amwriting, APH, books, children's books, creativity, interactive story ideas, picture books, Tactile Books

There’s Still Time . . .

Oval, the main character in It Takes All Sorts, a tactile book my husband and I created, went to the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky and quickly came back again. Oval’s trip was only a month from start to finish, cut short by the uptick in the Delta variant of Covid 19 which caused the 2021 Typhlo & Tactus Tactile Book Contest to be postponed.

But, on a positive note, the fact that the contest was delayed will allow more time for interested creators to get involved in making tactile books. They are much needed!

Picture books are beautiful creations for children with typical vision. Tactile picture books provide the opportunity for children with atypical vision, or no vision, to enjoy the art of picture books. Tactile book images provide textural art and design along with text.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

So, if you’re a book lover, a book creator, a word dabbler, a sensory artist, or a bit of all those descriptions, please enter the 2022 Typhlo & Tactus Contest!

This contest is international in scope and anyone who develops a book prototype can enter. The book doesn’t have to be an original tale, it can be a favorite story of yours that you adapt with tactile illustrations.

The general requirements for the book prototypes are that they have large type 16pt. or more, with interesting multi-sensory tactile elements that encourage manipulation and allow for interaction. Braille can be provided by your country’s sponsor of the contest.

Each of the 23 countries that participate has its own sponsor. In the United States, its APH or American Printing House for the Blind. The winning entries of the sponsoring country go on to the international competition. If you’d like to view some of the past winning entries check out this link. and for a list of the specific requirements for entries check out this link.

I hope you enter!

APH, characters, Charlotte Cushman, children's books, creativity, interactive story ideas, Jon Klassen, Mac Barnett, Paths to Literacy, picture books, Tactile Books, teaching, The Shape Trilogy, Typhlo & Tactus

Its All In The Touch

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

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.

Oval is the only oval in Shapeville and he wants to fit in.

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!