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"What I Can Be Is Up To Me"

a Thriving Blind Children's Book

Help get this empowering, accessible book into children's hands.


The Kickstarter Campaign OPENS on September 27, 2022!









Imagine if children learned at an early age that blindness is NOT a barrier to success.

"What I Can Be Is Up To Me" is an illustrated children’s book, in print + braille format, that empowers children to know

that they can be all that they want to be if they believe in themselves, regardless if they have sight or not

Blindness is not a barrier to success.

Our misinformed bias about blindness causes the barriers.

Most people believe that people that are blind cannot achieve many things.  

This book informs all readers that believing in yourself is what matters,

NOT what others believe about you.


YOU can join the journey of publishing this book!

Here's a few ways:

Order a copy of the book for your family to enjoy!

CLICK HERE to go to the Kickstarter campaign and choose the PRE-ORDER level!

Donate a copy of the book to the first grade classroom of your choice (or we can select one for you from our wish list of interested teachers/schools!)

CLICK HERE to go to the Kickstarter campaign and choose the DONATE A BOOK level!

Donate any amount of funds to the Kickstarter project! Every single dollar will help this book to children!

CLICK HERE to go to the Kickstarter campaign and choose any level or your own amount!

Why a Kickstarter Campaign?

Creating a print and braille version of a children's book costs much more to produce than a regular print book. The author does not want to put that extra cost onto the families and teachers that will be purchasing this book. The Kickstarter campaign will raise the extra funds needed to create the first 500 copies of this beautiful, accessible book.

Who will love this book?


Young readers will enjoy this book:

Fun, engaging story

Rhythmic, action text

Repeated text for reading success

Each page has an exciting action for the

reader to envision

A surprise ending!


Teachers will enjoy using this book in class:

Introduce and reinforce high frequency words Intentional sentence structures to support knowledge acquisition

Text chunking so content is manageable

Fun and engaging storyline

Repetitive sentence structures

Appropriate age level content load


    Parents will enjoy this book:

    Blind and sighted siblings can read it together

    Blind parent can read to sighted children

    Success principles are the throughline of the story

    Introduces young reader to role models that are blind/low vision



    "The children's version of Thriving Blind puts the power to succeed in the children themselves!"

    The original, best selling book Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight (Smedley, 2019) was written for parents of blind children to understand succeeding without sight is possible. Now, the children's version puts the power to succeed in the children themselves!

    This book sets a gold standard for DEI and A.

    *"Characters" are from different races, ethnicity, nationality, and genders.

    *Every person in the story has a disability (blindness/low vision).

    *The print + braille format makes the book accessible for all readers.

    *The illustrations are being created by a visually impaired artist.*

    Check out the submissions below to our illustrator contest!

    Illustrator contest promo pic shoin a painter and text that reads all participants must be blind or visually impaired
    moms for sight logo

    We are so grateful to the Moms for Sight organization for sponsoring our Illustrator contest! With their generous support, we are able to give the winning artist a $5000 contract to create the illustrations for this book!

    Stay tuned for the announcement of the three finalists and your chance to vote for your favorite cover idea!

    Take a look at the submissions to the contest below, all submitted by blind or low vision artists!

    Highlights of the Illustrator Contest Submissions!

    All artists featured here are blind or low vision. 

    **All submissions include alt text for screen readers.**

    Artist: Amanda McCoy

    three furry kittens sitting stacked on each other in a slightly open doorway

    Artist: Cecilia Foerester

    to page spread from an alphabet book left side is a robot and the letter r and right side is a smail and letter s

    Artist: Collins Enwereji

    girl with black hair and bright pink shirt playing a grand piano

    Artist:Ellen Harper

    This series explore how the ancient Greeks viewed the afterlife. > > Illustration of the Greek god Hermes. The image is drawn in gold on a > navy background. He is holding a staff with two snakes wrapped around > it and topped with wings. The image includes a geometric patterned > frame and an abstract swirl pattern in the background. > > Illustration of Charon, the Ferryman. The image is drawn in navy on a > gold background. Charon is standing on a boat and holding a staff. > Behind him is a wall of sculls, and the image has a frame made of > skulls. > > Illustration of Cerebus, the three-headed dog, guarding the gate to > the underworld. The image is drawn in gold on a navy background. > Cerebus has three patterned skulls at his paws. The image includes a > geometric patterned frame. > > Illustration of the three judges of the dead seated on the bench. The > image is drawn in navy on a gold background. The image includes a > patterned frame. > > llustration of Hades and Persephone. The image is drawn in navy on a > gold background. The image includes a patterned frame. > > llustration of Tartarus, the greek hell. there are waves of flames at > the bottom of the frame, and the entrance is guarded by a hydra. The > image is drawn in gold on a navy background. The image includes a > patterned frame. > > Illustration of Elysium, the greek heaven. Trees are on both sides of > the frame, hills, and a large sun. The image is drawn in navy on a > gold background. The image includes a patterned frame. > > Illustration of an asphodel flower surrounded by abstract spirit > figures. The image is drawn in gold on a navy background. The image > includes a frame composed of asphodel flowers.

    Artist: Jordan Parsons

     Two smiling mountain climbers, one with a helmet and a backpack, the other wearing a baseball style cap standing near a patch of flowers on a partly cloudy day, with mountains in the background.

    Artist: Josephine (Joey) Hernandez

     Acrylic painting of fluffy orange kitten peaking over bright red brick wall with dark green foliage behind him. Joey's signature in bottom right corner with sim braille reading the initials

    Artist: Antonelle Lindrea

    sketch of a girl with long hair

    Artist: Kim Crothers

    an illustration of me if I were a children's book character. In the picture I am a young girl with pigtails holding an artist palette and brushes. An aspiring artist! I am also wearing my telescopic lenses in the illustration. The little artist has painted the background of the image with brushstrokes and flowers. I also list a few things that describe me.

    Artist: Mihika Nagale

    The illustration is of a small girl and her mother looking out the window on a snowy day. They both have brown curly hair and hazel eyes. The little girl is wearing a pink sweater with her hands pressed against the window. The mother is wearing a burgundy sweater and is holding a mug of hot chocolate. END ID.

    Artist: Roshunda Holt

    I pulled two pictures from the Envision Halloween party. One little girl was dressed as a princess and a little boy was dressed as a bear in overalls. I put them on the page first and added the background to give the picture depth. It took about three hours.

    Artist: Samira Cox

     a character design for a 3D animation which was used in a short firm that I made. It shows a cat like character from different angles and with different expressions. The cat is orange coloured with 2 yellow stripes across its back and a yellow chest. It has large green eyes and a long fluffy tail.

    Artist: Abigail Way

    Digital drawing of 3 cartoon children with joyful expressions doing various activities, sat on a large folded up white cane. The first is a girl with a dark skin tone, in a purple spotty dress with a neon pink hair tie in, she's wearing matching purple flip flops and is lying on top of the cane, painting with several brightly coloured paint splats around her. The second is a girl with a very light skin tone and very blonde hair in plaits, she's talking to a phone she's holding up that's surrounded by hearts, send buttons and follower icons. She's in a frilly bright green top with blue jeans on and bright orange trainers, sat on the left of the cane. The final child is a boy with a medium - light skin tone, a full head of slightly curly ginger hair, playing a keyboard balanced on the bottom on the cane, with musical notes surrounding it. He's wearing blue glasses, a red t-shirt and navy blue shorts, he's barefoot. On the top corner of the cane reads @do.you.see.mee and at the bottom of the cane is the artists scribbled signature. Across the cane in large bold writing are the words, 'YES WE CAN!'.

    Are you or a family member living with blindness or low vision and looking for a community to help you thrive?

    Join Thriving Blind Academy TODAY and be a part of the Community of Thrivers!

  • Click the button to see the details of the Thriving Blind Academy Memberships!

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