A Blind Guide to Stinkville
Written by Beth Vrabel
Before Stinkville, Alice didn’t think albinism–or the blindness that goes with it–was a big deal. Sure, she uses a magnifier to read books. And a cane keeps her from bruising her hips on tables. Putting on sunscreen and always wearing a hat are just part of life. But life has always been like this for Alice. Until Stinkville.
For the first time in her life, Alice feels different–like she’s at a disadvantage. Back in her old neighborhood in Seattle, everyone knew Alice, and Alice knew her way around. In Stinkville, Alice finds herself floundering–she can’t even get to the library on her own. But when her parents start looking into schools for the blind, Alice takes a stand. She’s going to show them–and herself–that blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be. To prove it, Alice enters the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest. No one, not even her new friend Kerica, believes she can scout out her new town’s stories and write the essay by herself. The funny thing is, as Alice confronts her own blindness, everyone else seems to see her for the first time.
Primary Source Pairing:
Alice’s story will no doubt spark curiosity about other people who live with albinism. For this primary source pairing, invite students to learn about other kids who are just like them, but who are albino. The image included above is a boy named Christian who loves video games, runs cross country, and excels in math. You can learn more about Christian on his Teen Spotlight page on the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) website. Visit the Teen Spotlight page on the NOAH website for more bios of teens who have albinism.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What is the physical setting?
- What can you learn from examining this?
- How is this the same as your bedroom? How is this different?
- Find something that reminds you of something in your bedroom. Explain the connection.
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Christian’s picture: NOAH Website