Braille Monitor                          August/September 2019

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Braille Carnival: A Swimming Success

by Julie Deden

Debbie Kent Stein and Ann Cunningham sign copies of Pedro and the Octopus at the Braille CarnivalFrom the Editor: Julie Deden is the director of the Colorado Center for the Blind, but she also serves as the vice president of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults. Taking assignments, as all board members do, Julie volunteered to chair the Century Celebration Carnival. Here is her report:

Schools of Braille enthusiasts swirled through the room for the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults Century Celebration Carnival on Tuesday, July 9. Hundreds of kids and adults were there to celebrate one hundred years of innovation in the areas of Braille and tactile literacy by the Action Fund.

At the center of it all was the Action Fund’s latest innovative product, Pedro and the Octopus, a beautifully written and illustrated tactile print and Braille book. Author Debra Kent (known to us as Debbie Stein) and tactile illustrator Ann Cunningham were on hand to pass out the books and sign them. The first one hundred families received a free copy.

Participants played Braille relay games, tried their hand at drawing, and sniffed out all kinds of scents. They enjoyed popcorn and lemonade and were given the brand new 2020 calendar by Dr. and Mrs. Maurer.   

Sienna and daughter, Mercedes, smile for the camera while enjoying the Braille Carnival.Not surprisingly, the theme of the carnival was sea creatures. Austin Riccobono (the son of our President and First Lady) was there talking about all kinds of sea creatures. He showed off tactile replicas of many.

When the American Action Fund began its work as the American Brotherhood for the Blind in 1919, Braille itself had been around for less than one hundred years. At that time all Braille was produced by hand, so its availability was limited. The Action Fund began with the simple goal of making Braille materials available to blind adults and children. So our celebration was not just about the past one hundred years, but about the ocean of possible innovation that the next one hundred years will mean for the blind, and the American Action Fund will be sailing with a brisk tailwind.

We want to thank the National Association of Blind Students for all their work. Thank you also to the entire board of the Action Fund. All of us are ready for another century of service.

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