Special Collections

YA Featuring Characters with a Visual Impairment

Description: Check out this collection of young adult novels featuring characters with visual impairments. (These books are suitable for readers ages 13 and up or in grades 8 and up.)


Showing 1 through 25 of 29 results

Blind Sighted

by Peter Moore

Kirk, a creative misfit who is in trouble at high school because he is bored with his classes, learns to deal with his alcoholic mother, new friends, and life with the help of a blind young woman who hires him to read to her.

Date Added: 02/21/2018


The Young Unicorns

by Madeleine L'Engle

The young unicorns is a novel of suspense set in New York City's Upper West Side near a great cathedral, where much of the action takes place. The large cast of characters includes the Austin family and Canon Tallis (already well known to L'Engle fans), but the most important are Emily Gregory and Josiah (Dave) Davidson.

Emily is a brilliant girl musician of twelve who has been blinded in an accident that occurred in her home under peculiar circumstances. Emily has learned Braille and manages to continue with her music and school studies with the help of seventeen-year-old Dave, who acts as her reader. Dave is a gifted, intelligent boy from a broken family and had at one time been a member of a tough gang known as the Alphabats. These young hoodlums have a bad influence on the life of their section of the city.

When the story opens, Dave has broken with the Alphabats and is finding, through his work with Emily and his acquaintanceship with the Austins, who live upstairs in Emily's house, a new and more satisfactory life. When the Alphabats try to force Dave back into their orbit, he resists them.

But gradually we learn that something more sinister than the mere gang rituals of adolescent goons is taking place: that an evil intelligence is operating on a far more dangerous level and that not only Emily and Dave, but the Austin children too, and even their father, are targets for corruption or destruction. How they are saved is the climax of a highly original story that mirrors much of the violent disturbance of life in our cities today."

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Blindsided

by Priscilla Cummings

In many ways, Natalie O'Reilly is a typical fourteen year old girl. But a routine visit to the eye doctor produces devastating news: Natalie will lose her sight within a few short months. Suddenly her world is turned upside down. Natalie is sent to a school for the blind to learn skills such as Braille and how to use a cane. Outwardly, she does as she's told; inwardly, she hopes for a miracle that will free her from a dreaded life of blindness. But the miracle does not come, and Natalie ultimately must confront every blind person's dilemma. Will she go home to live scared? Or will she embrace the skills she needs to make it in a world without sight?

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Miss Spitfire

by Sarah Miller

Annie Sullivan was little more than a half-blind orphan with a fiery tongue when she arrived at Ivy Green in 1887. Desperate for work, she’d taken on a seemingly impossible job—teaching a child who was deaf, blind, and as ferocious as any wild animal. But if anyone was a match for Helen Keller, it was the girl who’d been nicknamed Miss Spitfire. In her efforts to reach Helen’s mind, Annie lost teeth to the girl’s raging blows, but she never lost faith in her ability to triumph. Told in first person, Annie Sullivan’s past, her brazen determination, and her connection to the girl who would call her Teacher are vividly depicted in this powerful novel.

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Ghost Boy

by Iain Lawrence

Harold Kline is an albino--an outcast. Folks stare and taunt, calling him Ghost Boy. It's been that way all of his 14 years. So when the circus comes to town, Harold runs off to join it. Full of colorful performers, the circus seems like the answer to Harold's loneliness. He's eager to meet the Cannibal King, a sideshow attraction who's an albino too. He's touched that Princess Minikin and the Fossil Man, two other sideshow curiosities, embrace him like a son. He's in love with Flip, the beguiling horse trainer, and awed by the all-knowing Gypsy Magda. Most of all, Harold is proud of training the elephants, and of earning respect and a sense of normality. Even at the circus, though, two groups exist--the freaks, and everyone else. Harold straddles both groups. But fitting in with those who are "normal" comes at a price, and sometimes it's recognizing the truth beneath what's apparent that ultimately leads to happiness . . . and turns a boy into a man.

Date Added: 03/28/2018


Secondhand World

by Katherine Min

Isadora Myung Hee Sohn--Isa--has just spent ninety-five days in a pediatric burn unit in Albany, New York, recovering from the fire that burned her house and killed her parents. Moving back in time, Secondhand World casts a devastating spell, revealing the circumstances that led to the fire. Growing up the daughter of Korean-born parents, Isa is bullied by American classmates and barely noticed at home. Seeking the company of another outsider, Isa falls in love with Hero, an albino boy. But what starts out as a small teenage rebellion sets in motion a series of events and revelations Isa never could have foreseen.

Date Added: 03/28/2018


Girl, Stolen

by April Henry

Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn't meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne's father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes now there's a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn't know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

Date Added: 02/16/2018


The Window

by Jeanette Ingold

A girl, blinded by the auto accident that killed her mother, comes to terms with her disability--and her new life.

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Light a Single Candle

by Beverly Butler

After fourteen-year-old Cathy Wheeler loses her sight, she learns to cope through the help fo her supportive family, the effective but Spartan School for the Blind, and ultimately her new guide-dog, Trudy.

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Do You Dream in Color?

by Laurie Rubin

Colors, Rubin tells us, affect everyone through sound, smell, taste, and a vast array of emotions and atmospheres. She explains that although she has been blind since birth, she has experienced color all her life. In her memoir Do You Dream in Color?, Laurie Rubin looks back on her life as an international opera singer who happens to be blind. From her loneliness and isolation as a middle school student to her experiences skiing, Rubin offers her young readers a life-story rich in detail and inspiration drawn from everyday challenges. Beginning with her childhood in California, Rubin tells the story of her life and the amazing experiences that led her to a career as an internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano. Rubin describes her past as a "journey towards identity," one she hopes will resonate with young people struggling with two fundamental questions: "Who am I?" and "Where do I fit in?" Although most of us aren't blind, Rubin believes that many of us have traits that make us something other than "normal." These differences, like blindness, may seem like barriers, but for the strong and the persistent, dreams can overcome barriers, no matter how large they may seem. This is what makes her story so unique yet universal and so important for young readers.

Date Added: 03/08/2018


The Tragedy Paper

by Elizabeth Laban

Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska, Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author, calls Elizabeth LaBan's The Tragedy Paper "a beguiling and beautifully written tale of first love and heartbreak." It follows the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is "Enter here to be and find a friend." A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants--he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential "It" girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving's most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving's version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school's least forgiving teacher. Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets.

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Golden Boy

by Tara Sullivan

Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different--light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists.  Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can't take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.   Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. His aunt is glad to open her home until she sees Habo for the first time, and then she is only afraid. Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck.  And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To survive, Habo must not only run, but find a way to love and accept himself. Note: Glossary and Resources are included at the end of the book.

Date Added: 03/28/2018


The Heart Of Applebutter Hill

by Donna Hill

Imagine you're 14 and in a strange country with your camera, your best friend, her guitar and her dog. You uncover a secret and are instantly in danger.

Join Baggy, Abigail and Curly Connor as they explore Elfin Pond, sneak around Bar Gundoom Castle and row across an underground lake. The powerful Heartstone of Arden-Goth is hidden nearby, and corporate giants unleash a spy to seize it. Compelled to unmask the spy and find the Heartstone, they can't trust anyone.

As summer heats up, their troubled friend Christopher is viciously bullied and an armed stranger terrorizes Abigail and Baggy. The friends disagree about the spy's identity, but are convinced it's a teacher.

When a desperate Christopher shows up one night with a terrified cat, the truth is revealed. Soon, police are involved.

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Things That Are

by Andrew Clements

Alicia may be blind, but that doesn't mean she can't see what's happening right in front of her eyes. Like how her parents try to give her freedom. Or how Bobby, now Robert, has returned to figure out their relationship. Or even the invisible man, William, and just how dangerous he is to Alicia, to Robert, to their whole family, or so the police say. Or is Alicia wrong this time? If her normally sharp instincts are wrong, the results could be disastrous.

From award-winning author Andrew Clements, here is a novel full of adventure, romance, and mystery, which at its heart is about trusting even things we know but cannot see. .

Date Added: 02/21/2018


Akata Witch

by Nnedi Okorafor

Read Nnedi Okorafor's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community. Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing-she is a "free agent," with latent magical power. Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

Date Added: 03/28/2018


The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Young Readers Choice Award Winner, 2015

Date Added: 02/16/2018


The Schwa was Here

by Neal Shusterman

They say his clothes blend into the background, no matter where he stands. They say a lot of things about the Schwa, but one thing's for sure: no one ever noticed him. Except me.

My name is Antsy Bonano, and I was the one who realized the Schwa was "functionally invisible" and used him to make some big bucks. But I was also the one who caused him more grief than a friend should.

So if you all just shut up and listen, I'll tell you everything there is to know about the Schwa, from how he got his name, to what really happened with his mom. I'll spill everything. Unless, of course, "the Schwa Effect" wipes him out of my brain before I'm done....

Date Added: 02/16/2018


All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Pulitzer Prize Winner

A New York Times Bestseller

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Blind

by Rachel Dewoskin

When Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a nightmare accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she’s about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide.

Fifteen and blind, Emma has to untangle what happened and why, in order to see for herself what makes life worth living. Unflinching in its portrayal of Emma’s darkest days, yet full of hope and humor, Rachel DeWoskin’s brilliant Blind is one of those rare books that utterly absorbs the reader into the life and experience of another.

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Not Fade Away

by Rebecca Alexander and Sascha Alper

Even a darkening world can be brilliantly lit from within.

Born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher Syndrome type III, Rebecca Alexander has been simultaneously losing both her sight and hearing since she was a child, and was told that she would likely be completely blind and deaf by age 30. Then, at 18, a fall from a window left her athletic body completely shattered.

None of us know what we would do in the face of such devastation. What Rebecca did was rise to every challenge she faced. She was losing her vision and hearing and her body was broken, but she refused to lose her drive, her zest for life and - maybe most importantly - her sense of humor. Now, at 35, with only a sliver of sight and significantly deteriorated hearing, she is a psychotherapist with two masters' degrees from Columbia University, and an athlete who teaches spin classes and regularly competes in extreme endurance races. She greets every day as if it were a gift, with boundless energy, innate curiosity, and a strength of spirit that have led her to places we can't imagine.

In Not Fade Away, Rebecca tells her extraordinary story, by turns harrowing, funny and inspiring. She meditates on what she's lost--from the sound of a whisper to seeing a sky full of stars, and what she's found in return--an exquisite sense of intimacy with those she is closest to, a love of silence, a profound gratitude for everything she still has, and a joy in simple pleasures that most of us forget to notice.

Not Fade Away is both a memoir of the senses and a unique look at the obstacles we all face--physical, psychological, and philosophical--exploring the extraordinary powers of memory, love, and perseverance. It is a gripping story, an offering of hope and motivation, and an exquisite reminder to live each day to its fullest.

Date Added: 02/21/2018


She is Not Invisible

by Marcus Sedgwick

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.

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Not If I See You First

by Eric Lindstrom

Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago.

But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened--both with Scott, and her dad--the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom's Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story

by Ray Charles and David Ritz

Ray Charles (1930-2004) led one of the most extraordinary lives of any popular musician. In Brother Ray, he tells his story in an inimitable and unsparing voice, from the chronicle of his musical development to his heroin addiction to his tangled romantic life.

Overcoming poverty, blindness, the loss of his parents, and the pervasive racism of the era, Ray Charles was acclaimed worldwide as a genius by the age of thirty-two. By combining the influences of gospel, jazz, blues, and country music, he invented, almost single-handedly, what became known as soul. And throughout a career spanning more than a half century, Ray Charles remained in complete control of his life and his music, allowing nobody to tell him what he could and couldn't do.

As the Chicago Sun-Times put it,Brother Ray is "candid, explicit, sometimes embarrassing, often hilarious, always warm, touching and deeply human-just like his music. "

Date Added: 02/16/2018


Things Not Seen

by Andrew Clements

Bobby Phillips is your average fifteen-year-old boy. That is, until he wakes up one morning and can't see himself in the mirror. Not blind, not dreaming-Bobby is just plain invisible. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for Bobby's new condition and even his dad the physicist can't figure it out. For Bobby, that means no school, no friends, no life. He's a missing person.

Then he meets Alicia. She's blind, and Bobby can't resist talking to her, trusting her. But people are starting to wonder where Bobby is, and if he's even still alive. Bobby knows that his invisibility could have dangerous consequences for his family and that time is running out. He has to find out how to be seen again-before it's too late.

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award

Date Added: 02/21/2018


Love Blind

by C. Desir and Jolene Perry

Shy high schooler Kyle Jamieson and Hailey Bosler, a musician with degenerative blindness, team up to tackle a bucket list of greatest fears in this compelling novel that explores what it means to take risks.

It starts with a list of fears. Stupid things really. Things that Hailey shouldn't worry about, wouldn't worry about if she didn't wake up every morning with the world a little more blurry. Unable to see her two moms clearly. Unable to read the music for her guitar. One step closer to losing the things she cares about the most. For a while, the only thing that keeps Hailey moving forward is the feeling she gets when she crosses something off the list. Then she meets Kyle. He mumbles--when he talks at all--and listens to music to drown out his thoughts. He's loaded down with fears, too. So Hailey talks him into making his own list. Together, they stumble into an odd friendship, helping each other tackle one after another of their biggest fears. But fate and timing can change everything. And sometimes facing your worst fear makes you realize you had nothing to lose after all.

Date Added: 03/08/2018



Showing 1 through 25 of 29 results