Reading strengthens brotherly bond
February 21, 2019

Alfie has an incredibly rare condition called Norrie Disease and was born totally blind. Alfie’s mum signed him up as a Living Paintings library member after seeing our books on social media. Before then he showed little interest in reading, but with our Touch to See picture books his confidence has improved and he now loves to read with his sighted big brother.

Two brothers reading together

In her own words, Alfie’s mum tells us what a difference Living Paintings has made to the family’s life:

“We would read to our eldest son, Harrison, every night when he was a baby so wanted to do the same with Alfie, even though he wouldn’t be seeing the pictures. Sometimes he would get bored and just not be interested. When Alfie was eighteen months old, I registered him with Living Paintings after seeing children enjoying their books on Facebook. A few weeks later, our first brown box arrived and the books were wonderful.

Alfie was given a Spot the Dog teddy to hold whilst we read him the Spot books that came in the box. Gradually, he became more confident with feeling the pictures and the braille. Harrison loves the books as much as Alfie. We love that Harrison reads to Alfie everyday, encouraging him to feel the pictures and braille. Alfie now prefers reading with Harrison than Mummy and Daddy! I love that the boys are able to share this activity together. There is a lot that Alfie isn’t able to do with Harrison which can be frustrating for both of them.

Two brothers reading together

Alfie is four and still doesn’t have many words. But when exploring the books he will ooh and ahh at feeling the different pictures. His favourite is The Gruffalo which we received a few weeks ago. He just wants to feel the spikes on the Gruffalo’s back. He has even started to repeat some of the words as we have read it and listened to the audio so many times!

A tactile picture of the Gruffalo

Having access to this incredible service has strengthened their bond and given Alfie access to books that he would never have been able to experience. They are also a huge help with his development. He absolutely loves the audio descriptions too. Alfie often wakes up at 1am asking to listen to Stick Man (read by Martin Freeman) to help him fall back to sleep!”

Alfie’s parents are key figures within The Norrie Disease Foundation, a charity to support families and those with Norrie Disease. The Foundation also engages in new research about the condition. For more information about Norrie disease, please visit

Have you read Alfie’s favourite books?

Join our free, nationwide postal library today and you too could enjoy The Gruffalo and Stick Man just like Alfie. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page, to keep up to date with what’s happening.

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