Updated: Jan 17, 2021
Click here to check out the youtube video of the Book Fair!
On Saturday, November 17, the CNIB Community Hub at Yonge and St. Clair in Toronto held their first-ever book fair for children who are blind or who have low vision and their families. I was one of five authors invited to do a reading and lead a craft activity for the children.
As my book, Jonathan's Number Party, is geared to young children, much of its appeal lies in my illustrations. How to make the reading and the activity fun, interactive and appealing for children and adults who have low vision, or who cannot see at all? I wanted everyone in this audience to feel included in the story. I believe every person matters, and every interaction is an opportunity to open up new possibilities.
I came up with the idea of a sound interactive poster, having read about a company called Novalia that has created printed touch posters. Basically, you can program sounds into a poster, so that it plays when you touch it. I could hardly wait to try it!
I created short signature tunes for each character in the story. My friend Elaine recorded my tunes on a keyboard, and then my friend Erika programmed the recordings into the poster!
We made tactile bookmarks, cutting and gluing feathers, pompoms, pipe cleaners, raised foam and patterned paper so that the numbers associated with each character could be felt by the children, We and added Braille stickers with the name and number of each character on the back of each bookmark.
On the big day, my friend Michelle assisted with the sound-touch poster, so that while I read, the children could hear the party song associated with each character. We also used the bookmarks to help the children interact with the story. The highlight for me was when one little boy, who hadn't been able to sit still for previous readings, came right up to touch the poster, so he could see for himself what he was hearing!
It really felt like a party, as you can see in the YouTube video!
Mission accomplished! I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to share in an awesome, first-of-its-kind afternoon with friends in support of the CNIB!