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Young Adult Nonfiction Music

Out of Darkness

The Jeff Healey Story

by (author) Cindy Watson

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2010
Music, Special Needs, History
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2010
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2010
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 7 to 10
  • Reading age: 12 to 15


Short-listed for the 2011 Golden Oak Award
From the moment three-year-old Jeff Healey first laid a guitar across his lap in what was to become his signature style, it was clear he was no ordinary kid. Losing both eyes to retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer, opened a door to another world for Jeff, a newly adopted infant. Out of darkness he created music, becoming one of the most influential blues-rock and jazz performers of our time, beginning with his first hit album, See the Light.
In this up-close and personal account, loaded with never-before-seen photographs, memorabilia, and intimate recollections of family, friends, and fellow musicians, we discover this unique music icon’s dynamic career, which saw him collaborate with everyone from George Harrison and Eric Clapton to B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. From Jeff’s lonely start one snowy night at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto to his untimely end in the same building, we come away with a potent message of empowerment and a renewed sense of hope.

About the author

Cindy Watson is founder and managing partner of Watson Labour Lawyers, an attorney specializing in social justice law for 30 years. She is also the founder of Women On Purpose and creator of The Art of Feminine Negotiation programs.

She is a TEDx and international speaker, award-winning author, master negotiator, and consultant known for her passion, commitment, and ability to inspire. As a world-class women's empowerment coach, Cindy has a proven track record empowering, advocating, and motivating people to rediscover their purpose and become the best version of themselves.

Cindy is the award-winning author of Out of Darkness: The Jeff Healey Story [Dundurn] and Unloved and Endangered Animals [Enslow].

Born and raised in Toronto, she currently lives in gorgeous Muskoka, Canada with her husband, three kids and German Shepherd.

Cindy Watson's profile page


  • Short-listed, Golden Oak Award
  • Winner, Dewey Diva Pick

Editorial Reviews

This introduction to the life and work of a legendary Canadian cannot but inspire the reader to reach outside the box to follow one's dreams. As a biography of a blind person, it inspires understanding, and this is a remarkable accomplishment in itself, especially since many potential readers will not have much first-hand experience with people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired.

Canadian Materials Magazine

[Out of Darkness] is a richly detailed overview of Healey's life.

Quill and Quire Books for Young People

Out of Darkness is most successful when describing Healey's childhood and adolescence.

Quill & Quire

This book works on many levels especially the educational component, which offers interaction. Watson has done a great deal of research and asks the reader to think outside the box, like Healey did, and to take risks and not to give up on their dreams.

Muskoka Magazine

Cindy Watson has pulled together an excellent and accessible book of [Jeff Healy's] life... This is a wonderful book. Watson brings Jeff Healy back to life for her readers. The reading level is easy and the style is smooth and thoughtful. Teens who are just picking up a guitar or have been playing for several years will find this book interesting and informative.

Resource Links

Other titles by Cindy Watson