A close-up photo of the braille overlay on our book, Feel Your Feelings. You can see the dots on the sticker overlay for both the words and the graphic of the mad emoji.
The braille and tactile graphic prototype of Feel Your Feelings. If you look closely, you can see the dots on the sticker overlays. The words have been translated into braille, and there is a tactile overlay on the emoji. It’s fun to close your eyes and picture the image in your mind.

Feel Your Feelings, the braille edition

Including tactile graphics

The introductory poem with a braille overlay.
Here is the opening poem of Feel Your Feelings. Notice the dots of the braille overlay. Can you figure out the translation for “you”?

Here is a sneak peek at Feel Your Feelings, the braille edition. Not only is the book in braille but it is also filled with tactile graphics, so you can literally feel your feelings!

Obviously, this book is a valuable tool for blind and visually impaired people, but the tactile graphics have also been working with people who have sensory disorders, which is common among people with autism. A tactile graphic is an image created out of raised lines and surface textures that can be read by touch.

Braille is not considered a language, but it is a code that needs to be translated by a professional. Braille has an interesting history. In part, it originated as a type of “night writing”.

By the way, we are also working on an audio/video version, which will make this book accessible to everyone. And, my other books have been translated into Spanish, Korean and Chinese.  

I’d like to thank Clovernook the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. (Pictures below.) It is the largest braille printing facility in the United States and probably the world. They have lots of programs, including making signs for museums, and a grant to fund translations of books like Feel Your Feelings, that help educate children. And Samuel Foulkes, their Director of Braille Production & Accessible Innovation, was great at walking me through the process. In the picture below of all the glad faces, you can see the different printing options. We chose to do a sticker overlay on the actual book.  

Examples of tactile graphic printing techniques
Examples of tactile graphic printing techniques. From left to right: two types of embossing, a sticker overlay (on a white piece of paper), a plastic insert, and a type of thermal ink that turns into a raised and velvety texture.
A close-up photo of the braille overlay on our book, Feel Your Feelings. You can see the dots on the sticker overlay for both the words and the graphic of the glad emoji.
Here is what the tactile graphic looks like in the final book.

I’d like to also thank Fred Neurohr (from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Northside Education Committee), who volunteers at Clovernook’s vision center, for connecting me and giving me a grand tour of the facility. Below you can see some pictures of the printing facility, and a fun game like ping-pong for the blind. 

Showdown game for the blind and visually impaired
This game is called Showdown. It is similar to ping-pong except the ball is rolled across the table. Inside the ball is a rattle. So, rather than use your eyes, you use your ears to play the game. Sighted people can wear a blindfold. It’s surprisingly easy to track the ball, but I felt disoriented not being able to see my own body move around the table. The table was built by MayWeHelp.org

At this stage, the book is a prototype, but, as always, I am super optimistic about its potential. We are hoping that our book will be part of the upcoming summer workshops and the Braille Challenge. The Braille Institute sponsors an annual event in which over 1,400 students from the U.S. and Canada, who are visually impaired, compete to demonstrate their braille skills in areas like comprehension, proofreading, and spelling. Winners in each age group walk away with a monetary prize and bragging rights.

And, I think we have accidentally stumbled into a great tool for children with sensory integration disorders, like autism. There are actually tactile stores that specialize in helping kids with developmental differences and different learning styles. The stores are filled with fun stuff that you can touch and feel.   

I’m excited to hear what uses you think we could use this book for. Please leave a comment or send us a message.

Braille printing press
A braille printing press. The emboss plates in the other picture are put into this press, and then pressed/stamped into the paper. This is really old-school technology, so to speak.
A bin of old braille emboss plates
Every printed page has to be embossed using these metal plates. The plate is stamped into the paper to create the relief texture of braille.
Scott Stoll

Scott Stoll

My claim to fame is that I rode a bicycle around the world and wrote some books. More about me.

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