The following is a collection of non-fiction books that are written by or about people who are (or were) blind or visually impaired. If there are other books you would like to see here, please let me know so I can add them.
Alexander, Sally Hobart. Taking Hold: My Journey Into Blindness. Alexander tells the story of adjusting to blindness as a third grade teacher. The story focuses on her coming to grips with her emotions of fear, anger, despair and eventually, acceptance.
Shadows Behind the Wall
Blair, Clifford R. Shadows Behind the Wall. Brighton Publishing LLC., 2016. (high school level)
Shadows Behind the Wall is a fictional account of the daily lives of students at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Chris Montgomery, a seventeen year old recently diagnosed with a severe vision disorder, learns to function in the unusual environment of a state institution and unexpectedly finds first love there and becomes involved in a campus tragedy.
The Music of Silence
Bocelli, Andrea. The Music of Silence: A Memoir. This memoir by world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli tells his story of being born in the vineyards of Tuscany, and developing glaucoma as an infant. He reveals the anguish of his blindness and the transcendent experience of singing in this book.
Positive Vision: Enjoying the Adventures and Advantages of Poor Eyesight
Brandt, Ken. Positive Vision: Enjoying the Adventures and Advantages of Poor Eyesight. An upbeat, inspiring, adventurous, humorous memoir by a low vision author who has had six eye operations and was legally blind for many years. Demonstrates how vision challenges and difficulties can be overcome. The author does not believe that good eyesight is better than poor eyesight. However, he does believe that everyone with low vision – and their teachers and parents - should recognize and appreciate the advantages of poor eyesight, and he has filled the book with practical relatable fun examples.
Words in My Hands
Chambers, Diane Lane. Words in My Hands: A Teacher, a Deaf-Blind Man, an Unforgettable Journey. This is the story of Bert Riedel, an eighty-six year old pianist who is deaf-blind, cut off from the world since he was forty-five. He discovers sign language communication through his teacher, Diane Lane Chambers.
Charles, Ray. Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story. This autobiography by Ray Charles, the legendary musician who was blind and instrumental in creating soul music, tells his story in detail from his musical development to his heroin addiction to his tangled romantic life.
Cheng, Shirley. Embrace Ultra-Ability! Wisdom, Insight & Motivation from the Blind Who Sees Far and Wide. Shirley Cheng gives her precocious wisdom and insight into life as a person who is blind.
The Unseen Trail
Hanson, Michael. The Unseen Trail: The Story of a Blind Hiker's Journey on the Appalachian Trail. This is the story of Michael Hanson who set out on the Appalachian Trail without outside assistance, making a point about the power of technology and the independence of those without sight.
Touching the Rock
Hull, John M. Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness. In this story, John Hull tells his story of going blind. He describes how blindness shapes his experiences with his family, with strangers and with God.
Irwin, Bill. Blind Courage. This is the story of Bill Irwin, who, with his dog, Orient, hiked the 2100 miles of the Appalachian Trail. In this story of perseverance and survival, Bill provides a testimony of how God has helped him turn his shattered life around.
Kleege, Georgina. Sight Unseen. Georgina Kleege tells her story of being blind since the age of eleven. She describes the negative social status of being blind and analyzes stereotype that have been perpetuated by movies and in literature.
Kurson, Robert. Crashing Through: The Extraordinary True Story of the Man Who Dared to See. The story of Mike May who became blind at the age of three. He broke world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, becoming an inventor entrepreneur, and family man.
By Faith, Not By Sight
MacIntyre, Scott. By Faith, Not By Sight: The Inspirational Story of a Blind Prodigy, a Life-Threatening Illness, and an Unexpected Gift. Scott MacIntyre captivated the nation as the first blind finalist on American Idol. This book is his first-person account of his experiences being blind and challenge of kidney failure.
What Blind People Wish Sighted People Knew About Blindness
Martin, Harry. What Blind People Wish Sighted People Knew About Blindness. Harry Martin, 1996. Harry Martin makes learning about blindness easier than more technical books. He provides the reader with suggestions on what to do around a person who is blind and how to help without being in the way.
Matthews, Rob. Running Blind. This autobiography by Rob Matthews tells his story of losing his vision due to a congenital eye condition and turning to running. He began winning gold medals and breaking world and Paralympic running records.
Almost Like a Song
Milsap, Ronnie. Almost Like a Song. In this autobiography, Ronnie Milsap tells his story of being abandoned by his mom and raised by his grandparents in rural North Carolina. He tells of his childhood, marriage, and career as a legendary country music performer.
Search for Paradise
Naumann, Jens. Search for Paradise: A Patient's Account of the Artificial Vision Experiment. In this autobiography, Jens Naumann shares his story including what happens in a medical research lab and his journey of regaining vision through this miracle cure only to have it lost following his doctor's death.
The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist
O'Connell, Deirdre. The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist. This is a true story of a black musical savant in the era of slavery. He was born autistic and blind and into slavery in Georgia. He was eventually freed, toured the country and the world playing for celebrities like Mark Twain and the Queen of England!
A Sense of the World
Roberts, Jason. A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler. This book tells the story of James Holman, known as the Blind Traveler. He fought slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia and traveled the world.
No Finish Line
Runyan, Marla. No Finish Line: My Life As I See It. Marla Runyan, a U.S. woman Olympian, was nine when she was diagnosed with Stargardt's disease. This book tells her story of what it is like to grow up "disabled" in a society where expectations are often based on perceived abilities.
Smiley, Scotty. Hope Unseen: The Story of the U.S. Army's First Blind Active-Duty Officer. This book tells Captain Scotty Smiley's story of being the first blind active-duty army officer who was blinded by a suicide bomber in Iraq. Scotty's response became God's transforming moment. The injury only intensified his spirit as he went on to climb Mount Rainier, win an ESPY as Best Outdoor Athlete, surf, skydive, become a father, earn an MBA from Duke, teach leadership at West Point, command an army company, and win the MacArthur Leadership Award.
You Don't Have to be Blind to See
Stovall, Jim. You Don't Have to be Blind to See. Thomas Nelson, 2004. Stoval shows the reader how to choose a new path that will lead to success in every area of your life. Jim Stovall has been a National Olympic weightlifting champion, the President of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network, and a highly sought after author and platform speaker. He is also the author of the best selling book, The Ultimate Gift.
Adventures in Darkness
Sullivan, Tom. Adventures in Darkness: Memoirs of an Eleven-Year-Old Blind Boy. This story takes readers readers through his eleventh year when he felt isolated and also felt he was receiving special treatment because he was blind. This is his story of Tom's reliance on God to realize his dreams of a "normal" life.
If You Could See What I Hear
Sullivan, Tom. If You Could See What I Hear. This is an autobiography of Tom Sullivan, who is known as an actor, singer, entertainer, author and producer. This story that was turned into a movie in 1982.
My Path Leads to Tibet
Tenberken, Sabriye. My Path Leads to Tibet: The Inspiring Story of How One Young Blind Woman Brought Hope to the Blind Children of Tibet. Sabriye Tenberken set out to do something about the appalling condition of the Tibetan blind, who she learned had been abandoned by society and left to die. She traveled the country on horseback, seeking out the blind, devised a braille alphabet in Tibetan, equipped her charges with canes and set up a school for the blind.
Touch the Top of the World
Weihenmayer, Erik. Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Story. This memoir by Erik Weihenmayer begins with his childhood and his gradual loss of sight as a young child. He uses humor to recount agonies and hardships of his childhood, youth and passion for mountain climbing.
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