Five years ago we printed What Color is the Sun, the
first volume in the Kernel Book series. Now we come to the
eleventh, Beginnings and Blueprints.
Although the previous ten and this volume contain widely
divergent subject matter they have a constant theme--what it
is like to live on a daily basis as a blind person. Just as
with the others, the stories in this book are true. They are
the firsthand accounts of blind men and women as they live and
love, work and play, laugh and cry.
The people who appear in these pages are friends of mine.
I know them through our joint efforts in the National
Federation of the Blind. We have come together to help and
encourage each other, to find other blind people who can
benefit from being part of the Federation, to participate in
joint activities for self-improvement, and to inform the
sighted public about what we are and what we are trying to do.
In short, we are changing what it means to be blind, and an
increasing number of you our readers are helping us do it.
If we are to achieve our goal, we think it must be done
with a lighter touch than preaching and statistics. That is
why we began the publication of the Kernel Books and why we
try to produce at least two of them each year. They tell of
the everyday happenings in the lives of ordinary men and
women--people just like you: a man and his children who repair
a roof, a mother who wonders what the future holds for her
daughter, and a man who likes to go fishing.
These are people who might live next door--people who go
to work, raise children, experience disappointments, make
successes, plan for the future, think about tomorrow's dinner,
wonder about taxes and wage increases, and hope for better
things ahead--people who yearn and dream, laugh and cry--just
We hope that when you read this book, you will feel that
you know those of us who appear in its pages and that you
will, in a very real sense, regard us as friends and
acquaintances. We are trying to take the mystery out of
blindness, for our lives as we lead them are not mysterious.
In many instances they could better be described as run-of-
the-mill. I say this even though I know that it is not
possible for a blind person to live a completely run-of-the-
mill life in today's society as it is currently structured.
Too many people believe we are either thoroughly helpless or
thoroughly marvelous (or perhaps both) to permit it.
Since around 50,000 people become blind in this country
each year there is a perfectly good reason for every member of
the sighted public to learn about blindness and what it is
like. It will inevitably happen to a family member, a friend,
or a neighbor.
But that is not the principal reason for you to learn
what this book has to tell. All of us (blind and sighted
alike) will have richer lives if we see each other
realistically and with understanding. It is better for all of
us to achieve our full potential than for some of us to be
left behind unnecessarily.
Above all, I hope you will enjoy this book, that you will
find it interesting and worthwhile. Beyond that, I hope you
will contact us if you need our help or want information about
blindness, or if a friend or family member needs help. The
Kernel Books are becoming a major factor in changing what it
means to be blind, and you are an important part of the
Why Large Type?
The type size used in this book is 14 point for two
important reasons: One, because typesetting of 14 point or
larger complies with federal standards for the printing of
materials for visually impaired readers, and we wanted to show
you what type size is helpful for people with limited sight.
The second reason is that many of our friends and
supporters have asked us to print our paperback books in 14-
point type so they too can easily read them. Many people with
limited sight do not use Braille. We hope that by printing
this book in a larger type than customary, many more people
will be able to benefit from it.