Our chosen books
The fantastic books chosen for this year’s Read for RNIB Day Reading Group Challenge all feature a blind or partially sighted character.
Under each title there is a list of the formats that the books are available in – you will see that very few are available in every format which again highlights why Read for RNIB Day is so important.
We need to desperately raise funds to ensure that all books are fully accessible to everyone in years to come.
Browse by age group:
“Lighthouse Keeping” by Jeanette Winterson (Harper Perennial)
Motherless and anchorless, Silver is taken in by the timeless Mr Pew, keeper of the Cape Wrath lighthouse. Pew tells Silver ancient tales of longing and rootlessness, of ties that bind and of slippages that occur throughout every life.
One life, Babel Dark’s, a nineteenth-century clergyman, opens like a map that Silver must follow. Caught in her own particular darknesses, she embarks on a Ulyssean sift through the stories we tell ourselves, stories of love and loss, of passion and longing, stories of unending journeys that move through places and time, and the bleak finality of the shores of betrayal.
Available in: standard print, accessible eBook and talking book (RNIB National Library Service).
“Touching the Rock: An experience of Blindness” by John M. Hull (SPCK Classics)
Shortly after John Hull went blind, after years of struggling with failing vision, he had a dream in which he was trapped on a sinking ship, submerging into another, unimaginable world. The power of this calmly eloquent, intensely perceptive memoir lies in its thorough navigation of the world of blindness — a world in which stairs are safe and snow is frightening, where food and sex lose much of their allure and playing with one’s child may be agonizingly difficult. As he describes the ways in which blindness shapes his experience of his wife and children, of strangers helpful and hostile, and, above all, of his God, Hull becomes a witness in the highest, true sense. Touching the Rock is a book that will instruct, move, and profoundly transform anyone who reads it.
Available in: standard print, accessible eBook and talking book (RNIB National Library Service) and contracted braille (RNIB National Library Service).
“Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction” by Sue Townsend (Penguin)
I am thirty-five today. I am officially middle-aged. It is all downhill from now. A pathetic slide towards gum disease, wheelchair ramps and death.”
Adrian Mole is middle-aged but still scribbling. Working as a bookseller and living in Leicester’s Rat Wharf; finding time to write letters of advice to Tim Henman and Tony Blair; locked in mortal combat with a vicious swan called Gielgud; measuring his expanding bald spot; and trying to win-over the voluptuous Daisy…Adrian yearns for a better more meaningful world. But he’s not ready to surrender his pen yet…
Available in: standard print, unabridged audio book, accessible eBook, talking book (RNIB National Library Service) and braille (RNIB National Library Service).
“Star Gazing” by Linda Gillard (Piatkus)
Blind since birth, widowed in her twenties, now lonely in her forties, Marianne Fraser lives in Edinburgh in elegant, angry anonymity with her sister, Louisa. Marianne’s passionate nature finds solace in music, a love she finds she shares with Keir, a man she encounters on her doorstep one winter’s night.
Keir makes no concession to Marianne’s condition. He is abrupt to the point of rudeness, yet oddly kind. But can Marianne trust her feelings for this reclusive stranger who wants to take a blind woman to his island home on Skye, to ‘show’ her the stars?
Available in: standard print, unabridged audio book, accessible eBook, talking book (RNIB National Library Service), giant print (RNIB National Library Service), and braille (RNIB National Library Service).
“She is Not Invisible” by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)
Laureth Peak’s father is a writer. For years he’s been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he’s obsessed, Laureth thinks he’s on the verge of a breakdown. He’s supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong. On impulse she steals her mother’s credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her.
Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.
Available in: standard print, talking book (RNIB National Library Service), giant print (RNIB National Library Service), and braille (RNIB National Library Service).
“Girl Stolen” by April Henry (Walker)
How do you escape when you can’t see the way out?
Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mother fills her prescription. Before Cheyenne realizes what has happened, the car is being stolen from the car park. Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia – she is also blind. Griffin, the teenage driver, hadn’t meant to kidnap her – he was just stealing a car for the gang. But once Griffin’s dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of Nike, everything changes – now there’s a reason to keep her. Will Cheyenne be able to survive this harrowing ordeal, and escape? And if so, at what price?
Available in: standard print, unabridged audio book and accessible eBook.
“Mole Sunrise” by Jeanne Willis (Walker)
Mole had never seen the sunrise. “I’d love to see it,” he said.
When his good friends, Vole, Rabbit, Squirrel and Sparrow take him down to the lake to show him the sunrise, their vivid descriptions help him to see it in his mind and he is able to imagine the rising sun and experience its beauty for himself.
Available in: standard print, talking book (RNIB National Library Service), giant print (RNIB National Library Service) and braille (Read for RNIB Day team).
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Illustration from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” © Helen Oxenbury, courtesy of Walker Books Ltd.