Kirkus Reviews QR Code
OUT OF DARKNESS by Russell Freedman


The Story of Louis Braille

by Russell Freedman & illustrated by Kate Kiesler

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: March 17th, 1997
ISBN: 0-395-77516-7
Publisher: Clarion

This biography from Freedman (The Life and Death of Crazy Horse, 1996, etc.) tells the familiar, moving story of the determination of Louis Braille, who did "more than anyone in history to bring blind people into the mainstream of life." Blinded at age three by a freak accident, Braille was sent to the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris at the age of ten. His first lessons were in "embossing," where raised impressions were "read" by tracing their outlines with a finger. This slow, cumbersome process was sanctioned by the French government, but a retired artillery captain's speech on sonography--a military code based on dots and dashes punched into strips of cardboard--inspired Braille to develop his own system of dots based on the letters of the alphabet. Readers know the ending, but the somber story of this gifted, generous boy is a compelling one. Rigidly rendered black-and-white illustrations make the setting of the story real; useful diagrams of Braille's alphabet and the slate and stylus used to write are included. With warmth and care, Freedman deftly delineates a life. (Biography. 10-13)