Last month, Washington Talking Book & Braille Library’s Youth Services Librarian Erin Groth took a trip to Bellevue for a very special presentation at Cherry Crest Elementary. Around 100 second graders and their teachers enjoyed learning about braille, tactile illustrations, and the library. Not only did everyone get to explore some of our materials — and marvel at the four (!) volumes of braille which make up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — but they also got to learn about their fellow students, kids just like them around Washington state, who are patrons of our library.
The reason for this hands-on information session? The second graders of Cherry Crest Elementary were in search of a service project, and their teachers reached out to WTBBL with a great idea: what if these students could give to children with visual impairments around our state by creating tactile illustrations? So the plan was made. Using puffy paint, the busy second graders created coloring pages for WTBBL patrons participating in the 2019 Summer Reading Program.
This year’s theme is “A Universe of Stories,” and Cherry Crest kids were excited to make pages of planets, aliens, and rocket ships. These coloring pages will be sent out to children weekly as part of dynamic STEAM-centered activity packets included in the by-mail program.
The students had so much fun making tactile art and learning about other ways of enjoying books, that WTBBL and Cherry Crest have made a plan to do something similar next year! Special thanks to Elma Nahm and Erin Miller, who worked with Erin Groth to set up the collaboration.
WTBBL’s Summer Reading Program is still open for registration until June 19, so any interested youth patrons are encouraged to sign up if they haven’t yet done so. Along with the weekly activity packets, WTBBL also holds special events around the state including a “Stuck on an Alien Spaceship” themed escape room for teens and tweens (hosted at the Spokane Public Library); a visit to the University of Washington Planetarium for future astronomers with visual impairments; a multisensory nature walk in Yakima; and our very own Kick-Off Party at WTBBL on Saturday, June 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. featuring a NASA Solar System Ambassador. Though only WTBBL patrons are eligible to sign up for the by-mail program, all are welcome at the events. If you would like more information, please contact Youth Librarian Erin Groth at email@example.com or visit the WTBBL Youth Services page at www.wtbbl.org/youth.aspx