Cover image for Private and confidential : a story about braille
Private and confidential : a story about braille
Ripley, Marion.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Dial Books for Young Readers, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
When Laura finds out that her new Australian pen pal, Malcolm, is blind, she learns to use a braille machine to write to him.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 77307.
Added Author:
Format :


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Material Type
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PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



How do you read and write when you can’t see? This is a question many children wonder about as they begin to master these skills. In this uplifting story, Laura has discovered that her Australian pen pal is blind, so she decides to learn to use a Brailler machine. It’s an exciting challenge, and soon Laura and Malcolm are corresponding in Braille. Laura has always wanted to have her very own private and confidential letters—and now she does!A genuine Braille message is printed at the back of the book along with an alphabet key so that readers can experience how Braille works. The short afternote also shares interesting facts about Braille. This unique book offers a meaningful way to introduce children to the subject of visual impairment.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 1-3. Laura enthusiastically corresponds with her Australian pen pal Malcolm but worries when she receives no reply for three weeks. Finally, she receives a letter from Malcolm's sister informing Laura that her brother had undergone eye surgery and sees so poorly that he types his lessons in Braille. Laura borrows a brailling machine and sends Malcolm a get-well card. When she receives a letter in Braille from him, she uses the Braille alphabet to decode his message. Appended pages add brief information about Braille, and one page provides raised dots for children to touch. Students will enjoy decoding Malcolm's letter along with Laura, but the dark, somber illustrations do not match the cheerful tone of the narrative. Useful as an introduction to Braille, this is best suited for classroom use and larger collections. --Linda Perkins Copyright 2004 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-This earnest attempt to provide an approachable introduction to Braille falls flat as a story. Laura writes to a pen pal in Australia and is excited to receive a reply from Malcolm, who likes swimming and has a cat. She sends another letter, but doesn't hear from him for three weeks. Then a note arrives from his sister, who explains that Malcolm has poor eyesight, is in the hospital for an eye operation, and types most of his work in Braille. Laura happens to know someone who has a brailling machine, so she starts a correspondence with Malcolm. The book ends with the boy's response, and children can find out what it says by using the Braille alphabet card printed below. The author is so intent on getting to this point that the narrative isn't fleshed out enough to make it interesting. All in all, this is a Braille card surrounded by a thin story. Featuring warm colors, the scratchy pastel illustrations are pleasant and filled with smiling children. For a better fictionalized presentation of Braille, try Dana Meachen Rau's The Secret Code (Children's, 1998).-Christine A. Moesch, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.