[Nfbmo] {Disarmed} Jean Norris: Who created books the blind and the sighted could read together.

Gary Wunder gwunder at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 15 16:54:57 UTC 2014

I like this story. It is very moving. The only thing that saddens me about it is that the role that blind people played in this project has completely been left out. In Jean's telling of the story, she credits Dr. tenBroek with telling her she should go forward with the project, with offering funding for it, and even with helping her come up with the name. I know that this person had only so much space in his article, but why is an organization of the blind so much shorter to say the National Federation of the Blind? I'm not trying to be argumentative; I only think that it is unfortunate that so much history portrays those of us who are blind as the passive recipients of other people's charity, when the truth is that we work hard in these charitable and governmental efforts as well, both to create, monitor, and work in them.

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Subject: [Nfbmo] {Disarmed} Jean Norris: Who created books the blind and the sighted could read together.

Jean Norris: Who created books the blind and the sighted could read together.

            Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.  
            Published on August 12th, 2014   
                 Jean Norris: Who created books the blind and the sighted could read together. 

                  One of the great joys we as parents have is to read stories to our children. But for blind people, that wasn't an option if the child and parent wanted to read a book together. 

                  That is until 1958 when Jean, who was sighted, was donating old clothing to a rummage sale for an organization for the blind. She heard Audrey Hebner, a blind mother say something that broke her heart. 

                  While stacking donated books, Audrey told Jean, "The thing I miss the most is not being able to read children's books and bedtime stories to my kids." 

                  The following morning, Jean began teaching herself Braille, determined to solve this problem. 

                  Jean Norris    photo: latimes.com
                  Jean took a book her three sons had outgrown, "Fuzzy Blanket" and attempted to attach Braille text next to the printed writing, finally succeeding on her fifth try. 

                  Jean brought the book to Audrey and the other blind mothers at their next meeting. Placing their fingers on the Braille pages the mothers took turns reading the book aloud as tears and words of gratitude flowed.* 

                  Jean immediately began contacting publishers and parents to donate books. She invited volunteers to her Sherman Oaks, CA home to help create the Braille attachments. 

                  Soon a group of volunteers met in Jean's kitchen and began making books. "Twin Vision" is what Jean called her concept, and starting in the early 1960's it became famous. 

                  What is now the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults sponsored Twin Vision and provided more advanced equipment and production space near Jean's home, where she expanded her operation. 

                  The results were tremendous. Tens of thousands of Twin Vision books were donated to blindness organizations and to libraries and schools. 

                  Jean had found her life's work. She headed Twin Vision, now located in Tarzana, until 2010 when she was 92 years of age. And on April 20th, her 96th birthday, she gently passed away in her sleep. 

                  But even without its founder, Twin Vision still offers a lending library that contains about 34,000 of these very special books. 

                  Success Tip of the Week: Jean's story reminds us that one person with determination can make a difference that can uplift the world. 

                  Editor's Note: *This is the scene as I envision it from published accounts. To learn more about Jean, please Click Here and Here. To learn more about the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults https://www.actionfund.org/ 

                  In the next KazanToday: A courageous woman who was the voice for Malaysia's oppressed peoples.   

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