Going blind! How could you handle that diagnosis, that reality? Having to leave her school and her family to learn how to truly cope as a blind person in the modern world... I think Natalie is stronger than I ever could be in that situation.
I recently visited with an old college friend who never let blindness stand in his way as he went to law school, practiced law for years, and is now finding great satisfaction promoting the National Federation for the Blind's Newsline service, which offers over 300 newspapers and magazines read aloud by phone or online 24/7 for those with visual impairment. If your grandparents, neighbors, or friends can't see well enough to read print, help them get connected to Newsline for pop culture, science, health, news (gotta love modern technology!).
Book info: Blindsided / by Priscilla Cummings. Dutton Children's Books (Penguin), hardback 2010, paperback 2011. 240 pgs. [author's site] [publisher site]
Recommendation: The summer before 10th grade, Dr. Rose says that Natalie will go blind – completely and absolutely blind, maybe overnight, maybe before Christmas. So she transfers to the Baltimore Center for the Blind boarding school so she can learn Braille and learn how to cope.
With the little tunnel of sight she has left, Nat is sure that she’s not like the other kids there – the ones blind from birth or suddenly blind from an accident – and she just lives for the weekends at home with her parents and the goats, away from lessons about walking with a cane and making the bumps of Braille become letters in her mind. Dr. Rose could be wrong - miracles happen, right?
Bargaining for miracles doesn’t work in real life though. Nat has to decide if she’s going to get ready for her new life or hide forever on her parents’ farm. Are her old friends starting to forget her? Can her new friends and teachers help her prepare for a future she can’t envision?
The author’s academic year spent with blind teens and all their hopes, fears, and expectations makes this work of fiction read like real life. (one of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)