Xavier Society for the Blind Hosts Zoom Event with Author Robert Hanley

Book jacket for Do You See What I See? Discovering the Obvious by Robert Hanley

The Xavier Society for the Blind is hosting a virtual meet and greet with actor/author Robert Hanley on Thursday, October 21, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets are $25 each and will benefit the mission of the Xavier Society for the Blind.

The author of one of the society’s most popular audio books, DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? DISCOVERING THE OBVIOUS, Hanley will discuss his book and answer questions from the audience.  The Texas Talking Book Program has copies of Hanley’s book on audio cartridge. To request a copy, please call us at 1-800-252-9605 or 512-463-5458, or send an email to tbpral@tsl.texas.gov.

Robert Hanley is an author, comedian, singer, and actorIn addition, he founded The Fireside Fellowship – a spiritual supplement to his book, providing a space for people to share their everyday experiences, feelings, and faith as they pertain to pertinent universal topics (e.g., gratitude, coincidence, humor, work) and offering practical and spiritual perspectives to effect a positive change in the life and faith of each person.

The Texas Talking Book Program has copies on audio cartridge. Call us at 1-800-252-9605 or 512-463-5458 or email us at tbpral@tsl.texas.gov to request a copy.

For more information about the event visit: An Evening of Storytelling with actor/author Robert Hanley (donorview.com)

Robert Hanley is an author, comedian, singer, and actor who founded The Fireside Fellowship, a spiritual supplement to his book. The fellowship provides a space for people to share everyday experiences, feelings, and faith and offers practical and spiritual perspectives in hopes of providing positive changes.

Virtual Meet and Greet with Author, Robert Hanley Hosted by the Xavier Society for the Blind
Date: Thursday, October 21st
Time: 6:00 PM EST

September 2021 Book Club Title Announced

Texas Talking Book patrons: please join us on Thursday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. (Central) for our book club discussion of SAM HOUSTON AND THE ALAMO AVENGERS by Brian Kilmeade (DB 97726, LB 12663).

Book Cover for Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers

Our book club meetings are hosted via toll free conference call, so all you need is a telephone to participate. To RSVP call the Talking Book Program at: 1-800-252-9605 (RSVP preferred by March 5) or email us at: tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov. Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download it from BARD.

NLS Annotation:

An account of America’s continued fight for Texas after the crushing massacre at the Alamo. The author describes how that defeat galvanized Texans to ultimately win independence for the state. Violence. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2019.We request that everyone remember the following:

  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.
  • Be courteous. Be succinct so as to give everyone a chance to talk; be respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.

We look forward to the discussion on September 23!

My Heart Is Not Blind Exhibit at the Witte Museum in San Antonio

Witte Museum Logo
Witte Museum Logo

My Heart Is Not Blind is a combination of stunning photographs and insightful audio interviews of people with visual impairments. Seven years in the making, the exhibit was created by photographer and documentarian Michael Nye in order to probe more deeply into the nature of and misperceptions about blindness. Mr. Nye’s website states: “Blindness doesn’t make someone less intelligent, less capable, less competent. Many become more courageous and determined. Perception and adaptation are deeper than we can imagine and much more mysterious.” Leave this exhibit with the knowledge that there are many different ways of seeing. The My Heart Is Not Blind exhibit is included in the cost of admission to the Witte.

My Heart Is Not Blind Exhibit
Dates: January 5, 2019 – March 31, 2019
Times: Mondays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesdays  10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesdays – Saturdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sundays Noon – 5 p.m.
Location: Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209
For more information visit:  https://www.wittemuseum.org/heart-not-blind/ or call (210) 357-1900

Staff Pick — John — THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US: A MEMOIR, by Reyna Grande, DB 85006

National Hispanic Heritage Month was September 15-October 15.  It recognizes the contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.  One such person is author Reyna Grande, who describes her tumultuous journey from Mexican immigrant to American citizen in THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US: A MEMOIR.

Grande tells of being left behind in Iguala, Mexico by her father when he leaves for the United States, or El Otro Lado.  Later, her mother follows him to “The Other Side.”  Reyna and her older siblings, Mago and Carlos, are left in the care of their neglectful and mean-spirited paternal grandmother.

Three years later, Reyna, Mago, and Carlos cross the border with their father and join him in Los Angeles.  Years of hardship and resiliency follow.  At turns aspirational and callous, their father pushes his children to succeed in their new country, and Reyna becomes the first person in her family to graduate from college.

Flavored with a sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases, this is a direct, no-frills memoir.  Grande doesn’t diminish or romanticize the poverty she endures in Mexico, describing bellies bloated with roundworms and scorpions crawling the walls of her family’s shack.

Nor does she shy away from detailing the emotional and physical abuse they suffer at the hands of their alcoholic father.  Grande has a profoundly complicated relationship with her father, one that continues to evolve even when he’s on his deathbed.

Grande’s father told his children that “just because we’re illegal doesn’t mean we can’t dream.”  Her journey from Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico to Santa Cruz and beyond, reveals the truth behind those words.

What makes THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US memorable is the unrelenting bond between Reyna and her siblings.  They refuse to let any distance come between them.


NLS Annotation: The author recounts her childhood, when her father left her, and her siblings, and her mother behind in Mexico to cross the United States’ border.  Years later he summons his wife to join him, but Reyna and her siblings are left behind with their stern grandmother.  Some violence.  2012.

LA DISTANCIA ENTRE NOSOTROS (DB 79963) is the Spanish language version.

Meet author Reyna Grande at www.reynagrane.com.

Enjoy an October 2015 BookTV interview with Reyna Grande: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Rv-hP6hflU.

If you’d like to read other accounts of migration from Mexico and other Latin American countries, sample these titles:

WAITING FOR SNOW IN HAVANA: CONFESSIONS OF A CUBAN BOY, by Carlos Eire (DB 57745), offers a starkly different perspective on the immigrant experience.  Born in privilege in Cuba, Eire and his brother fled Cuba when Fidel Castro came to power.  However, a child’s longing for family left behind crosses all cultural and socio-economic lines.

Travel THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY: A TRUE STORY, by Luis Alberto Urrea (DI 03701), and enter the “complicated, dangerous world of the border.”

ENRIQUE’S JOURNEY (DB 62628), by Sonia Nazario, recounts a young Honduran boy’s harrowing journey to rejoin his mother in America.  (TRAVESIA DE ENRIQUE, DB 76963).

SPARE PARTS (BR 20681 / DB 80725) is the astonishing story of four undocumented Mexican immigrants in Arizona who won the 2004 National Underwater Robotics Competition.

The dangers of life—and travel—in Mexico are explored by Richard Grant in GOD’S MIDDLE FINGER: INTO THE LAWLESS HEART OF THE SIERRA MADRE, DB 67469.

Grande was born in Iguala, Mexico, which made international headlines in 2014 when 43 male college students were kidnapped and murdered.  Although the kidnapping occurred some 30 years after Grande left Iguala, it speaks to the danger and desperation the drives people to “El Otro Lado.”

The Los Angeles Times revisits the mystery of the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping: http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-ayotzinapa-20160926-snap-story.html.

Learn more about the notorious Iguala mass kidnapping: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Iguala_mass_kidnapping.


Lyft Offers Free and Discounted Rides on Election Day

The ride source service Lyft is partnering with national voting and non-profit organizations to provide low cost or free rides to individuals on election day. Many voters admit that transportation is their biggest obstacle to voting in local and national elections.

Lyft is available in all fifty states, but may not be available in local areas. Click here for a list of cities that offer Lyft service: https://www.lyft.com/rider/cities
The Lyft app is available on iOS and Android platforms.

The last day to register in vote in Texas for the November election is October 9th. You can pick up a voter registration application at various places like high schools and public libraries. You can also print a voter registration application here: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp
You must register at least 30 days before the election in order to be eligible to vote.

In many cities the Democratic Party will also provide free rides to polling places. Persons with disabilities may also vote by mail.

For more information on Lyft’s #TheRidetoVote initiative, visit https://blog.lyft.com/posts/2018/8/22/get-out-the-vote
More details will be available closer to Election Day, which is Tuesday, November 6th.

The Color of Blind exhibit at the San Antonio Public Library

Color of Blind Exhibit Image
The Color of Blind is an interactive art show by Trina Geurra Bacon and Katherine Brown. First debuting in 2013, “The show allows visually impaired individuals, along with others with special sensory needs or challenges, to better connect with art,” explains Bacon. During the month of August, the San Antonio Public Library’s Central Branch gallery will host a “best in show” exhibit of some of Color of Blind’s fan favorite pieces. “Everyone should be able to fully experience art. We say ‘Yes- please touch the art!’” The Color of Blind will be free and open to the public during Central Library hours of operation.

The Color of Blind Exhibit
Dates: August 7, 2016 – August 26, 2016
Times: Mondays through Thursdays 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sundays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: San Antonio Public Library, Central Branch, 600 Soledad St, San Antonio, Texas 78205
For more information visit: mysapl.org or call 210-207-2500

Talking Book Program to be Closed from 5 pm Friday, June 22 through 8 am Monday, July 2nd:: El Programa de Libros que Hablan estará cerrado de las 5:00 pm el Viernes 22 de Junio hasta las 8 am el Lunes 2 de Julio.

Starting at 5 pm on Friday, June 22nd, we will be closed to the public while we upgrade our computer system. We will reopen on Monday, July 2nd at 8 am.  While we are closed, you may leave simple requests such as book orders or contact information changes on our voicemail, and they will be processed during our closure. We regret that we will not be able to call you back; if you need to speak to a staff member, please call back when normal hours resume on July 2nd.

Please do not visit the library between June 22nd and July 1st, as we cannot accommodate walk-in patrons during the closure.

You may also contact us via e-mail at tbp.services@tsl.texas.gov.  While we are closed, email requests will be processed, but no replies will be sent.

Thank you for your patience while we make this important transition.

Comenzando a las 5:00 pm el Viernes 22 de Junio, estaremos cerrados al público mientras actualizamos nuestro sistema informático. Abriremos de nuevo el Lunes 22 de Julio a las 8:00 am. Durante nuestra clausura, usted puede dejar mensajes sencillos en nuestro correo de voz, como ordenes de libros o cambios en su información de contacto (teléfono, dirección, etc.) Esas solicitudes serán procesadas durante la clausura. Sentimos no poder regresar las llamadas durante ese tiempo; si necesita hablar con un miembro del personal, por favor llámenos cuando reanudemos nuestras horas hábiles el 2 de Julio.

No podremos admitir visitas en persona del 22 de Junio al 1ero de Julio, ya que no estaremos capacitados para ayudar usuarios durante nuestra clausura. Usted puede mandarnos mensajes por correo electrónico a tbp.services@tsl.texas.gov.  Durante nuestra clausura sí procesaremos solicitudes recibidas por correo electrónico, pero no mandaremos respuestas.

Gracias por su paciencia durante esta importante transición.

The Color of Blind exhibit at the San Antonio’s Plaza De Armas Gallery

Color of Blind Exhibit Image

The Color of Blind is an interactive art show by Trina Geurra Bacon and Katherine Brown. First debuting in 2013, “The show allows visually impaired individuals, along with others with special sensory needs or challenges, to better connect with art,” explains Bacon. The exhibit showcases artwork designed especially to evoke smell, touch and taste. “Everyone should be able to fully experience art. We say ‘Yes- please touch the art!’” The Color of Blind is free and open to the public.

The Color of Blind Exhibit
Dates: April 17, 2017– April 20, 2017
Times: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: 115 Plaza De Armas San Antonio, TX 78205

For more information call: 210.206.ARTS or 210.206.8787

Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival


The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) is hosting the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival and Short Film Competition. This annual event features films that display disability accurately and positively. The festival was created as an entertaining way to eradicate common misperceptions about disability.

Founded twelve years ago by CTD staffer, William Greer, this is the first film festival in Texas with an explicit focus on cross-disability films. Since its foundation it has grown to be the longest running and most successful disability film festival in the state.

This year the festival will feature The Rebound and Deaf Jam at the Alamo Drafthouse Village the first weekend of November, 2016.

Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival
Dates: November 4, 2016 – November 5, 2016
Times: Doors open at 5:45 PM and close at 9:45 PM

Location: Alamo Drafthouse Villiage, 2700 West Anderson Lane, Austin, Texas 78757

For more information visit: http://www.txdisabilities.org/news-events/film-festival/filmfestival-2016/2015-festival

Register to Vote by October 11th

The deadline for registering to vote in the November 8th general election is October 11th.

Here is the web site for information on registering to vote in Texas:

Use this link to determine if you are already registered to vote:

Here is a link to the voter registration application:

You may also register in person at your county Voter Registrar’s Office, which is usually the County Tax Assessor – Collector’s Office. Here is a link to the offices by county:

In addition, most public libraries, government offices, and high schools have voter registration applications.

You may fill out this online form to request that a postage-paid voter registration application be mailed to you:
Mail the completed application to the county Voter Registrar’s Office.

You must be at least 17 years and 10 months old when you apply, and you need to have a Driver’s License, ID card, or Social Security card.

Future blog posts will have more information about the upcoming election. Please contact the Disability Information & Referral Center at 800-252-9605 if you have any questions.