Programs & Services
Newsletter - July 2019
In This Issue
- Message from the President (Natalie Martiniello, BLC President)
- News from the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA)
- Celebrating National AccessAbility Week in Canada!
- Free Braille Books Looking for a New Home!
- The Value Of Foundational Braille Instruction (Betty Nobel)
- Social Media Updates
Message from the President
By Natalie Martiniello, BLC President
I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying the long-awaited sunshine, spending time with family and friends, making fabulous new memories, and also finding some time to enjoy a great summer read or two in the midst of it all!
BLC has compiled this short summer issue of our newsletter to give you some updates about what we are up to and other braille-related news that may interest you. We on the BLC board are excited to come back full-swing in September with more braille-related gems to share, including some new project announcements.
Speaking of summer reading - Among the pages of this issue you will find a list of donated braille books we have received from members and friends. If you are interested in receiving any of these titles, we invite you to contact us to learn more. We would like to thank all of you who have generously offered to donate your unused braille books. Do you have any old braille books lying around? Be sure to contact us and we are always happy to advertise the titles in future issues!
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have provided your valuable feedback and comments on how to improve museum accessibility, with a focus on braille and tactile features. You can look forward to the BLC submission and more updates on this initiative in our next issue.
In the meantime, remember that you can always contact us at email@example.com and learn more about us at http://www.brailleliteracycanada.ca.
Until next time! Yours truly,
President, Braille Literacy Canada
News from the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA)
CELA website update offers more choice in braille titles
In March 2019 CELA launched a new website which brings together the CELA collection with the Bookshare collection in a single, mobile-friendly website. While updates to the website continue, braille readers now have access to a far wider selection of braille titles all in one place.
At the time of writing, Bookshare offers about 600,000 titles to Canadians and they are all available in braille, either electronic braille, or embossed and mailed to readers. The collection includes award winners, popular authors and series, a comprehensive collection of books for kids and teens, non-fiction and some academic titles.
You might notice some differences between braille in the CELA collection and braille from Bookshare. Bookshare generates braille files automatically using Liblouis, an open source braille transcription software. This process allows braille to be produced immediately, although there may be formatting errors. (CELA's braille collection continues to rely on the expertise of transcribers.)
In order to access Bookshare titles, CELA patrons who have joined after 2014, and did not sign up for an individual Bookshare account, must submit a proof of disability form which can be accessed online at celalibrary.ca. Educators are also able to access Bookshare materials on behalf of their students.
Award winning titles available in accessible formats
CELA works with a number of Canadian literary awards programs to ensure that selected titles are available in a variety of formats for people with print disabilities. Some recent award winners available in braille include:
- By chance alone: a remarkable true story of courage and survival at Auschwitz by Max Eisen
- All we leave behind: a reporter's journey into the lives of others by Carol Off
- Women talking by Miriam Toews
- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
More awards winners are listed at <celalibrary.ca/awards>. CELA patrons can order copies by logging into the website or calling 1-855-655-2273. Not a CELA member? Register online at <celalibrary.ca>.
Celebrating National AccessAbility Week in Canada!
National AccessAbility Week takes place every year throughout Canada starting on the last Sunday each May. It is an opportunity to promote inclusion and accessibility across Canadian communities and to acknowledge the efforts of Canadians with and without disabilities who advocate to break down barriers and for the equal participation of all Canadians in every aspect of society.
Central to equality, of course, is literacy, and Braille Literacy Canada commemorated National Accessibility Week by posting reflections from fellow board members and friends. Here is one powerful reflection from Dwila Nixon (BLC board member).
Follow our Facebook page to learn more about the power of literacy to unlock all doors!
"The single biggest predictor of high academic achievement is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books." ~ Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library.
There is nothing in this quote that says the books must be print books. This statement is of equal importance for adult parents who are blind and read braille books to their sighted children, and for adults who are sighted who read braille books to their children who are blind.
Did you know that access to braille as a tool for literacy for individuals who are blind is equal to print for individuals who are sighted? This is a fundamental human right.
Can you imagine going into a hotel, a business, or a public institution like a library and not be able to read the signage? This is a very real scenario for individuals who are blind when braille signage is not available. Even worse, when braille is installed, it often contains errors. I was once in a hotel that had braille signage (cheer!), but it had inadvertently been embossed backwards (ugh!).
What would you think if you saw print signage that was PRINTED backwards or that contained errors? What if the elevator you were riding in had print that was partly in English and partly in another language? This is how the braille was presented in an elevator that I took up to my hotel room in a major centre. How would you find your way? Would you consider yourself independent? Would others consider YOU independent?
~ Dwila Nixon, TVI and Director (BLC board)
Free Braille Books Looking for a New Home!
During the last few weeks BLC has received requests to find new homes for a wide variety of braille books. We now have several boxes of books that are free for the asking. Some were donated because their owners no longer needed or wanted them and others have been donated by provincial resource centres updating their materials to UEB. Unless otherwise specified, all of the books in the list below are in contracted pre-UEB braille.
If you would like to adopt any of these books please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From RNIB in the UK
- Peter James Dead like You
- Peter James Dead Man's Footsteps
- Peter James Not Dead Yet
- Peter James Dead Man's Time
- Peter James Dead Simple
- Peter James Looking Good Dead
- Peter James Not Dead Enough
- Peter James Dead Tomorrow
- Peter James Dead Man's Grip
From the American Printing House for the Blind (quality binding)
- New Testament (Revised Standard Version)
- Old Testament (New King James Version)
Nancy Drew -- Carolyn Keene
- Mystery At Moorsea Manor 150
- Whispers in the Fog 153
- Mystery By Moonlight 167
- Music Festival Mystery 157
- Mystery on Maui 143
- Mystery in Tornado Alley 155
- The Mystery of the Mother Wolf 164
- The Wild Cat Crime 141
- The Missing Horse Mystery 145
- The Mistletoe Mystery 169
- The Secret of Candlelight Inn 139
- The Bike Tour Mystery 168
- The Secret of the Fiery Chamber 159
- The Secret in the Stars 166
The Hardy Boys -- Franklin W. Dixon
- Past and Present Danger 166
- Training for Trouble 169
A Series of Unfortunate Events -- Lemony Snicket
- The Wide Window Book the Third
- The Carnivorous Carnival Book the Ninth
- Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus
- Junie B. Jones and That Meanie Jim's Birthday
- Junie B. First Grader Boss of Lunch
- Junie B. Jones Is Almost a Flower Girl
- Junie B. Jones is Captain in Field Day
- Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business
- Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying
- Junie B. Jones and the Lucky Blucky Fruitcake
- Junie B. Jones First Grader Cheater Pants
- Junie B. First Grader One-Man Band
Magic Treehouse -- Mary Pope Osborne
- High Tide in Hawaii #28
- Viking Ships at Sunrise 15
- Twister on Tuesday #23
Winnie the Pooh -- A. A. Milne
- The House at Pooh Corner
- Winnie the Pooh's Teatime Cookbook
Babysitters Club -- Ann M. Martin
- Mary Anne's Revenge by Ann M. Martin
- Stacey McGill ... Matchmaker?
- Welcome home, Mary Anne
- Stacey's Movie
- Stacey's Problem
- Stacey and the Boyfriend
- Stacey vs. Claudia
- Walt Disney's Cinderella
- Walt Disney's 101 Dalmatians
- The Witches
- Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes by Josie Fison and Felicity Dahl
- Guardians of GA'HOOLE -- The Capture by Kathryn Lasky
- Hummingbird Nest A Journal of Poems (Ages 6 to 9) by Kristine O'Connell George
- It's Summer! Celebrate the Seasons by Linda Glaser
- The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss
- No Survivors by R. L. Stine
- Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: A Cookery Book with a Story by P. L. Travers
- Dragon Slayers' Academy #1 (The New Kid at School) by Kate McMullan
- The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
- Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
- Do You Want Fries With That? by Martyn Godfrey
- Earwitness: A Jessica March Mystery by Mary Ann Scott
- Horrible Harry and the Christmas Surprise by Suzy Kline
- Dad, Jackie and Me by Myron Uhlberg
- Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
- Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat by C. Rylant
- The 100-year-old Secret by Tracy Barrett
- The Unwilling Umpire by Ron Roy
- Stuart Little by E. B. White
- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
- The Wind in the Willows by Martin Woodside
- The Swiss Family Robinson by Chris Tait
- The True story of Pocahontas by Lucille Penner
- The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake
- Two Tickets to Freedom: The True Story of Ellen and William Craft, Fugitive Slaves by Florence B. Freedman
- The Tale of Despereaux by K. DiCamillo
- Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
- The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Allan Zola Kronzek
The Value Of Foundational Braille Instruction
By Betty Nobel
I have been a braille user since age five. Braille has been such an important part of my life for daily activities, work, school and leisure. In 2015, I began working with children after a very rewarding career teaching adults. At first, despite my many years of experience teaching, I approached this work with some trepidation. What I discovered was that my love of teaching overrode any qualms I had about relating to kids.
I worked with children of all ages and abilities for four years. This was a very rewarding experience for me. I learnt a great deal about myself, but most of all, I gained so much from helping children on a daily basis by working with them, playing with them, and laughing and crying with them. I had the privilege of advising some very wonderful Educational Assistants and Learning Support Teachers. But the best part of this job was seeing the progress in my students.
You may be wondering what this has to do with foundational braille. I worked with students who were non-verbal for whom tactile stimulation was very important. Despite scepticism from some team members, I regularly exposed their fingers to braille and other tactile information. I believe that because these children often have few ways to communicate their feelings and needs, having their hands on braille and other textures helped them make a connection with me. The children seemed to enjoy the activities as well. This was also true for children with limited cognitive ability who did communicate verbally.
I truly believe that exposure to braille helps children understand and participate in literacy activities. Some children may also be able to learn to recognize words and numbers and may, at some point, identify numbers on an elevator or simple labels on familiar objects.
Braille is not just a useful tool for academic students. It is a powerful gift for students with limited access to their world.
Social Media Updates
Introducing a new podcast all about braille things, coming straight to you from BANA: http://www.brailleauthority.org/pressreleases/pr-2019-06.html?fbclid=IwAR13z0tzgxKZixpm5hi3VQFSqLl0TMHRhlmE7kJClfhK1ZdzK7FXJX6vKcE
Join the CNIB Foundation as they launch their 2019 Braille nationwide conference - Connecting the Dots! https://cnib.ca/en/programs-and-services/work/career-and-employment/connecting-dots-conference-2019
Have you heard of the Book Angel Program at Seedlings? Children ages 0-21 in the U.S. and Canada who have vision loss are eligible for 3 FREE braille books each year from Seedlings! List 4 books from our online catalog and we will send 3 of the choices (as time and materials allow). http://seedlings.org/bkangel2009.php?fbclid=IwAR1YYKPnydYRzEFOtxHf4nP1_GoMqNSBD46WcQU5lgy57dCBdksYvFL-NwQ
Braille in fashion! Canadian entrepreneurs are moving fashion forward, creating new products and clothing for a largely untapped market. Alexa Jovanovic, a graduate of Ryerson University Faculty of Communication and Design, turned her love of fashion and beadwork into an innovative idea, creating "Braille in Fashion," a fashion line for the blind. https://www.ctvnews.ca/lifestyle/canadians-disrupt-fashion-industry-with-clothing-for-people-with-disabilities-1.4437669?fbclid=IwAR1141sVn_KooRSIhAn1HEQGda-SuZdIR2RtlQW_CIVc8nuFa8EgBeavRwA
Get ideas for writing prompts to help students maintain braille skills this summer! http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/strategies/writing-prompts-summer-journals?fbclid=IwAR0So9v-rIRNcYgse7HZKYmfknq62Q4THd3amiucZCXdW3tUGjTRwiZeqeQ
Looking for ways to help students maintain braille skills over the summer? Parent and TVI Sandy Kenrick shares some great ideas -from Paths to Literacy! http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/blog/top-10-fun-and-motivating-ways-include-braille-your-summer?fbclid=IwAR3v0lbIFLXK5z-jhKWG271HoRRBS4UcshMAoPeKYsHFWXwHD-GQVZ0j3Z0
Embracing braille is a weekly discussion group offered through Hadley - Learn more here: https://hadley.edu/discussions/Braille.asp?fbclid=IwAR0yaNk41oqTR61SHr_JlnJYS882UR1A_b7aiFtUt3bHGnzWMcFz38cZKOM
The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children has published a media release to mark the May 2019 launch of its free, online braille mathematics training program using Unified English Braille! To learn more, go to https://uebonline.org/?fbclid=IwAR0E_Y86P-AAT1j25FMK_5wvfuUTImD5dYF9n42B0m4euQtJjAE8xEVMR9Y