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.

Access2books and The Birmingham Bodenham Trust to Distribute 30 Free Books in Birmingham

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The Birmingham Bodenham Trust have provided Access2books with funding to distribute 30 accessible books, giant print with Braille and specially adapted pictures, free of charge in Birmingham.

Eileen Finch, the team leader at Access2books, is overseeing the project to ensure people who need the books have access to them.

Image of Eileen Finch addressing delegates at the conference while they look on.

Eileen Finch from Access2books acquaints the delegates with her project Access2books which produces accessible books in giant print and Braille mainly for people with visual impairments and others.

The Birmingham Bodenham Trust help organisations like Access2books and other charities, individuals and voluntary and community organisations with funding, specialist equipment or care provisions for people with special educational needs who are under the age of 19.

Eileen started the Access2books project after she lost her sight and encountered problems trying to read normal print to her grandchildren.

However, she couldn’t find the books that suited her. So she was inspired to start the project to create beautiful books like the ones found in store.

You can read more about that journey here.

Picture of Eileen Finch and Lauren Child chatting and holding an accessible version of Charlie and Lola between them.

Eileen Finch shows Lauren Child an accessible version of Charlie and Lola. Lauren is seeing the book she wrote and illustrated as an accessible book for the first time at the Imagine Children’s Festival at the London Southbank.

She is one of approximately 500 000 people in the UK in the latter stages of macular degeneration: it is only one of many conditions that mean you need access to read print.

She can’t read Braille but she can read giant print [75 point]. She reads the books she publishes to her grandchildren.

Her dream is for people to share these books and read them. This is partly why she initiated this project with The Birmingham Bodenham Trust to distribute these books for free because not all the intended users have access to them or can afford them.

This project is to provide more popular books for children to read whether the child or their family need access to read to them.

Picture of Sue Hendra, Eileen Finch and Mike O'Sullivan as they chat about book related matters at the London Southbank. Behind them is the London skyline visible.

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.

Do you live in Birmingham?

If you live in Birmingham, then you are one of the lucky few who is eligible to receive one of the free books courtesy of The Birmingham Bodenham Trust.

The books are unique. They are beautiful. They are all individually handmade by the Access2books’ team.

The books have giant text on the left hand page and pictures or illustrations on the right.

The text or picture descriptions in Braille appear below the page text and illustrations as demonstrated by the interior pages of A Squash and a Squeeze written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

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 Donaldosn 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 had side with picture descriptions in Braille in the footer to make the books accessible to as many people as possible.

As mentioned above, the pictures are specially adapted; i.e. they are enhanced to make them more accessible to people who happen to have sight impairments.

The formatting makes the books accessible to as many people as possible.

Picture of Elvira using her magic pen to improve an image on her computer's screen.

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.

The books are going to be distributed through the RNIB and Action for Blind People‘s members. If you happen to be one, look forward to one of these beautiful books coming your way.

Would you, a child or baby you know need access to stories and good picture books now or in the future?

Would you prefer black, big or clear print, Braille or better pictures in your story books?

Feel free to contact Eileen on 01525 853825. Alternatively email her at efinch@access2books.org.

Picture of a young mother in a black coat and dark hair listens to her daughter in a blue coat reading an accessible version of Pant at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank. Her son is also engrossed in the big, colourful pictures in the book. The mother and daughter are both running their fingers over the Braille at the bottom of the page.

A Mother and her children bond over an accessible version of Pants in giant print with Braille and large beautiful pictures at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

In the meantime, if you are in Birmingham and a member of the RNIB or Action for Blind People, keep an eye open for one of our books coming to you soon. We would like to thank The Birmingham Bodenham Trust for making it possible to distribute 30 free books from Access2books.

P.S. Birmingham is just the start. This programme is going to be rolled out across the UK as we secure more funders to distribute more books. We will keep you in the loop of more similar projects. Thanks.