Image of the It's Your Story Competition Logo. The background is white and features blue silhouettes of a girl, a bird, a butterfly and stars walking on an undulated surface. Below them the logo reads It's your story competition. Below them are logos for Through Scarlett's Eyes and Access2books.

It’s Your Story Competition

About Wiritng, bookmaking, Braille, Children's Books, Competitions, Education and Training, Giant print and Braille, Picture Books, Publishing

A few weeks ago we wrote telling you about the It’s Your Story Competition on our Facebook Page. Now, all the details have been finalised. Check them out on the link above.

It is time for you budding creative writers who are readers and contributors to Through Scarlett’s Eyes website to whip out your pens and tap away on your keyboards and let your imaginations run wild. Do what you do best – tell stories.

Write an accessible children’s picture storybook.

Parents and guardians you are welcome to help your child or children to write their story. As long as the story is:

  1. funny
  2. up to about 400 words
  3. includes your child in the story
  4. supply a front cover design: it should illustrate the main characters and the story line.

That’s simple, right? Then get writing!

There are three main categories. These are:

  1. 0 – 6 years
  2. 7- 12 years and
  3. 12 – 17 years.

Each category has prizes donated by either VICTA or John Lewis [Milton Keynes] and Access2books. You can  check out the specifics on the It’s Your Story Competition page.

An overall winner will be selected from the three pools and they will receive a copy of their story book published by Access2books.

The book will be in dual format; i.e., in giant print, and Braille with accessible illustrations.

A copy of the book will be sent over to the British Library in London as per custom. Everyone will be able to access their publication.

Four judges will be doing the judging. They are:

  1. Sue Hendra: an award winning children’s author and illustrator of books like Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell, Supertato, and many others.

    Image of Sue Hendra at the Imagine Children's Festival. She is pictured holding up a copy of Norman the Silly Shell With the Silly Shell in giant print and Braille.

    Sue Hendra, author and illustrator of books like Supertato, pictured at the Imagine Children’s Festival earlier this year. She is holding up a copy of one of her books Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell which she saw for the first time in Giant Print and Braille.

  2. Charlotte Mellor: an employee of VICTA and a representative of Through Scarlett’s Eyes.
  3. Tim O’Sullivan: the BAFTA Award winning Creative Director at Karrot animation will be on the panel. He is Series Director and Script Editor of CBeebies Sarah and Duck.
  4. Eileen Finch: she is a cofounder of Access2books and also a Director. She has published over 60 plus book titles in accessible format. 
    Picture of Eileen Finch, Sue Hendra and Mike O'Sullivan chatting at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre with the London skyline behind them.

    Sue Hendra chatting to Eileen Finch and Mike O’Sullivan [founders of Access2books] at thye Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

 The competition is now open to readers and contributors to Through Scarlett’s Eyes website. It will be closing on the 8th of January 2016.
The winners will be announced on the 31st of January 2016.
Check out the It’s Your Story Competition link for more details and how you can send in your entries. Good luck writers!
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Access2books Behind the Scenes in Pictures: Book transcription and Development

bookmaking, Children's Books

As promised last week, here is the first instalment of the behind the scenes, shots illustrating what happens in the book transcription and development department of Access2books.

This is where all the magic occurs and accessible books come together.

This is not a snapshot of the entire production process but a slice of one of the first stages of the development of our books, taking a mainstream book and transforming it into an alternative format that can be accessed by people who happen to be blind or have a visual impairment.

As you can see in the photo below, Elvira Naidoo, our illustrator extraordinaire is working on the front pages, or inner pages of the books and starting to transcribe the book, typing in the text of the narrative in 75 point print, what we normally refer to as giant print.

Picture of an over the shoulder shot of Elvira Naidoo designing the inner pages of the book Up and Down Written by Oliver Jeffers.

A photo of Elvira typing text onto the right hand side of the page of the document on screen leaving the left free for the adapted images from the book Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers

In the shot above, Elvira breaks the book down and the formatting begins. Here, she enters text on the left hand side of the document and leaves the right hand side blank because this is where the pictures and Braille picture descriptions will go at a later stage.

Picture of Elvira Naidoo studting a scanned page from the book up and down by Oliver Jeffers on screen.

Moment of contemplation and creative conceptualisation. What next? Elvira thinks, pondering how she should execute the next step in formatting this accessible book.

The picture above captures Elvira lost deep in thought thinking about how she is going to break down the scanned page on screen and adapt it to fit into our format.

There are no hard and fast rules in making accessible books. There are big and small challenges from start to beginning but this is what makes Elvira tick as her creative juices kick in and she always finds a way around every challenge she encounters.

Elvira peering into the screen lost in thought.

The toughest challenge is breaking the mainstream book down into an alternative book: it involves reformatting the book, breaking down the text and adapting the pictures to make them more accessible but remaining true to the spirit of the narrative in the process.

Only a storyteller like Elvira can explain how she does that.

Over the shadow shot of Elvira studying some scanned pages on the computer screen.

Above, Elvira looks at more scanned pages before she begins work on them to make them more accessible to readers who happen to have a visual impairment.

An overshot of Elvira working on making the penguin more visible on screen. She uses the magic wand in her hand to enhance the image.

Elvira using the magic wand in her hands to conjure up the magic that transforms an image and enhances it to make it more visible to someone who happens to be visually impaired and would have problems accessing the image in a normal book.

Picture of Elvira enhancing the image of the penguin on the computer screen using her magic wand.

Elvira has been making accessible books for about and a year and a half now. She has made a lot of books. She believes that she has made about twenty plus books but that is a conservative approximation.

Shot of Elvira distracted and looking away from the screen.

While she is working, Elvira enjoys copious cups of coffee and chatting to keep her creative juices flowing. Here she is reminiscing about the good old times and trying to remember how many books she has made but they all seem to be a blur in her mind’s eye because she has made so many she has lost count.

The truth is that she has truly lost count of the number of books of she has made. Chances are, if you are reading an Access2books giant print and Braille children’s book, it was Elvira who put that together.

One of the first book’s she worked on when she started was Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell by Sue Hendra. She has since worked on Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, Giraffes Can’t Dance, the entire Festival Time Series, Each Peach Pear Plum and many others on our website.

A close up shot of Elvira smiling with satisfaction at the screen.

Smile of satisfaction. We can tell who is winning here. She is in full flow and enjoying what she does best.

The smile above says it all. All’s well that ends well.