Painting in the Dark:

Esref Armagan, Blind Artist

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A 2017 Wilbur Award Winner

Wilbur Award winner!

In 1953, Esref Armagan was born completely blind to a poor family in Istanbul, Turkey. He received no formal education, and spent his childhood days in his father’s shop where he developed the curiosity to create and draw. He experienced the world through touch, and learned to visually reproduce his surroundings, including color, shadows, and perspective, with his hands. The blind artist’s story will be an inspiration to young artists of all abilities.

Editorial Reviews

“Bronson Pinchot’s measured, reverent voice is a great match for this account of Esref Armagan…While Pinchot’s voice is light and cheerful for Armagan’s successes, it turns somber at the many challenges he faced. In a well-modulated voice often accompanied by soft reflective music, Kellgren delivers the author’s explanations of Armagan’s painting techniques.”


“May Painting in the Dark break down our misconceptions and encourage us all to find our internal vision, to follow our heart’s desires, and never pre-judge our neighbor’s abilities.”

Barbara Oswald, blind artist, photographer, gallery owner

“A story of talent, perseverance, and refusal to accept limitations.”

Deborah Stein Kent, National Federation of the Blind

“The author is to be commended for sharing the story of this largely unknown painter in this well-written, entertaining, and inspiring book.”

Stephanie Kieszak-Holloway, president of the Georgia Organization of Parents of Blind Children

Author Biography

Rachelle Burk writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children, and was a contributing writer for Scholastic Science World classroom magazine. Her background as a popular children’s entertainer guarantees a presentation that is not only powerful and educational, but hysterically funny as well. Rachelle, a New Jersey resident, has visited schools in fourteen states so far.

Reader Biography

Katherine Kellgren has appeared onstage in London, New York, and Frankfurt. Her work includes the role of Laura in a regional production of The Glass Menagerie and appearances on Comedy Central. She is an Audie Award and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator of audiobooks and has also received the Peabody Award.

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