Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy Birthday, Louis Braille!


Happy Louis Braille Day! 
Today we are releasing the digital editions of OUTSIDE MYSELF by Kristen Witucki.

OUTSIDE MYSELF illuminates blindness to the sighted world, and will feed a hungry reading market of young blind readers—at no cost—through audiobooks and braille distributed by Bookshare and Learning ALLY; Kirkus Reviews calls it “A human, humane, and uplifting story.”

Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author reviews OUTSIDE MYSELF: “It is so refreshing to encounter people with disabilities in a story who are not merely heroic. Ultimately, these are heroic individuals as agents in their own lives, but they are not ‘brave blind people.’”

JANUARY 4, 2018 — Deadwood, OR — OUTSIDE MYSELF is a YA novel that focuses on Tallie, a teen girl struggling to adjust to her blindness, and Benjamin, an older gentleman who works in a library for the blind; each has a compelling story about negotiating the sighted world.
            Told from two perspectives, this book provides insight on life for blind individuals before and after the ADA. The National Federation of the Blind states that over seven million Americans have visual disabilities; this novel presents some of their unique experiences while bridging the reader to the feelings of isolation and interconnection of humanity without resorting to miracles or pity. Currently there are a half-million print-disabled students reached by Learning ALLY and Bookshare who will receive access to this novel. 
            Suzanne Kamata, author of the empowering disability-centric GADGET GIRL reviews, “Rich in sensory detail, this story offers rare and authentic insight into navigating the world without sight, but it’s really about loneliness and making connections and being human.” Anna Swenson, author of BEGINNING WITH BRAILLE reviews, “OUTSIDE MYSELF is a powerful narrative about adolescent angst and the ability of a mentor to change lives, including his own.” Nicole Haroutunian, author of SPEED DREAMING and advocate for young girls, reviews,“... experience blindness—and its confluence with race, religion, education, illness, friendship, and family—in separate, yet intersecting ways.” 
            Author Kristen Witucki has been totally blind since birth. She earned a BA in English from Vassar College in 2004 with a minor in German and certification to teach students in grades 7-12. She followed it with three Masters degrees: an MA in teaching gifted students from Teachers College, Columbia University, (2006); an MFA in the creative writing of fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, (2008); and an Ed.M in teaching students who are blind or visually impaired from Dominican College, (2011). While in school, Witucki earned her living at Learning Ally, where she helped people with visual impairments, dyslexia, and other disabilities to access technology related to reading audio books.  Kristen acted as a writer and editor for Learning Ally’s College Success Curriculum for students who are blind or have visual impairments. Learn more at
            Accessible editions will be made available to over 500,000 students with print disabilities through Learning ALLY and Bookshare. The National Library Service has libraries in every region of the country for people who are blind and hosts worldwide Book Clubs—OUTSIDE MYSELF has discussion questions for book club members, and aims to be part of the NLS program “That ALL May Read” providing braille and audiobook copies to the library system, with outreach through Ability Magazine, National Federation of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, and Exceptional Parent magazine—to provide rich content for parents of blind children, educators, writers for state affiliates of national organizations, as well as state agencies for the blind, caregivers, physicians, therapists, nurses, and virtually every professional society and lay organization serving persons with print disabilities.

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OUTSIDE MYSELF by Kristen Witucki, ISBN: 978-1-942545-97-2 $25 Library Edition Hardcover, ISBN: 978-1-942545-99-6 $15 Softcover Edition, Available in multiple ebook formats, audiobook and braille (Bookshare), 232 pages, Pub Date: March 6, 2018; YA06000/YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Books & Libraries, YAF037000/ YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Loners & Outcasts, YAF058070/ YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Social Themes/Disabilities & Special Needs, YAF058150/YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Social Themes/ New Experience, YAF058220/YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Social Themes/Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance; Distributed by Ingram, Follett, Coutts, Bertrams, and Gardners. Wyatt-MacKenzie in Deadwood, Oregon celebrates 20 years of indie publishing in 2018.