Note: This article was graciously submitted by Missy Garber.
If you open up any parenting magazine these days you are bound to find an article about the importance of reading to children.
Children who are blind also love reading, but their parents or caregivers are often at a loss as to how to obtain books in their child’s future reading medium. There are services that loan braille books to children and their families, but many future braille readers are like their sighted peers in that they especially like to have some books they own and can read again and again.
The following is a list of sources where you can obtain braille or print/braille books for your child. Some of the sources sell braille books for prices very close to the unadapted print price. Others offer braille books free of charge. Even if your child is too young for certain selections or is not yet reading
independently, you can still take advantage of these offers and save the books for when your child is older.
American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults Free Braille Children's Book Series Program 1800 Johnson Street Baltimore, MD 21230
The American Action Fund provides braille versions of the Goosebumps and Baby-Sitters Club books at no charge to children who are visually impaired. After registering your child you will receive a new title in one of these series every month.
American Printing House for the Blind PO Box 6085 1839 Frankfurt Avenue Louisville, KY 40206-0085 1-800-223-1839
APH sells its own collection of large print and braille books with raised illustrations. Unlike other books available from sources on this list, these APH books are especially designed for children who are visually impaired and they are fairly expensive
(ranging from $15.25 to $51.50).
National Braille Press (Children's Book of the Month Club) 88 St. Stephen Street Boston, MA 02115 1-800-548-7323
National Braille Press has a Children’s Book of the Month Club with very reasonably priced print children’s books. The books are bound with alternating clear plastic braille pages. A flyer announcing a particular month’s selection is sent out and you then have the option of ordering it. Some recent selections included Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer. NBP also sells Braille versions of the Harry Potter Series. Call their toll-free number for a catalog or visit their website.
Seedlings Braille Books for Children P.O. Box 51924 Livonia, MI 48151-5924 1-800-777-8552
Seedlings also offers reasonably priced braille books for children of all ages. Their print picture books for young children are adapted with clear adhesive sheets of braille while their print and braille books for beginning readers are in braille (no pictures) with print words matched line for line. Seedlings also offers numerous titles in children’s fiction, non-fiction and poetry for independent readers. You can visit their website or order the current catalog by calling the above phone number.
The Braille Institute of America (Braille Special Collection Reading Program) 741 North Vermont Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90029 1-800-BRAILLE
The Braille Institute’s Braille Special Collection Reading Program offers a selection of children’s book titles free of charge a few times each year. The books are entirely in braille. You can put your name on the Institute’s mailing list by contacting them at the above phone number. Due to the recent popularity of this service, there is now a limit to the number of books that can be ordered at each mailing.
Xavier Society for the Blind (A Funny Alphabet Book) 154 East 23rd Street New York, NY 10010-4595 (212) 473-7800
Numerous families of children who are visually impaired have ordered a copy of The Funny Alphabet Book from the Xavier Society for the Blind. This is a large book about the letters of the alphabet (both in print and braille) with tactile illustrations. The books are made by the New York State Columbiettes and given free of charge to any child with a visual impairment.