Bookbug Detective: Books for Visually Impaired Children

The Bookbug Detective is here to help you with any questions you have about books and reading for your little one. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a question to answer below. If you'd like some book recommendations or advice send the Bookbug Detective an email, or post it in the comments below!

 

My little girl has a visual impairment and, as you would imagine, it’s really difficult to find books that she can enjoy. Do you have any suggestions?

Thank you for writing in. As you know it’s really important to read to children with visual impairment as they’ll be able to get a lot from the sound of your voice. Have a look at our tips and advice here. It gives ideas on what type of books to choose and how to help your child feel involved in the process of reading them.

As you’ve found it can be very challenging to find books that blind or partially sighted children can appreciate and benefit from, but I’ve included a list below:

  • What Color Is the Wind? Anne Herbauts, translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick - a child asked this question of the author during a workshop and she turned it into this book. A sensory adventure with visual and tactile experiences on each page.
  • The Black Book of Colours by Menena Cottin - this lovely book invites you to use your senses to imagine what colours would look like if you couldn’t see. There is also accompanying written text and braille descriptions.
  • Dragons Don't Eat Ice-Cream by Sarah Puddle - this book tells the story of a young dragon who is desperate to try ice-cream but whose family won’t let him in case he puts out the fire in his tummy. Sarah Puddle launched Blossom Lane Books to sell her first accessible format children’s book, which is printed in 24pt large-print and Grade 1 uncontracted Braille.
  • Animals by DK Braille - a new publishing initiative for blind and partially sighted children or parents, published in consultation with and endorsed by the RNIB (Royal National Institute for Blind People). The books have high-contrast photos as well as tactile features that kids can feel with their fingers, such as cut-out shapes and embossed images, alongside Braille and large-size print.

In addition to these books, the The Tactile Picture Books Project at the University of Colorado creates 3D printed tactile picture books for children with visual impairments and studies the scientific and technical questions that arise. Current titles for children include Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Cat in the Hat.

If you haven’t already, it’s also worth checking out Living Paintings, which is a FREE library of tactile books with audio descriptions, bringing the visual world to life for blind and partially sighted people, as well as the Clear Vision Project which is a UK postal lending library of mainstream children's books with added Braille. Their books all have Braille (or Moon), print and pictures, making them suitable for visually impaired and sighted children and adults to share.

For more information about the RNIB's Library, check out their website: www.rniblibrary.com. And don't forget that many of Scotland's libraries have large-print or Braille books to lend out too.

And finally, we have plenty of sensory books included in our library of online book lists. You may want to check out our 9 Lovely Sensory Books, Textures, Sounds and Flaps, and Touchy Feely Books lists.

 

We are grateful to Emma Freedman Taylor for her recommendations and support with the list of books to share with blind and visually impaired children. Emma is a teacher at Giffnock Primary School.