National Braille Literacy Month!

Hey bookies! January is national braille literacy month and to celebrate I thought I could broadly define it and offer suggestions on where to find books with braille.

What Is Braille? | American Foundation for the Blind

First off, braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are blind, have low vision, and/or deathblind. It’s wrote on embossed paper and can be read on the paper or by using technology that uses refreshable braille displays that connect to smartphones or computers. The writing system is named after Louis Braille who developed the system based on the French alphabet as an improvement to night writing (a method of writing with raised dots that could be read by touch developed by Charles Barbier as a tactile military code so soldiers could communicate silently at night and without a light source). Braille modified the code into a one-to-one transliteration of the French alphabet, but soon shorthand methods were also created. The two forms of braille are contracted (shorthand) and uncontracted (long-form where every word is spelled out). Fast forward to today and now there’s braille code for 133 languages!

How to Write in Braille: 9 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

Because of the size of braille lettering, braille books are much bigger than their counterparts and they’re usually broken down into volumes like encyclopedias are. For example, Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary is 72 volumes in braille! There’s also such a large community that reads braille that there’s an annual competition for students to compete in reading comprehension, proofreading, and spelling categories. There’s also the Nemeth Code, which is a version of braille for math and you can even get tattoos in braille! Mainstream toys, like Monopoly and Legos, are also starting to enter the braille world by making their toys more accessible to every child.

Free Children's Braille Book Club | Paths to Literacy

Usually most people don’t see braille books. A lot of libraries carry them and you can always talk to your librarian about obtaining some if needed. When I volunteered at the library in my hometown I remember seeing some and taking the time to look through them. You can also contact organizations like Braille Books for the Blind, Braille Institute Library, and Braille Books Program for access to braille books. However, with the advent of technology, braille is evolving onto computers, phones, and e-readers. There are also audiobooks, which can be less expensive than braille books and more accessible for some to use.

5 Examples of Technology for the Blind: Beyond Braille | OpenMind

Hopefully you learned something today as I did while making this post. Mostly, I wanted to make this post because a lot of people say that accessible reading, like audiobooks, isn’t real reading. People who say that tend to forget that not everyone has sight to see printed words. Many people, not just those who are blind, have issue seeing printed words for various reasons and gatekeeping reading is not going to be accepted in 2022.

Chloe’s Super Secret Underwater Adventure by Tian En

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Chloe’s Super Secret Underwater Adventure

Author: Tian En

Book Series: The Super Secret Book Series

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Singaporean MC and characters

Recommended For…: middle grade readers, fantasy, superheroes, action/adventure

Publication Date: December 13, 2021

Genre: MG Fantasy

Recommended Age: 13+ (mentioned animal abuse, mentioned animal violence, mentioned animal death)

Explanation of CWs: The book briefly mentions animal abuse, violence, and death.

Publisher: Indie Published

Pages: 31

Synopsis: Chloe never expected a fishing trip to turn into the biggest adventure of her life! Together with the superhero Koolara, they embark on an underwater mission to capture a killer monster before it destroys all life in the ocean… but are they already too late?

Review: This was such a fun read! I love the Super Secret Book and I loved seeing a character return for this mini book. The book was fun and fast read. The character development was good. The world building was good. And it’s just a fun read.

The only issue is that the length is super short and I really wanted more. I’d also love to see Chloe in Diamond City.

Verdict: It was great! Highly recommend!

The Last Lumenian by S.G. Blaise

Disclaimer: I received this finished copy from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Last Lumenian

Author: S.G. Blaise

Book Series: The Last Lumenian Book 1

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For…: young adult readers, science fiction, romance

Publication Date: June 18, 2020

Genre:  YA Sci-Fi Romance

Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, gore, slavery, internment camps, romance)

Explanation of CWs: There are scenes and mentions of slavery and internment camps in the book. There is a strong romance plot line in the book. There is also violence and gore throughout the book.

Publisher: Indie Published

Pages: 316

Synopsis: MOST PRINCESSES NEED SAVING. THIS ONE WILL SAVE YOU.

She is a rebel. Lilla is fighting for the refugees’s freedom from oppression. The king, her father, lost touch with reality ever since Lilla’s mother died. Now everyone else is paying the price.

The arrival of Callum, a powerful Teryn general, complicates Lilla’s life. His presence leads to conflicted feelings and friction with Arrov, a handsome pilot and fellow rebel.

Her life is not what she imagined it to be. Not by far. Meddling gods, love interests and sudden magical abilities have no room in Lilla’s world, but that has become her new reality. No matter how hard she pushes them away, it’s too late. They all seek to control her anyway.

Now the Era War between two ruling archgods forces Lilla to act: accept who she really is magic and all; find true love; fulfill her destiny by defeating the Archgod of Chaos and Destruction before He finds her. The Last Lumenian.

Review: Overall, this was an ok book. I liked the message behind it, to stand up for what you think is right, and I liked the romance aspect of it. I thought the book’s premise was really good and the plot kept me interested throughout the book.

However, the book is badly written in my opinion. The book immediately jumps into the story without explanation of what’s going on. By page 10 we’re already knee deep into a plot that should have been 150 pages into the book instead. The book is way too fast paced and it does nothing to explain the magic system or the world we’re in. The characters are also not well developed and I didn’t feel anything for anyone.

Verdict: It’s ok, but not for me.