret Code
by Dana Meachen Rau
The class is learning to read, but Oscar has a special book with bumps instead of letters. Oscar, who is blind, shares his knowledge of reading braille with his friends. For preschool-grade 2. 1998.
BR 12369

Private and Confidential: A Story about Braille
by Marion Ripley
When ten-year-old Laura discovers that her new Australian pen pal, Malcolm, has vision problems, she learns how to use a neighbor’s braille machine to write to him. Includes an alphabet card and a braille message. PRINT/BRAILLE. For grades 2-4 and older readers. 2003.
BR 15046

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Posted on 2014-12-02