Jen Bryant Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille
Last updated date: July 8, 2019
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We looked at the top 1 Braille Books and dug through the reviews from 10 of the most popular review sites including Good Reads, The Horn Book, Desi Speaks, School Library Journal, Rhapsody In Books, The Children's Book Review, Teen Reads, Portland Book Review, Looking Glass Review, Kirkus Reviews and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Braille Book you should buy.
Jen Bryant’s "Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille" is an inspirational story about the young inventor who changed the world with his communication system. It also teaches readers about the power of will and the importance of love and support. The story itself is not written in braille. In our analysis of 36 expert reviews, the Jen Bryant Jen Bryant Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille placed 4th when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note July 8, 2019:
Checkout The Best Braille Book for a detailed review of all the top braille books.
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From The Manufacturer
Gr 1–4—This picture book biography of Louis Braille (1809–59) strikes a perfect balance between the seriousness of Braille's life and the exuberance he projected out into the world. The text highlights Braille's determination to pursue an education. Readers will learn how he attended the Royal School in Paris and was frustrated by the lack of books for the blind, an obstacle that set him off on a long quest to invent an accessible reading system. Braille ultimately found success by simplifying a military coding technique that had earlier been introduced but was far too complex. The focus on Braille as one of the world's great inventors is apt, and by taking a close look at his childhood, his family, and his experiences as a young person, Bryant makes Braille's story even more powerful. She writes from his perspective, which brings a level of intimacy sure to resonate with readers. Kulikov's mixed-media artwork mirrors and magnifies the text, keeping the spotlight solidly on young Braille and his world as he moves through it. VERDICT An engaging and moving account of an inventor, a solid addition for elementary collections.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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An Overview On Braille Books
Books help children to expand their imaginations, learn new words and develop their speaking skills. For children who are blind or have visual impairments, reading books and looking at the whimsical illustrations poses a challenge. Braille is a communication system that is designed specifically for people who are not able to see. A varied arrangement of raised dots represent letters and numbers. The reader can identify each character by tracing over the dots with their fingers. Braille also has symbols that show punctuation to make the reading experience clear and coherent.
In order to read braille, the person moves their two index fingers from left to right over the raised dots. Some people also use other fingers to read, but it’s common to just use the index fingers. While most of the system uses the raised dots to represent numbers and letters, some combinations of the dots are also used to represent common words that appear in a language. This helps to speed up the reading of braille and also shortens the length of braille books, making them less bulky and easy to use. On average, someone reading braille can read about 125 words per minute. Expert readers can reach speeds of 200 words per minute!
While braille isn’t the only system for helping the blind and visually impaired read, it is the most successful. Many other systems utilized raised versions of print letters, which can be hard to navigate and understand with just the fingers. Braille is deemed so successful because it uses a rational and regulated sequence of raised dots designed specifically for the fingertips. It doesn’t imitate letters which are designed for the eyes.
For visually impaired or blind kids, braille books can open up a world of imagination they can share with their peers. Books help to teach them new vocabulary and understand new words in context. In addition, reading helps children to improve their writing skills and overall communication skills. The lessons their books teach help them to understand and navigate the world around them. The stories they learn in their books can translate to situations in real life, too.
For visually impaired or blind parents, braille children’s books are a great way to bond with their kids. There is nothing quite like snuggling with your little one on the soft couch before bedtime or naptime and reading a favorite story. Reading helps parents to teach children about becoming life milestones such as the birth of a new sibling or starting a new daycare or school. These life-changing moments can be overwhelming for kids to understand and adjust to, but reading stories that imitate these milestones can help children to process their emotions and adapt to the changes taking place.
DYWM Fun Fact
Braille has a fascinating history. In the early 1800s, Charles Barbier, a soldier in Napoleon Bonaparte’s French army, was compelled to create a communication system called night writing. During his time in the army, he saw many men killed when they lit lamps to read combat messages in the dark. The enemy would see the lights and target them. As a result, Barbier found a way to send and read messages without the use of light.
Barbier’s system utilized a 12-dot raised cell, which was two dots wide and six dots tall. Each combination of dots within the cell stood for a letter or a sound. While his system was effective in some ways, its shortfall was that the human fingertip was not large enough to feel all the dots with a single touch.
Enter Louis Braille, who created the system we use today. Blinded at a young age due to an accident, he spent about a decade creating the modern version of braille. His key improvement was that he modified Barbier’s night writing to use a six-dot raised cell system, instead of 12 dots. This improvement enabled the human fingertip to touch the entire cell with one movement.
Braille isn’t just used with the English language. In fact, it’s used all over the world in different countries, where various languages are transcribed into braille. As a result, millions of blind and visually impaired readers are able to enjoy books and stories by using the unique system of communication.
The Braille Book Buying Guide
- When selecting a braille book, one of the most important things to look for is the quality of the braille itself. You want to make sure that the book will be easy to read for blind or visually impaired readers. Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” in braille includes the text in braille in addition to large touch-and-feel pictures which provide children with a tactile experience. The book is hand-crafted using 34 different materials to provide readers with an added dimension to the story.
- In children’s books especially, the addition of images gives another level to the story. Being able to share the images with visually impaired or blind kids helps them to understand the story in a visual sense. DK’s “Books Braille: Animals” uses braille, large print and high-contrast photography so that it appeals to blind, visually impaired and sighted readers. It also includes cut-out shapes that children can touch with their fingers. Jen Bryant’s “Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille” includes the braille alphabet in the book for readers to review, but the story itself is not written in braille.
- The story of the braille book is a critical factor when selecting which book to purchase. The plot is what captivates readers and listeners, so it’s important to choose a story that resonates with your child and their interests. Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a classic tale of a caterpillar and the delicious treats he eats on his journey to becoming a beautiful butterfly. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in braille by Dr. Seuss is about the curmudgeonly title character and the lesson he learns while trying to rid the town of the joyous season. DK’s “Books Braille: Animals” is a non-fiction educational book about different animals and their physical traits, eating habits and other interesting facts. Jen Bryant’s “Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille” is about the inventor of the braille language himself. It follows his life from childhood to adulthood and how he came up with the system of reading for visually impaired and blind people that is widely used throughout the world today.
- For many readers, the price of the book is an important element to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase the book. Kids’ books, in particular, are often thrown around and played with, so it’s important the book be affordable if it needs to be replaced. Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is available in braille hardcover for under $130. On the other hand, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Braille” by Dr. Seuss can be purchased for under $25 in paperback. DK’s “Books Braille: Animals” is available for under $20 in hardcover, while Jen Bryant’s “Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille” can be bought for under $15 in hardcover.
- The target age for the braille book is a factor that will affect how much the kids enjoy the story and engage with the characters. Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is ideal for babies and toddlers. The short sentences and clear phrases are simple to understand and help young children follow the story. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in braille by Dr. Seuss is appropriate for children three and older. It’s written in rhyme, so it has a melodious feel to it that helps children memorize words and phrases and become more familiar with the language used in the story. DK’s “Books Braille: Animals” is more advanced and is suitable for children who are between seven and nine years old. On the other hand, Jen Bryant’s “Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille” is best for kids who are between four and eight years old.
- With children’s books, in particular, the lesson or moral of the story is something of note. After all, kids use their imaginations on a daily basis, and what they hear in their bedtime stories can affect their day-to-day lives. Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” teaches a lesson about what happens when we are too greedy. The caterpillar is starving and eats too much food, and ends up with a stomach ache. He begins to feel better when he goes back to eating just a bit of a green leaf the next day. On the other hand, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in braille by Dr. Seuss has a complex lesson about how Christmas isn’t really about presents at all. While he can take away the gifts and decorations, people will still celebrate the season because it “doesn’t come from a store.” Being an educational non-fiction book, DK’s “Books Braille: Animals” doesn’t necessarily have a moral of the story. It’s more about expanding your knowledge and appreciating the other creatures we share the earth with. Jen Bryant’s “Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille” is about the amazing things we can do when we work hard enough and try our best. Although young Louis Braille was blinded at a young age because of an accident, he turned his adversity into an opportunity and created a communication system that is widely used today by those who are visually impaired and blind.