Friday, 25 November 2011

Why books need pictures.

Imagine if you couldn't read but you wished you could. Because I had no magnifying glass when I was a child, I could only enjoy the illustrations in regular print books. I was fortunate that the library at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind had a number of these with well-drawn illustrations. The multiple shelves of stories and encyclopedias would have been of no help to me otherwise.

I wrote about my discovery of the library's treasures in my Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir. Its books helped me endure the painful autumn of 1967 .

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In addition to studying, I began to borrow books from the school library. One described the lives of cavemen, including plenty of exciting drawings. I felt strongly tempted not to return the book. The print was too small for me to easily read without a magnifying glass but I did enjoy the illustrations. Of course, I eventually returned it.

The pictures in the dorm's encyclopedia were interesting to look at as well but the print was far too small to read. I especially liked leafing through the volume with the clear plastic pages displaying the human anatomy. Various internal organs were painted on each sheet. As I turned pages, I could see different parts of the body revealed.

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Deliverance from Jericho is filled with many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Read more about Deliverance from Jericho here. Please feel free to contact me directly as well.