As a teacher for Pre-K students who are visually impaired/blind, I often adapt picture or board books for my students by adding tactile features to a published book. I modify many materials based on my students abilities and particular interests. It’s always a creative challenge.
And when I came across an article by Charlotte Cushman about the Typhlo and Tactus contest, which encourages those who are interested in creating tactile books to enter their contest, I thought I’d give it a shot. If you’re interested in checking out her article you can find it at http://www.pathstoliteracy.org.
I knew right off the bat that I wanted to create a book about shapes. Few of the shape books presently in the picture book market have story lines that my students have engaged with. The shape trilogy by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen are exceptions. The other thing I knew was that an oval was going to be the main character in my story. Many of my students struggle with shape identification, whether its visual or tactile, but somehow they consistently know oval. That never fails to surprise me.
As a children’s book writer, creating the text of the story and visualizing what I wanted the tactile images, who were the story’s characters, to convey came a whole bunch easier than the making of the characters and their interactive tactile images. But thanks to some brainstorming and ingenuity from my husband, who builds fine scale models of aircraft and vehicles for a hobby, my ideas for manipulative images became a reality.
Together we made each character. John engineered their interactive elements, including a spinner and a seesaw!
After a lot of time and effort, It Takes All Sorts is ready to be sent off.
Wish us luck!