Tomorrow morning Whitney and I head to Skokie for a “Mix ‘n Mingle” at National Louis University. Twenty children’s book authors have been invited to display our wares to school librarians who’ll be there, and before the mingling starts we each get one minute to stand by our table and give a summary of what we do during school presentations.
the event coordinator warned us she’ll be using the stopwatch on her IPhone to keep our speeches short. “What do you wish to accomplish — book school visits? increase the visibility of your books?” she wrote in an email. “Plan out your 1 minute in advance…and I do mean ONE minute!”I’ve been at events like this before, and it won’t be Whitney’s first time, either – she wowed ‘em at the Illinois Reading Council conference in Springfield last March. After my one-minute speech I’ll do the same thing I did in Springfield: use my slate and stylus to braille out words for the librarians who stop by. The American Foundation for the Blind describes a slate and stylus like this :
This consists of a slate or template with evenly spaced depressions for the dots of Braille cells, and a stylus for creating the individual Braille dots. With paper placed in the slate, tactile dots are made by pushing the pointed end of the stylus into the paper over the depressions. The paper bulges on its reverse side forming “dots.”
Huh? Obviously using a slate and stylus to create Braille is something you need to see – or feel – in order to understand how it works.
The librarians who stop by our booth tomorrow will get a bookmark of the Braille alphabet to help them “decode” the word I’ve brailled out for them. I’m hoping they’ll share these treasures with their students back home and conjure up ways to use the concept of Braille to encourage the kids to read print. And then, well, they’ll just have to invite Whitney and me to come visit: I read from a Braille version of my children’s book Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound at all our school presentations.
Gotta go now and gather up all the Braille and print stuff to bring along tomorrow and practice that one-minute summary. Who knows? I may even learn to use the stopwatch on my talking iPhone!