The little blue braille book

Debbie McCauley’s popular picture book ‘Motiti Blue and the Oil Spill’ will soon be available in braille.

Bay of Plenty children with sight problems will soon be able to read a book created in their own backyard.

Tauranga librarian Debbie McCauley’s book ‘Motiti Blue and the Oil Spill’ has been picked up by the Blind Foundation, which is going to produce the story in braille, large print, and e-text.

This means it will be accessible to those who are blind, deaf-blind, or low-vision through the Blind Foundation’s library service.

The book tells the story of a little blue penguin caught by the Rena disaster oil spill. Motiti Blue was rescued and treated at the Te Maunga Oiled Wildlife Response Centre, before being released back into the wild.

The Blind Foundation Accessible Formats Facilitator Amanda Grayson explains how images are conveyed from picture books.

“For full braille book,where the image or diagram is crucial to the understanding of the text, the producer will either verbalise the image using ‘transcriber’s notes’, or will create tactile diagrams.”

For large print books for those with low-vision, illustrations are often adapted.

“For example, diagrams may require larger text labels and complex tables may need dividing into several parts. If the image is not crucial to the understanding of the text, the producer may simply choose to leave it out, and in this case there will be a transcriber’s note to indicate the omission.”

Debbie’s bilingual children’s picture book won the Best Non-Fiction category in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the 2015 LIANZA Elsie Locke Nonfiction Book Award, and was included on the Storylines’ list of Books for Christmas Giving 2015.