Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Louis Braille: The biography

Early in the 19th century, a blind teenager in France created a code of raised dots for reading and writing by touch instead of by sight. The National Braille Press is proud to release the first fully illustrated adult biography of Louis Braille.

Based on primary research and including 31 never-before translated letters, the new, visually elegant, hardcover book adds a dimension to the material on Louis Braille's life that has fed schoolchildren's biography projects for many years. Along with English translations of Braille's original letters, the book includes an extraordinary collection of documents, photographs, and artistic works-some unearthed from a curator's private archives in France. The text provides a bibliographic narrative of the phases of Braille's life as student, young inventor, musician, and teacher.

Author Michael Mellor considers himself extraordinarily lucky to have happened upon four never-before-translated (French-to-English) letters that Braille wrote to family members during his years at the Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles (National Institute for Young Blind). Braille, who died at age 43, lived most of his life at the school.

The book also includes 24 newly translated letters that Mellor first saw in 1998 on display at the school.

Based on patterns of dots within a six-dot matrix, braille code uses the same logic as binary computer codes invented a century later and has been adapted for math, science, music and every major written language.

Click this link to purchase Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius from the National Braille Press.
Click this link to listen or download a 22 minute BBC Podcast called The Story of Braille.

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