Home > Braille Book Review > March–April 2013

NLS: Braille Book Review

March–April 2013
Volume 82, Number 2

In Brief

Books for Adults

Books for Children

Braille Magazines

In Brief


The following announcements may be of interest to readers. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped reserves the right to publish announcements selectively, as space permits. The items mentioned, however, are not part of the NLS program and their listings do not imply endorsement.

Hadley School offers braille music course

The Hadley School offers the course Braille Music Reading that presents braille musical notation together with music fundamentals. The goal of the course is to teach blind musicians to read single-line braille music. Prerequisites for this course include strong contracted braille reading and writing skills, some musical background, and access to an acoustic or digital piano. The course's fourteen lessons cover much of basic musical notation, from individual notes to full tunes, in a graduated method. Upon completion, students may continue their braille music study with a selection of short continuation courses. For more information visit www.hadley.edu Link outside of Library of Congress or call toll-free 1-800-323-4238.

Free communications technology for deaf-blind individuals

Low-income individuals who are deaf-blind are now eligible to receive a wide array of free accessible communications equipment through a campaign funded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC campaign was created to carry out the mandate established in the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. The FCC defines low-income as individuals whose income does not exceed 400 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The accessible communications equipment will be distributed by certified providers in each state. To find the certified provider in your state, visit www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/nationaldeaf-blind-equipment-distribution-program, call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) for voice or 1-888-TELLFCC (1-888835-5322) TTY, or e-mail dro@fcc.gov.

Books for Adults

The following books were recently produced for the NLS program. To order books, contact your braille-lending library.

Note: For the information of the reader, a notice may appear immediately following the book description to indicate occurrences of violence, strong language, or explicit descriptions of sex. The word "some" before any of these terms indicates an occasional or infrequent occurrence, as in "some strong language."

Adult Nonfiction

Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation     BR 18772
by Mitch Horowitz
3 volumes
The author discusses the history of occultism in America and the emerging differences in practices from the Old World. Highlights the influence of Mother Ann and the Shaking Quakers in New York in 1776 and other notable spiritual leaders. Includes origins of the Ouija board, horoscopes, and more. 2009.

Lives of the Artists    BR 18972
by Calvin Tomkins
2 volumes
Contributor to the New Yorker profiles ten modern artists: Matthew Barney, Maurizio Cattelan, John Currin, Damien Hirst, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Julian Schnabel, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, and James Turrell. One piece discusses the 1992 tiger-shark-in-formaldehyde work by young British artist Hirst, as well as anecdotes revealing his personality. 2008.

A World without Ice      BR 18986
by Henry Pollack
3 volumes
Member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and cowinner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize discusses the relationship between ice, humankind, and climate change. The geophysicist warns that the risks of not addressing global warming include flooding, loss of drinking water, and more. Foreword by Al Gore. 2009.

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon     BR 19435
by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner
3 volumes
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times business journalist Morgenson and financial analyst Rosner investigated the 2008 financial meltdown. They assert that government regulators and public agencies were complicit in creating the circumstances for the economic crisis and name individuals they consider to be the key players. Bestseller. 2011.

First Family: Abigail and John      BR 19446
by Joseph J. Ellis
3 volumes
Author of His Excellency: George Washington (BR 15564) and Founding Brothers (BR 12931) analyzes the marriage of second American president John Adams and his wife Abigail. Uses the couple's correspondence to portray a love affair—and a political team that led the country through uncertain post-Revolutionary War times. 2010.

Spontaneous Happiness      BR 19471
by Andrew Weil
3 volumes
Believing that achieving optimum emotional well-being is as important as maintaining peak physical health, physician discusses differences between integrative mental health care and psychiatry. Shares strategies to avoid depression from both ancient tradition and contemporary neuroscience—including body-oriented therapies and mind-retraining techniques. Bestseller. 2011.

The Magic Room: A Story about the Love We Wish for Our Daughters      BR 19491
by Jeffrey Zaslow
3 volumes
Author profiles a small-town Michigan bridal shop, its multi-generational female owners, and many of the brides who have purchased gowns there. Explores the relationships of daughters and their families—particularly their mothers.and the transformation of marriage in America. 2012.

Democracy: Exploring World Governments      BR 19500
by Sue Vander Hook
1 volume
Explains democracy, a form of government in which power resides with the people. Traces the history of democracy from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century. Profiles key figures, including Pericles and Thomas Jefferson, and discusses individual rights and freedoms. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2011.

And the Journey Begins     BR 19502
by Cyril Axelrod
1 volume
Autobiography of Father Cyril Axelrod, born deaf into a Jewish family, who became a Catholic priest at age twenty-eight. Chronicles his worldwide ministry to deaf and deaf-blind individuals, which began in 1971. Discusses the diagnosis of Usher syndrome in 1980 that led to Axelrod's own retinitis pigmentosa blindness. 2005.

Inflight Science: A Guide to the World from Your Airplane Window      BR 19505
by Brian Clegg
2 volumes
A guide to the science of an airplane trip, focusing on the passengers' experiences. Begins at the airport with bag checking and body scanning, then proceeds to takeoff, covering fueling, navigation, and wing work; cabin life, including jet lag and in-flight technology; and exploring the landscape below. Includes experiments. 2011.

Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up     BR 19506
by Harriet Lerner
2 volumes
Psychologist and author of The Dance of Anger (BR 06419) and The Dance of Connection (BR 13865) offers 106 solutions to various relationship problems, based on common sense and mutual respect. Suggests ways to tone down criticism, connect with a distant partner, and deal with children and blended families. 2012.

Communism: Exploring World Governments     BR 19508
by Sue Vander Hook
1 volume
Examines communism's origins in nineteenth-century Europe as a theory that inequity among classes is unfair. Highlights key figures Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Describes daily life, elections, economics, and human rights in communist countries such as China, Cuba, and North Korea. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2011.

First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life beyond Earth      BR 19524
by Marc Kaufman
2 volumes
Science writer discusses the young field of astrobiology, which seeks to identify life throughout the universe. Relates the significance of discoveries about organisms that can thrive in extreme conditions. Emphasizes research on planets orbiting other suns and evidence of past life on Mars. 2011.

Adult Fiction

V Is for Vengeance      BR 18759
by Sue Grafton
4 volumes
1988. A middle-aged woman is found dead—an apparent suicide—soon after PI Kinsey Millhone reports her to department-store detectives for stealing. When the woman's boyfriend hires Kinsey to look into her death, Kinsey's investigation uncovers a Mob family, a shoplifting ring, and a star-crossed romance. Violence and strong language. Bestseller. 2011.

Beyond the Night      BR 18782
by Marlo Schalesky
3 volumes
California. Paul Tilden holds vigil by the bedside of his comatose wife M, who fights for her life in a hospital. Paul relives their love affair—which began with helping M cope with blindness and grew into something much more—and prays that he can reach her. 2008.

A Dog's Purpose    BR 19261
by W. Bruce Cameron
2 volumes
Through four lifetimes a dog finds his reason for being. His first experience is as a feral puppy. Reincarnated as a golden retriever, he bonds with an eight-year-old named Ethan. After returning to life as a K-9 unit German shepherd, his final journey reunites him with an aged Ethan. 2010.

Red Mist      BR 19466
by Patricia Cornwell
3 volumes
Searching for a motive in her assistant Jack Fielding's murder, forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta visits a female inmate who seduced Fielding when he was a boy and later gave birth to his daughter—Fielding's killer. Scarpetta is thrust into a tangle of violent deaths. Strong language and some violence. Bestseller. 2011.

KBL: Kill Bin Laden; a Novel Based on True Events     BR 19468
by John Weisman
3 volumes
In Abbottabad, Pakistan, army ranger-turned-CIA agent Charlie Becker poses as a beggar to obtain information on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. But he fears exposure after spotting a former prisoner he interrogated in Guantánamo. Meanwhile, SEAL Team Six prepares to take down bin Laden. Violence and strong language. 2011.

11th Hour     BR 19496
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
2 volumes
Detective Lindsay Boxer is pregnant and juggling two high-profile cases: a wealthy man gunned down in the bathroom at his daughter's school and the discovery of two decapitated heads. Lindsay's friends and colleagues contribute their expertise. Some violence, some strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2012.

The Confession    BR 19499
by Charles Todd
3 volumes
1920. Wyatt Russell, who is dying of cancer, arrives at Scotland Yard and confesses to killing his cousin five years earlier in Essex. As Inspector Rutledge investigates, Russell is murdered. Now Rutledge has two mysterious deaths to solve, especially since villagers swear the latest victim is not Russell. 2012.

Never Tell: A Novel of Suspense      BR 19512
by Alafair Burke
3 volumes
A woman receives threats after blogging about her childhood abuse. A wealthy girl dies in an apparent suicide. A psychiatrist pays poor teens to take part in his antidepressant clinical trial. NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher tries to discover what links these cases. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2012.

The Road to Grace: The Third Journal of The Walk     BR 19513
by Richard Paul Evans
2 volumes
After receiving help from a stranger in Miles to Go (BR 19429), Alan Christoffersen continues his cross-country journey. On the way from South Dakota to St. Louis he encounters a Holocaust survivor, a single mother, and his late wife McKale's estranged mother, who had abandoned her young daughter. Bestseller. 2012.

Eyes of the Hawk     BR 19517
by Elmer Kelton
2 volumes
Louisiana-born Reed Sawyer sails to Texas to seek his fortune. There he works for rancher Thomas "Hawk" Canfield, who has a feud with businessman Branch Isom. After fighting in the Civil War, Sawyer returns to Texas and discovers that Canfield's enmity still festers. Spur Award. 1981.

Helen Keller in Love      BR 19519
by Rosie Sultan
2 volumes
Fictionalized account of the 1916 love affair between disability activist Helen Keller and her private secretary Peter Fagan, a Boston journalist by trade. The two share antiwar sentiments and socialist beliefs, but Helen's mother and her mentor Annie Sullivan disapprove of the match. Some descriptions of sex. 2012.

Books for Children

The following books were recently produced for the NLS program. To order books, contact your braille-lending library.

Children's Nonfiction

Life in the Boreal Forest     BR 19030
by Brenda Z. Guiberson
1 volume
Describes the plants and animals that make their home in the great northern forest that spreads across Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia. Examines the ecosystem and its importance to our planet. PRINT/BRAILLE. For grades 2-4. 2009.

Your Treasure Hunt: Disabilities and Finding Your Gold     BR 19031
by Katherine Schneider
1 volume
The author, who is blind, addresses issues and challenges faced by children with disabilities. She encourages children to be kind, honest, and polite; to find a hero with a disability; and to become someone who appreciates the treasures in daily life. PRINT/BRAILLE. For grades K-3. 2010.

Off like the Wind! The First Ride of the Pony Express     BR 19033
by Michael P. Spradlin
1 volume
April 3 to April 13, 1860. Recounts the hazards faced by horseback riders during the first cross-country mail service between Missouri and California, which took eleven days. PRINT/BRAILLE. For grades 2-4. 2010.

I Can Be Safe: A First Look at Safety     BR 19511
by Pat Thomas
1 volume
Teaches children to trust their instincts when it comes to new situations and strangers. Shows them ways to keep safe, such as knowing their phone number and their parents' names, and what to do if someone touches them inappropriately. For preschool-grade 2. 2003.

Children's Fiction

Riot     BR 18773
by Walter Dean Myers
1 volume
New York City, 1863. As Civil War race riots erupt, fifteen-year-old Claire, the light-skinned daughter of an Irish mother and a black father, is torn between the feuding sides. Claire confronts issues of bigotry, social class, and self-identity as she becomes a black woman. For grades 6-9. 2009.

Murder at Midnight      BR 18775
by Avi
1 volume
Pergamontio, Italy; 1490. Falsely accused of plotting to overthrow King Claudio, scholarly Mangus the magician, from Midnight Magic (BR 13138), and his street-smart servant boy Fabrizio face deadly consequences unless they can track down the real traitor by the stroke of midnight. For grades 5-8. 2009.

A Brief History of Montmaray     BR 18978
by Michelle Cooper
2 volumes
Montmaray, 1936. On her sixteenth birthday Princess Sophia begins a diary. Her eccentric family, including her tomboy sister Henry and her uncle the mad king, fill early entries, but Sophia's attention is soon caught by two Nazi soldiers who introduce discord to the quiet island kingdom. For grades 6-9. 2008.

Minn of the Mississippi      BR 19464
by Holling Clancy Holling
1 volume
Follows the adventures of Minn, a three-legged snapping turtle, who makes a twenty-five-hundred-mile trip from her birthplace in Minnesota at the headwaters of the Mississippi River down to the Gulf of Mexico. For grades 4-7. Newbery Honor Book. 1951.

Close to Famous      BR 19473
by Joan Bauer
2 volumes
After escaping her mother's abusive boyfriend, twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother make a new start in Culpepper, West Virginia. Her mom wants to be a lead singer, while Foster dreams of becoming a famous TV chef—and of mastering reading, despite her learning disability. For grades 5-8. Schneider Family Book Award. 2011.

Found: The Missing, Book 1      BR 19492
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
2 volumes
After seventh-grader Jonah and his friend Chip receive threatening letters about their adoptions, they start to investigate their past. What they discover stuns them, as a conspiracy involving time travel and shadowy factions unravels. For grades 5-8 and older readers. 2008.

The Planet of Junior Brown      BR 19497
by Virginia Hamilton
2 volumes
Eighth grader Junior Brown, an obese, overprotected musical prodigy, and his homeless classmate Buddy Clark play hooky and spend their days with a former teacher who has built a model solar system—with an extra planet—in the school basement. But then they get caught. For grades 5-8. Newbery Honor Book. 1971.

Theodore Boone: The Abduction      BR 19498
by John Grisham
2 volumes
Theo was the last person to talk to his best friend April before she was abducted from her bedroom. When the police are stumped, Theo uses his investigative skills to try to save April. Sequel to Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (BR 19083). For grades 5-8 and older readers. 2011.

Sent: The Missing, Book 2     BR 19515
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
2 volumes
Jonah, his sister Katherine, and Chip travel back in time to fifteenth-century England, where Chip and his brother Alex are royal heirs who have been imprisoned by their uncle, King Richard III. Can Jonah and Katherine fix history and save Chip and Alex? For grades 5-8 and older readers. 2009.

Dogsong      BR 19522
by Gary Paulsen
1 volume
Fourteen-year-old Russel Susskit, who feels assailed by the modern world, takes to heart an elderly Eskimo's tales of age-old customs. The knowledge helps Russel survive a fourteen-hundred-mile journey across the tundra and mountains by dogsled, while seeking his own "song." For grades 6-9. Newbery Honor Book. 1985.

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Sleepover Sleuths, Book 1     BR 19527
by Carolyn Keene
1 volume
Nancy and her two best friends, George and Bess, are excited about their invitations to a City Girls doll-themed sleepover party. But when birthday girl Deirdre's new and rare doll, Hollywood Heather, goes missing, Nancy and her crew investigate. Short chapter book. For grades 2-4. 2006.

Addie on the Inside      BR 19542
by James Howe
2 volumes
Thirteen-year-old Carle learns about love, loss, and staying true to herself as she navigates seventh grade, enjoys a visit from her grandmother, fights with her boyfriend, and endures gossip and meanness from her former best friend. Told in verse. Sequel to Totally Joe (BR 16655). For grades 6-9. 2011.

How Tía Lola Saved the Summer     BR 19548
by Julia Alvarez
2 volumes
Tía Lola's friend Víctor brings his three daughters to Vermont for a visit, surrounding Miguel with girls. But Tía Lola creates a fun summer camp where Miguel, his sister Juanita, and the other girls enjoy adventures. Sequel to How Tía Lola Learned to Teach (BR 19298). For grades 3-6. 2011.

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man      BR 20019
by Michael Chabon
1 volume
Superhero Awesome Man can fly straight as an arrow, shoot positronic rays from his eyes, and hug mutant Jell-O. But he has something exciting to tell you: his secret identity! PRINT/BRAILLE. For preschool-grade 2. 2011.

How Rocket Learned to Read      BR 20021
by Tad Hills
1 volume
A little yellow bird introduces the dog Rocket to the wondrous alphabet and teaches him to read. When winter arrives little yellow bird flies south and Rocket practices until spring, when his new friend and teacher returns. PRINT/BRAILLE. For preschool-grade 2 and older readers. 2010.

Young Zeus BR     19032
by G. Brian Karas
1 volume
Tells how the young god Zeus—with a little help from six monsters, five gods (his brothers and sisters), his mother, and an enchanted she-goat—became god of gods, master of lightning and thunder, and ruler over all. Adaptation of a Greek myth. PRINT/BRAILLE. For grades K-3. 2010.

Braille Magazines

The following is a list of braille magazines in the Library of Congress program. Readers may obtain free personal subscriptions to these magazines. For information on the availability of specific magazines, consult the library that send you braille materials.

Boys' Life (for children and teens, monthly)

Braille Book Review (bimonthly)

Braille Chess Magazine (British quarterly)

Braille Music Magazine (British monthly)

Conundrum (British monthly)

Cooking Light (11 issues)

ESPN: The Magazine (biweekly)

Harper's (literary; monthly)

Health Newsletters (includes Harvard Health Letter, Mayo Clinic Health Letter, and University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter; monthly)

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine (monthly)

Ladies' Home Journal (monthly)

Martha Stewart Living (home and entertaining; 11 issues)

Muse (for children; 9 issues)

Musical Mainstream (NLS quarterly)

National Geographic (monthly)

The New York Times Book Review (weekly)

The New York Times Large Print Weekly (weekly)

News (NLS quarterly)

Parenting Early Years (11 issues)

Parenting School Years (11 issues)

PC World (personal computing; monthly)

Playboy (11 issues)

Poetry (11 issues)

Popular Communications (monthly)

Popular Mechanics (11 issues)

Popular Music Lead Sheets (irregularly)

Rolling Stone (popular culture; 24 issues)

Science News (26 issues)

Seventeen (for teens; 10 issues)

Short Stories (British monthly)

Spider: The Magazine for Children (9 issues)

StoneSoup (children's writings; 6 issues)

Update (NLS semi-annually)

Schedules for the following sports leagues are also available:





2013 Women's National Basketball Association Schedule

Library of Congress Home      NLS Home     Comments about NLS to nls@loc.gov     About this site      Legal     Comments about this site to the NLS Reference Section

Posted on 2013-06-28