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"What I can be is up to me. Because, you see, I believe in me!"

cover of what i can be is up to me book

From the Best Selling Author of Thriving Blind:

What I Can Be Is Up To Me

With captivating storytelling and vibrant illustrations, this book takes young readers on a journey of self-discovery, highlighting that regardless of any challenges they may face, they have the power to choose who they want to be and what they can achieve.

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This Book Does Good.

Every purchase of What I Can Be Is Up To Me directly supports the Thriving Blind Academy's mission to empower families raising children that are blind or visually impaired. By buying this book, you're not only empowering your own children or students, but also helping to end the illiteracy and unemployment crisis in the blind community.

In less than one year, thousands of children have been impacted by this book! Join the HEROES on our MISSION to create a brighter future where every blind child can thrive and achieve their dreams!



Buy the Book!
430
FAMILIES

 Parents are investing in this book's empowering message of inclusion.

11

COUNTRIES

From the USA to Australia and the Netherlands, the love for this book is global.

65
CLASSROOMS

Teachers are inspiring and empowering their students with this fun book.

170

BOOKS DONATED

Children around the world are seeing disability differently.

CHANGING PERCEPTIONS

Kids Can't Keep Their Hands Off of This Book!

And we don't want them to! 

What I Can Be Is Up To Me is not just a regular children's book; it's a unique combination of print and braille in one. This innovative format makes the book accessible for blind children while also introducing all children to the tool of literacy for the blind—braille. Children are fascinated and excited to learn braille as they read along with the story, and this experience changes how they perceive blindness, fostering inclusivity and understanding from an early age.

young children's hands on the braille in the book
young boy with his hand on the text of the book
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Three Ways to Join the Journey of this Book:

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1. PURCHASE THE BOOK

Your purchase funds programs at Thriving Blind Academy for families raising chlidren that are blind.

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images from the book with text Classroom Essential: The bok techers adore

2. DONATE A COPY

Donate a copy to a family, school, or a teacher. You can also donate one to our wait list of teachers and families that would like one.

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kristin sitting and reading the book to a large group of students sitting in chairs

3.SCHEDULE A SCHOOL VISIT

Chat with author Kristin Smedley to see if a  an author visit is a good fit for your school! Click below to schedule a short Zoom call.

BOOK A CALL

What are Children, Parents, & Teachers Saying about this book?

This book is proof that when you create something with an inclusive mindset, the impact reaches far beyond the intended benefit:

Your visit to our school was fantastic! It was my most favorite day! 

Mary Poole, Librarian, S. Carolina School for the Blind and Deaf

all 6 characters cheering

I had so much fun with you and your book today. I am so happy I met you! I want to be an author when I grow up.

Student, Brookdale Elementary School

all 6 characters smiling together

I can't wait to read this to my grandchildren. 

Dr. Kirk Adams, blind, former CEO of American Foundation for the Blind

characters dreaming of what they want to do

This Book Is Made Possible by Partners and Sponsors.

Publishing costs for a print + braille format are considerably higher than regular print only books. We are thrilled to work with these organizations and companies to make the book affordable while supporting families guiding blind children to thrive. We are currently looking for more partners to help us build a comprehensive online resource for the book to empower teachers and families to have additional tools to empower children to uncover their abilities and thrive. Please choose a sponsorship level or reach out to [email protected]

6 characters from the book jumping in the air

JOIN OUR JOURNEY AS A SPONSOR!

6 characters from the book jumping in the air

JOIN OUR JOURNEY AS A SPONSOR!

Become a Sponsor Today!

VISIONARY $1000

Includes company name and logo on the book website and 1 copy of the book.


SPONSOR NOW

INNOVATOR $2500

Includes company name and logo on the book website and 5 copies of the book.


SPONSOR NOW

THRIVER $5000

Includes company name and logo on the book website, 10 copies of the book, and a one hour presentation by Kristin Smedley.

SPONSOR NOW

This Book Is a Catalyst for Change.

Inclusive literature transforms children's worldviews, fostering empathy and paving the way for a more compassionate society.

  • Fostering Empathy and Understanding: Inclusive literature helps children understand and appreciate diverse perspectives and experiences. By reading about characters from different backgrounds, abilities, and cultures, children develop empathy and learn to respect and value differences.

  • Promoting Self-Identity and Confidence: When children see themselves represented in books, it validates their experiences and boosts their self-esteem. Inclusive literature ensures that all children feel seen and heard, fostering a positive self-identity and confidence in who they are

  • Encouraging Social and Emotional Learning: Inclusive stories often address various social and emotional issues, such as bullying, friendship, and overcoming challenges. These narratives provide children with tools to navigate their own emotions and relationships, promoting emotional intelligence and social skills.

  • Enhancing Cognitive and Academic Development: Exposure to a wide range of stories and perspectives enhances critical thinking and comprehension skills. Children learn to analyze different viewpoints, recognize biases, and appreciate the richness of diverse narratives, contributing to their overall cognitive and academic growth.

  • Building an Inclusive Society: By reading inclusive literature, children learn the importance of inclusivity and equality from a young age. This awareness helps shape their attitudes and behaviors, encouraging them to become more inclusive, open-minded, and accepting individuals who contribute positively to a diverse society.

Make a General Donation to the Book's Mission

Meet the Author

    Kristin Smedley headsh

    Kristin Smedley

    Co-Founder, Thriving Blind Academy

    CEO, Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation

    Kristin Smedley is a TEDx speaker and author of the best selling book Thriving Blind:Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight and NEW children's book, What I Can Be Is Up To Me. Kristin is Co-Founder of Thriving Blind Academy. She has two sons that are blind due to CRB1-LCA and a sighted daughter. All three of her children are thriving - and out of the house at college and the workforce!

Meet the Illustrator

    womn with long brown hair smiling

    Kim Crothers

    Artist 

    Kim has always wanted to pursue art and design from a very young age. She attended Mississippi State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design. Kim is also visually impaired. She was diagnosed during early childhood with ADOA (Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy), a rare eye disease that causes progressive and irreversible vision loss in both eyes. Kim and her family reside in Mississippi.

Meet the LAUNCH TEAM!

What I Can Be Is Up To Me debuted into the world in 2023 by way of a Kickstarter Campaign to fund all of the Braille and other production costs. In addition, many discussions and much research was done to make this a fully inclusive book - from the fonts used, to the illustrator, and the format. This small but mighty team worked to be sure our campaign was a success (103% funded!) and spread the word far and wide about this project. We are so grateful for their love of this project!

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Join our journey on Instagram!

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Sue Schneider

Director, Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation

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Tara Funk

Inclusion Advocate

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Diana

Teacher of the Visually Impaired

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Aubrey Schneider

Student

About the mission this book supports:

Thriving Blind Academy is a 501c3 non profit corporation. All donations fund programs for families and individuals impacted by blindness to thrive in school, work and life.

Contact Us at [email protected]