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 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.

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!

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12x12, Balzer+Bray, children's books, Harper Collins Imprint, Mac Barnett, Margaret Wise Brown, picture book author, picture book illustrators, Sarah Jacoby

The Wisdom of Picture Books

As a member of the 12×12 challenge I’ve been enjoying the webinars offered to members. One of them was recently given by the picture book author Mac Barnett. During the webinar he mentioned many of his picture books most of which I’d read, but one I hadn’t. That book was The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated in beautiful watercolors by Sarah Jacoby and published by Balzer +Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins.

From the title I guessed it was a safe bet that the book would have some important things to say about the person it was written about, but I didn’t expect it to hold such valuable perspectives about books for children, books in general, life in its totality, beauty, and truth. And so I wanted to share a few images with you and recommend that you to go and get this book and when you do please let me know if you think its important too.

After getting paid for her first book Margaret Wise Brown bought an entire cartful of flowers. Then she decorated her house and threw a party.
Isn’t that lovely!

The book is full of facts. Like the fact that Margaret Wise Brown wrote 100 books. And that a number of them were not deemed appropriate for children, by Anne Carroll Moore, the children’s librarian for the New York Public Library, at the time.

The classic picture book Goodnight Moon was one of them! I know. Crazy right? That’s what I thought too.

And on one particular occasion Ms. Wise Brown, herself, was not allowed entrance into the New York Public Library!

You’re going to love what she and her editor did when that happened. I know I did.

That’s Margaret and Ursula

She and her editor Ursula Nordstrom sat in the middle of the stone staircase of the NY Public Library and had their own tea party. People going in had to go around them. Good for her! And Ursula!

It’d be my guess that, Patience and Fortitude ,the two lions that sit on either side of the staircase to the library were on Margaret and Ursula’s side too.

There are many more important things in this picture book but I don’t want to give any more of them away. I think you’ll enjoy discovering them on your own.

Happy Reading!