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!
Advertisements
Image of Eileen Finch and Chrissy standing side by side and holding up a copy of Up and Down written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, and a funding application Chrissy is about to send out.

30 Books to Give Away in Birmingham

Access2books, Children's Books, Picture Books

I have been granted funding from the Birmingham Bodenham Trust to distribute 30 books in Birmingham.

Picture of the front cover of Lost and Found written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. The picture shows a boy and a penguin on a small boat. The boy is wearing a striped top and hat, and holding a staff in his right hand and a suitcase in his left.

The funding is to benefit children who need accessible stories.

The books are beautiful popular children’s stories in dual format in 75 point print with Braille and improved illustrations.

Interior pages of A Squash and Squeeze. The page on the left hand has text which reads, "And flapped round the room knocking over the jug". In the footer is a Braille text of that sentence. On the opposite page is a picture of a white hen flying over the shelf and a spotted jug falling over the edge. In the footer of the text is Braille picture description of the picture.

An example of the interior pages of A Squash and a Squeeze written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The pages illustrate the formatting: text appears on the left hand page and Braille in the footer; specially enhanced pictures are located on the right hand side with picture descriptions in Braille in the footer to make the books accessible to as many people as possible.

We work to distribute these books as far as possible to children and adults who need these formats to read or share with their disabled or non-disabled friends and families.

In return for some books, I need feedback on the benefits they bring to you or how we might improve them.

We would also ask you to show them to your local libraries and children’s settings as we want to influence mainstream provision so you can get more titles free of charge.

Image of a book cover showing a white cat sitting in a box. Only the head and the tail are visible. The box has the text my cat likes to hide in boxes written on its side. Underneath the the box is green rectangle which reads Eve Sutton and Lynley Dodd. There is another blue rectangle below it with the words Giant Print and Braille written in white.

If you live in Birmingham, and would like to have the books in your home library, and talk to me about the experience of their use, please email me at efinch@access2books.org.

Best wishes,

Eileen

Image of a book cover showing a white cat sitting in a box. Only the head and the tail are visible. The box has the text my cat likes to hide in boxes written on its side. Underneath the the box is green rectangle which reads Eve Sutton and Lynley Dodd. There is another blue rectangle below it with the words Giant Print and Braille written in white.

My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes

Children's Books, Giant print and Braille, Picture Books, Publishing

Access2books are publishing the first giant print and Braille version of the classic children’s book My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes written by Eve Sutton and illustrated by Lynley Dodd.

The book was published by Puffin Books – a part of the Penguin Group.

The accessible version of the book, published by Access2books in giant print [75 point] and Braille plus specially adapted pictures, is complete.

It will be ready to be ordered within the next week or two. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for more information.

Alternatively, you can check our homepage and the online catalog.

My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes is going to be one of the first releases for the autumn period.

All the pictures have been modified to make them more accessible to visually impaired people.

It is now waiting to be quality checked and a Braille check done to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

The book was first published in 1974. It is a popular book in New Zealand and it has also found a way into the hearts of people in Canada and the UK.

The author and illustrator are cousins who are both from New Zealand. However, Sutton was originally born in England and moved to New Zealand as an adult.

This book was their one and only collaboration. They subsequently went on to carve solo careers as successful writers.

The image below is an example of the inner pages of the accessible version of My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes.

The texh which is 75 point print is covered by plenty of white space to make it accessible and easy to see. The pictures have a page dedicated to them.

The Braille of the text and picture descriptions appear in the footer of both pages. Therefore, the book can be enjoyed by many people.

Image of the inner pages of My Cat Likes to hide in Boxes. The text in the centre of the left hand page reads,

According to Dodd [New Zealand’s best known author and author of the Hairy Maclary series], My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes is based on a true story.

It is the story of the Dodd’s family cat that used to love hiding in boxes, cupboards, supermarket bags and the likes.

The book is catchy. It uses poetic devices. It uses rhyming couplets and run on lines to describe cats from different countries. For example:

The cat from France

likes to sing and dance.

The rhyming couplets build up as the narrative develops and describes cats from another country. With each subsequent description, the recurring refrain, “But MY cat likes to hide in boxes” is repeated at the end of each.

For example:

The cat from France

likes to sing and dance.

The cat from Spain

Flew in an aeroplane.

But MY cat likes to hide in boxes

The sentences are very simple which makes them easy to recite and remember. The musicality of the rhyming couplets aid in making the story memorable.

It is in essence a fun rhyming story. This makes it a great read for children who are learning to read.

Who doesn’t like a story about cats doing exotic and strange things? This is a story that is great for sharing between children and elder family members.

It is no surprise it first won a prize in 1975. Its longevity illustrates its staying power and how it continues to be be influential through different generations.

Children will love to take part in this fun rhyming story which can be set to music because of its musicality.

Place your order for Access2books’ accessible version of My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes and put a smile on someone’s face.

Image of the front cover of the book, Supertato, written by Sue Hendra featuring a potato with a mask over his eyes and a brown belt around his waist with the letter S and a red cape.

Access2books publishing Sue Hendra’s Supertato

Children's Books, Publishing

Spring was kind to Access2books this year. Shortly before the Easter Break, Access2books announced HarperCollins Publishers  granted them permission to publish Lost and Found and Up and Down written and illustrated by the award winning talent that is Oliver Jeffers. Now, Simon and Schuster Publishers UK have granted Access2books permission to publish a giant print [75 point] and Braille, accessible version of Supertato written and illustrated by the brilliant Sue Hendra.

From left to right, Sue Hendra, the author of Supertato and Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell, chatting to the founders of Access2Books Eileen Finch in the centre and Mike O'Sullivan on the right.

From left to right, Sue Hendra, the author of Supertato and Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell, chatting to the founders of Access2Books – Eileen Finch, in the centre, and Mike O’Sullivan on the right.

Publishing a children’s book – Supertato

Access2books is proud to reproduce an accessible version of Supertato. It will be the second book from Sue Hendra’s impressive list of books that they are producing as an alternative format [accessible book].

They have already produced a giant print and Braille version of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell as illustrated in the picture below with Hendra holding a copy of the book at the Imagine Festival held at the Southbank Centre in London.

Author of Norman the Slug With His Silly Shell. holding up an alternative format of the book in Giant Print and Braille, at the Inclusive Minds Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

Author of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell, holding up an alternative format of the book in Giant Print and Braille, at the Inclusive Minds Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

Publishing Children’s Books

Access2books specialise in publishing children’s books and getting the opportunity to publish books like Supertato and Norman The Slug With The Silly Shell is a fabulous opportunity to add to their growing list of impressive titles. 

All of the alternative format children’s books published by Access2books’are individually handmade in-house with tender loving care. That means they can be adapted to suit an order depending on the requirements of the customer.

For example, if you wanted the books with 48 point print without Braille, that can be done.

Picture of Sue Hendra stepping up onto the podium to deliver her reading of  Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre.

Sue Hendra gearing up to entertain and blow away the audience with her reading of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell.

Publishing Stunning Children’s Books

This is what makes the books so special. And that is not all. They are stunning and they put a smile on the faces of those that see them for the first time because they stand out and grab your attention.

Not even Sue Hendra was immune to the surprise when she first stumbled upon Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell in giant print and Braille. The look of surprise on her face in the picture below says it all.

The look on Sue Hendra's face says it all when she stumbled upon the giant print and Braille version of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell.

The look on Sue Hendra’s face says it all when she stumbled upon the giant print and Braille version of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell. Forgive our cameraman for almost chopping her head off and the picture may not win the competition for great composition but it does capture the element of surprise that the books produced by Access2books elicit.

That look above speaks volumes. Forgive our cameraman for the shoddy camerawork. However, for all its faults, the photo captures a special moment in time and the impact the books have on individuals. 

Sue’s feedback provides more insight into what makes Access2books’ alternative formats so special.

“The Access2books team showed me popular picture books in Giant print and Braille versions. Enlarging text and adding Braille wasn’t all that was different about these books,” she said.

“It struck me that enlarging parts of the illustrations is a clever way to help tell the story for someone with a sight impairment.”

Sue Hendra with her daughter at the Imagine festival reading the giant print and Braille version of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell atThe Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London

Sue Hendra and her daughter, Wanda, captivated by the alternative format of Norman the Silly Slug With The Silly Shell for the first time at the Access2books’ stand

Sue Hendra – A Big Name In The Publishing Business

Sue Hendra graduated from the University of Brighton in 1994. She went on to work in the publishing industry as an illustrator of children’s books. Her skills were honed at Macmillan, Oxford University Press and Walker Books where she worked on about 70 children’s titles or more.

She is no longer working for the publishing companies: she is now a fully fledged author and illustrator of children’s books.

One of her first books, Counting in the Sea 1, 2 3! set the foundation for her publishing career.

She first made waves after the publication of Barry the Fish with Fingers in 2009. Since then, it has sold over 100 000 copies and established her not only as a popular children’s author and illustrator, but a bonafide star with her own legion of little fans.

Picture of Sue Hendra and her daughter, Wanda, surrounded by Sue's little fans waiting to get her autograph and help putting faces on Norman the Slug.

Sue Hendra and her daughter, Wanda, are the centre of attraction, posing for pictures and signing copies of the books as well as illustrating how to make Norman the Slug and put faces on him.

The wacky array of characters that litter her beautifully illustrated books proved to be a great formula for success.

The arrival of Norman the Slug With Silly Shell in 2011 reinforced her star quality. The latter book went on to become the bestselling new picture book for the first quarter of 2011.

Sue Hendra reading Norman The Sulg With The SIlly Shell at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

Sue Hendra reading Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell to her small and big fans at the Southbank Centre in London.

She has written for various publishers like Hodder, Random House and Simon and Schuster, plus illustrated for Harper Collins, Random House US and Scholastic.

Her style is distinctive. It is fun. It is quirky. Silly and innovative plus engaging. It has a surreal and believability quality to it which children love.

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

To date, she has written and illustrated plus or minus 17 children’s books and it seems like she is not slowing down any time soon. That is great news for her legion of little fans and the likes of Access2books.

Eileen Finch, team leader at Access2books Publishers, believes publishing Supertato is an opportunity to continue in their tradition of making the most popular children’s books accessible to children and people who happen to be blind or visually impaired.

Sue Hendra also reinforces this view.

“Making picture books accessible to all adults and children can only ever be a good thing. I am fully in support of, and excited by, the work that Access2books are doing.”

Sue Hendra in action on stage reading  Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell

Sue Hendra caught in full flow delivering a reading of Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell not to be forgotten.

Keep your eyes glued to this space for updates on the progress of the book. We can’t wait to begin working on it and seeing the final book becoming a giant print and Braille version of the original Supertato. Check out more of Sue Hendra’s other books here.

Two women at the reception of the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Update on the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Education and Training, Visual Impairment

It was exciting to join the group attending the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham last week. It involved the teachers of students with sight impairments up to the age of 18, I think.

First thing, I met Gwyneth, Director and teacher of visual impairment, displaying her lesson plan, games et al, from the Positive Eye Consultancy.

Eillen Finch team leader of Access2books chatting to Gwyneth McCormack from the Positive Eye at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Eileen Finch team leader from Access2books picking Gwyneth McCormack’s brains, the director of Positive Eye, at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham.

I had spoken with Gwyneth before when she supported me with the promotion of Access2booksShe is the most generous woman with her guidance, support and information. 

She is striking and authentic; no wonder why everyone has good things to say about her and her work in the UK and abroad.

As well as other countries, she has run courses in Iceland and Romania, and one of these courses involved bringing teachers, students and families together to learn tricks about applying make-up if you can’t see. 

So now, I look forward to learning easy ways to put on make-up. I haven’t done this for 30 years (I have no central vision).  Well, that should be funny!

You can learn more about what Gwyneth and her team at The Positive Eye are doing by following this link www.positiveeye.co.uk.  

A medium shot of Eileen Finch from Access 2 books chatting to Gwyneth Macormack the Director of the Positive Eye chatting at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Eileen Finch team leader from Accesss2books sharing ideas with Gwyneth McCormack, the director of Positive Eye, at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham.

The weekend was full of interesting people; for example, teachers who taught up to 18 year old VI students science and maths. Below are the timetables for the weekend.

A snapshot of the timetable on Saturday  at the  Visually Impaired Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham.

This is a snapshot of the timetable of the day and the modules we covered. I would recommend it for anyone involved in this sector.

As I could see up to the age of 30, I have no experience of science experiments with partial sight or none at all. It does make me and my VI friends smile often when we talk about trying to get certain things done. Chemistry and physics experiments are one of them.

A snapshot of the programme at the University of Birmingham during the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend

The programme on Sunday involved the Learning Through Touch modules.

The teachers gave us lots of feedback. Many already had stock of who we were or they were aware of our books. That is great! Isn’t it? 

We tend to feel like we are a little team working hard but not necessarily getting the ‘music through the speakers’. But we are, great work Joseph, Chris and me as we do most of the ‘talking’.

Our books are 75 point print, Tiresias font, double sided, grade 1 Braille and improved illustrations for access.

Here is the some of the feedback we received:

  • Provide single sided Braille: the teachers sight read so double sided Braille can cause problems.
  • Some want double line spaced Braille for early learning  
  • Some want 36 or 48 point print for various reasons: they don’t want young children to use any larger print size when Braille is a necessary skill
  • A few people ask for Comic Sans font so that the children read print which reflects how they write 
a picture of the interior pages of the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear. On the left hand side is text and the Braille transcription which reads, "Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me. " On the right hand side of the page is a picture of the brown bear strolling and below the picture is a Braille description of the picture.

A shot of the interior pages of the classic picture book Brown Bear, Brown Bear written and illustrated by Eric Carle and Bill Martin, Jnr.

So as I can’t access blogging, please blog away Joseph, I look forward to hearing if you were interested out there in social network world.

Before I forget, Mike McLinden heads up the VI Study Degree Course at Birmingham University. I called him and he invited me to show the books to his students.

I was delighted when he asked me to come next September when he has his new in-take. I will show the books again, and meet with the students for a session – content to be planned. I am delighted!

I met Janet Harwood, from CVIS Cerebral Visual Impairment Society, what an exciting woman. Meeting Janet was a great education for me.

Eileen Finch and Janet Harwood from the CVI Society chat about their work at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Eileen Finch the team leader from Access2books gets comfy with Janet Harwood from the CVI Society [The Cerebral Visual Impairment Society] during registration at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham.

She works with other volunteers to grow this charity and educate us about people with CVI; for example, they may see 14 point print but need 36 to understand and process the information.

This seems to me to be a classic myth about disabled people. Cerebral palsy is one reason for CVI: it is often treated as a learning disability by the community at large.

Learning disability is also often assumed to be the condition of someone who can’t understand. So if someone with CVI can see something, but not understand it, they can be mistakenly regarded as if they are unable to understand, but in fact, they may only need a larger print.

I look forward to learning more from Janet, CVIS and their community. She was excited about our books and even more supportive when we discussed Access2books next series of diversity in children’s stories, potentially including, Three Mums, Two Dads, a Disabled sister and adopted children,

We have a children’s biography version of Nelson Mandela’s life that we are interested in making into an accessible book. It is produced by Kadir Nelson – and no, he is not related to Nelson Mandela. However, this book is still in the early stages of consideration. Hopefully, we will be granted permission to work on it as it is visually stunning as you can see by the front cover below. The illustrations inside are equally stunning.

The front cover of  the book on Nelson Mandela for children distributed by the Letterbox Library

Access2books hand-made books offer flexibility. This means our books will benefit people with CVI and many other conditions and situations.

Many classrooms want the books to be used for group reading ensuring everyone can join in.

Most adults with access to information needs can read 75 point print or Braille, so our standard format will continue to be available, and as adult large print readers are the majority of our users, I think, it will continue to be the most popular format for most of the population who need access.

Aliens Love Underpants inside pages

Interior pages of the book Aliens Love Underpants written by Claire Freedman illustrating the format of our books with text on the left hand side and images on the right. At the bottom of both pages is a Braille transcription of the text on the page and picture descriptions of the image on the right.

We can make many changes to our hand made books and plan an Early Learning Braille version of our books. Watch this space.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend. Feel free to comment and make any suggestions which you think might be helpful or worth considering with regards to what we do as book publishers or anything that we cover on this blog. 

Eillen Finch team leader of Access2books chatting to Gwyneth McCormack from the Positive Eye at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

The Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham in Pictures

Visual Impairment

This weekend Access2books is attending the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend Programme at the University of Birmingham.

Access2books book display at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Access2books display at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham.

It opened up this morning with registration and refreshments and the opportunity to visit displays by Blind Children UK, Positive Eye and Access2books.

Eileen Finch and Janet Harwood from the CVI Society chat about their work at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Eileen Finch the team leader of Access2books gets comfy with Janet Harwood from the CVI Society [The Cerebral Visual Impairment Society] during registration at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham.

That was followed by a welcome and introduction by Mike McLinden. After that, it was down to some hard work with an Introduction to Curriculum Access which was chaired by Mike McLinden.

The panel members were Gwyneth McCommack [Positive Eye], pictured below, and Steve McCall.

A medium shot of Eileen Finch from Access 2 books chatting to Gwyneth Macormack the Director of the Positive Eye chatting at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Eileen Finch team leader from Accesss2books sharing ideas with Gwyneth McCormack, the director of Positive Eye, at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham.

After lunch, from about 13:30 to 1530hrs was the mobility and Orientation Session facilitated by Angie Bisson, Linda Bain and Suzy McDonald. From about 16:00hrs, the Mobility and Orientation Session continues after about a 30 minute break.

Two women at the reception of the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

A warm welcome from the team hosting the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham.

The programme continues throughout the weekend, so, watch out for a more detailed blog with loads of insights after the weekend and a lot more colourful pictures.

At the moment, we are literally shooting and writing from the hip, if such a thing exists. So, apologies for the lack of meat on the bone of this piece.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the summer. We definitely will be soaking up this stimulating environment.

Access2books producing alternative formats of books by award winning author Oliver Jeffers

Children's Books, Publishing
Picture of Oliver Jeffers at the Gutter Bookshop.

Picture: courtesy of Gutter Bookshop.

Spring heralds good things. It is the harbinger of new life, new leaves, the sun, flowers, the tiny, clenched fists of buds on trees, and undoubtedly a breath of fresh air for Access2books who specialise in publishing children’s books. 

Access2books have received permission from Harpercollins to produce two of their titles created by the award winning author Oliver Jeffers.

Access2books will produce giant print [75 point] and Braille versions of Up and Down and Lost and Found, the latter book that created enormous sales and won critical acclaim upon its publication. In 2005, Lost and Found won the Gold Award at Nestle Children’s Book Prize.

Front cover of the lost and found book written by Oliver Jeffers showing a boy and a penguin in a boat sailing on a frozen lake against the backdrop of a star-studded sky.

Image: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Access2books team are excited by the opportunity to work on these two books and continue in their tradition of making the most popular children’s books available as alternative formats for children who happen to be blind or visually impaired and cannot access mainstream books. This is great news for the publishing business.

Who is Oliver Jeffers?

Oliver Jeffers grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland but he was originally born in Port Hedland, Western Australia. 

He started off as a musician, hitting the pub scene looking for musicians to collaborate with but his percussive talents were never realised. 

Thankfully, the art world recognised his precocious talent. The Irish amateur art competition, in which he was runner up, made him consider painting as an outlet for his creative talents.

His decision took him across the world, exhibiting in Belfast, Glengormley, London, Melbourne, New York and Sydney,

He later focussed on illustrations and concentrated on finishing his degree in Illustration and Visual Communication. During an exhibition in the final year, he sold 16 pieces on the opening night. 

His star was on the rise. His style opened numerous pathways and Jeffers has had a hand in creating poster illustrations, taking on commissioned artworks and designing album covers. 

Image of the front cover of Up and Down written by Oliver Jeffers. In the picture is a boy in a striped, red and white top, holding a penguin

Image: Courtesy of Amazon.co.uk

Jeffers turned to writing and illustrating children’s books but people didn’t take him seriously. However, it was when he produced his début, How to Catch A Star, which was supposedly inspired by various reports from a moment chilling on the end of jetty in Sydney while star gazing. 

Jeffers’s publishing star on the rise

HarperCollins Publishers received his unsolicited work and immediately recognised the potential in this star on the ascent. The book was subsequently published in 2004. It also made the shortlist for the Booktrust’s Early Years Award for Best New Illustrator. It then went on to win the Merit Award at the CBI/ Bisto Book of the Year Awards in 2005.

Jeffers’ time had finally arrived and people had to take him seriously. His follow-up, Lost and Found, proved that HarperCollins Publishers had caught their star. 

The book was so stunning and captivating, sales figures shot up and it garnered critical acclaim from across the spectrum. In 2005, it was recognised with the Gold Award at the Nestle Children’s Book Prize.

Picture of Oliver Jeffers in a white jumper, blue shirt and blue jeans and blue woolie hat, holding a cup of coffee.

Picture: Courtesy of abc.net.au

Jeffers’s reward from publishing children’s books

Since then, he has published at least ten to eleven other titles and worked on numerous other projects such as commercials. Lost and Found also became his first book to be turned into an animated film.

It went on to win more than 40 awards from across the globe including a BAFTA award for best animation in 2009.

Jeffers is here to stay. He has won numerous awards such as the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts [2014]; Orbit Prize [2013]; Blue Peter Book Award [2006], Channel 4 Richard and Judy Award [2006], Irish Book Awards [2012], The New York Times Book Review [2012], New York Emmy Awards [2010] and numerous other awards. He has also made numerous shortlists and received a lot of merits.

You can check out the full list of all his awards here Oliver Jeffers’s list of awards.

Access2books is proud to be associated with an award winning director and working with HarperCollins Publishers to continue publishing children’s books and making them available as alternative formats for the print disabled community.

Access2books on publishing Jeffers’s children’s books

Eileen Finch summed up the mood of the Access2books team when they discovered HarperCollins Publishers granted them permission to publish Lost and Found and Up and Down.

“We are delighted because the decision was so quick. They were recommended by West Sussex Libraries. I am really pleased we are publishing these books”, she said.

 

Access2books’ first newsletter, The Forge, finally published

About Wiritng, Publishing

Phoebe reading to Ryan using their nan's accessible books.

We are happy to launch the first edition of our quarterly newsletter, The Forge. It is finally published and out now.

We have spent the last few months working on it and it is a relief and a pleasure to finally send it out and let it have a life of its own.

You can click on the following link to read it The Forge Newsletter 1st. Edition.

What kind of articles can you look forward to?

We have a variety of articles talking about what we do, recently produced work and an article about how the Access2books project came about.

It is an inspirational story about how Eileen Finch, the team leader of the project, started losing her sight because she had Stargardt’s and she wanted to read to her grandchildren.

However, she couldn’t find books that she could read and so she started off this project to make children’s books that combined giant print [75 point], Braille and specially adapted pictures to cater for people who happened to be blind or have a visual impairment because there wasn’t anything like it on the market.

She also wanted the books to be as beautiful as other popular children’s fiction books. In a nutshell, that is how it came to be.

You can read more about it in The Forge plus an article from Eileen’s column talking about her experiences as a person who happens to be blind.

There is a variety of articles including short articles written by Alex Strick, author of Max the Champion, and Sue Hendra, the author and illustrator of books such as Norman the Slug and his Silly Shell.

Shot of Sue Hendra, author of Norman the Silly Slug With His Silly Shell, standing at the podium and holding up a worried Norman in her hand while reading the book at the Inclusive Minds Festival at the Southbank centre in London.

Author and illustrator of children’s books, Sue Hendra, holds up a worried looking Norman, as she reads from her book Norman the Slug With His Silly Shell at the Inclusive Minds Festival at the Southbank Festival in London in February 2015.

Both these busy ladies are working with Access2books to help promote the project and offer guidance and support plus collaborating on projects.

In the next edition, we will have full interviews with the authors and much more. It is an exciting venture and we hope that you will enjoy it.

We look forward to your critical feedback because it will help us improve the quality and content of our newsletter.

It has been a learning curve for us and we anticipate that we will continue to learn and expand our publishing expertise in various mediums.

Thank you for been a part of our journey. By the way, have a lovely Easter.