Story of Remarkable Blind Boy Inspires Kids to Overcome Challenges

Story of Remarkable Blind Boy Inspires Kids to Overcome Challenges

NEW YORKApril 11, 2017 — Lightswitch Learning honors National Poetry Month with the release of their recently published children’s picture book, The Boy Who Opened Our Eyes. The book was inspired by a poem written by the author, Elaine Sussman, over 60 years ago for a fifth-grade homework assignment. The book fulfills Ms. Sussman’s lifelong dream of sharing the story of her blind younger brother, Mark, with the goal of encouraging kids to achieve greatness regardless of any disabilities or challenges they may face.

In this beautifully illustrated book, Sussman’s family and friends take the initiative to help Mark enjoy life in the same way as a typical six-year-old boy. In understanding the world through Mark’s eyes, readers can experience how colors are redefined, foods have new tastes, touch is exquisitely revealing, and sounds have new relevance. With warm and engaging illustrations by Anni Matsick, readers can’t help but share in Mark’s world.

The Boy Who Opened Our Eyes is filled with teachable moments that address themes like diversity, empathy, bullying, persistence, and resilience. A braille alphabet card is attached to the back cover of each book, giving children the opportunity to touch the tactile letters and experience how visually challenged people read with their fingers.

In an April 9, 2017 review of the book, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Michael Braga wrote: “Sussman takes the reader into Mark’s world and imparts some valuable lessons in parenting.”


Former Mayor of New York CityDavid N. Dinkins, praised The Boy Who Opened Our Eyes: “This heartwarming story will not only inspire resilience and empower children to overcome obstacles, it will also teach them to show compassion and embrace differences.”


Wé McDonald, a finalist on NBC’s The Voice, said “This awesome book will inspire kids to be proud of who they are and to succeed against all odds… just like I have!”

The Boy Who Opened Our Eyes is published by Lightswitch Learning,, a national grades PreK-12 curriculum resources provider founded in 1971.

About the Author

Elaine Sussman is an advocate for the blind and was previously an education publishing executive. Her brother, Mark is an accomplished singer and songwriter who continues to perform for audiences today.

About Lightswitch Learning:

Lightswitch Learning is a division of Sussman Education Company, a leader in K-12 digital and print educational resources for over 45 years. Lightswitch Learning’s mission is to provide the most engaging and relevant resources parents and teachers need to help children succeed socially, emotionally, physically, and academically.

To support its mission, Lightswitch Learning publishes inspiring picture books, informational text collections, fiction collections, and bullying prevention programs for students. These titles model positive behaviors that can help students build the self-confidence they need to manage academic and social stresses while improving literacy skills and subject knowledge. Resources for teachersinclude professional development materials, companion teacher’s guides, classroom activities, and more. Parents are supported with parent guides created by leading practitioners to provide practical strategies to support their children in today’s complex world. These resources help students build 21st century skills and are available in grade-appropriate bundles for schools and community engagement programs.

Lightswitch Learning donates a portion of the proceeds from their books to a number of non-profit organizations with related social missions, including:,,, and many others.

For more information on Lightswitch Learning and to view the full catalog visit

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