Skip to main content

Book Excerpt: T.J.'s Story

T.J.'s Story: A Book about a Boy Who is Blind

Text and Photographs by Arlene Schulman
Published by Lerner Publications

My name is T.J. Olsen. You can see me, but I can't see you. That's because I'm blind.

People who are blind can see very little or nothing at all. Some people are born blind. Others lose their sight when they get older because of illnesses such as glaucoma and diabetes. I was born with a disease called retinoblastoma. It's a kind of cancer. It affects babies when they're born.

When I was 11 months old, doctors had to do surgery to get rid of the cancer. They removed my eyes. Instead of real eyes, I have plastic ones. Most people don't know that I'm blind until they see me with my cane. It's white and red and it looks like a walking stick.

Your eyes work like a camera. There is a lens at the front of each eye. The lends focuses on what you're seeing. The colored part of the eye, called the iris, opens and closes to let in the right amount of light. At the back of the eye is the retina. It's like the film in a camera. It records a picture of what you see.

Many people wear eyeglasses because their eyes don't work perfectly. They may not be able to see things far away or close up very well. Normal eyeglasses aren't enough for people who are visually impaired or blind. Their eyesight cannot be corrected with regular eyeglasses.

People who are visually impaired or blind may be able to see some things, like shapes or light and dark objects or very large things. In the United States, moe than a million people are blind.


Popular posts from this blog

My Year (or so) with the New York Yankees

...At the old Yankee Stadium, the press box rose high up above home plate and over to the left side and consisted of a few rows of countertops, outlets and chairs, with broadcast booths, and a smaller press box where I sat with the men of the Black and Hispanic press and TV and radio reporters. The Yankees official box sat off to the left, and Eddie Layton’s Hammond organ called outCharge!from the far right. This was the generation of technology that followed the electric typewriter and before cell phones, email, texting and the Internet. The state-of-the-art computer at the time was a heavy black Radio Shack laptop with a tiny screen of four or five lines. One older sportswriter still used a typewriter, and the clickety-clack of the keys made me think of the movie,The Front Page.

Most of the older men—and almost everyone was older then me—wore plaid short-sleeved shirts under tweed sport jackets, even during the warmer weather. They reminded me of Oscar Madison. At least these men had…

NYPL: Bridging Our Stories - Detective Thomas Troppmann of the NYPD's 34th Precinct

Meet Detective Specialist Thomas Troppmann of the 34th Precinct, which covers Washington Heights and Inwood.

Detective Troppmann has spent his entire 30- year career on patrol in uptown Manhattan, a  rarity for one officer to remain on patrol for that long AND in the same precinct. He was a rookie police officer the same year his new partner, Detective Specialist Edwin Rodriguez, was born. These two have partnered up for the NYPD's newest community based policing program, Neighborhood Coordination Officers, a more high tech and targeted brand of beat cop.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Detective Troppmann talks about  the changes he's witnessed in "MY neighborhood", how he feels about body cams, changes in technology since he came on the job,  his relationship with his partner Rodriguez, being mistaken for Police Commissioner James O'Neill, corruption, getting older, and how the jocular relationship of the locker room evaporated into a silent, sad stillness fol…

Steve Bonano of the NYPD: 1961 to 2015

Sometimes people bond over the smallest things.
     Sitting behind his captain’s desk covered with files, complaint reports, and official NYPD notifications along with my Timberland boots perched at the edge, Steve Bonano and I discovered that we had the same sophisticated culinary palate. It was uncanny. We both dined at the same establishment but at different branches and knew the menu as intimately as the chef. We ate there more than we cared to admit, which likely accounted for his slightly chubby physique and as I call myself, svelte with a twist.
     “I always order at Taco Bell”  my sentence began and Steve chimed in at the same time. “Combo number three!”
     We both laughed and exclaimed, “Three tacos and a soda!”
      Each time we saw each other we called out “Combo number three!” I can still hear his laugh.
     Many people knew him better than I did. My time was spent sitting in his office chatting about life on the job. During my two years embedded in the 23rd P…