Last week The Curved House team set sail for The London Book Fair. Between meetings, reunions and taking selfies with Ali Smith and Laura Dockrill, we managed to get to some fantastic talks and seminars.
One which really got us thinking was a seminar about making books for blind and visually impaired children. The talk was given in association with Book Trust and discussed all the different ideas and concepts that go into making a book that can be read without seeing. Some of these books are available here. Including different textures to outline the story is crucial. Having a glittery road for example, which feels gritty and rough to touch adds a lot to the experience and helps move the story along. Smells can also play a huge role in developing the story, for example having a part in the story with a strawberry scented ice cream will transport the child to a park or beach or school trip. These aspects are key in developing a story which cannot rely on visuals, text and smaller illustrations. We’re completely on board with thinking outside the box and making reading accessible for all children. The aim with our Make Your Own Book series is to make all children, whatever form their literacy takes, whether it’s visual or textual, feel included and interested in the books and stories they read.
Another interesting talk we went to was about ways in which digital can innovate kids reading. The main ideas discussed were keeping kids interested and motivated in reading as they get older. With the overbearing presence of the internet, games, TV and extra-curricular activities, reading can often take a back seat. Keeping reading interesting and up to date is crucial to competing for a child’s time. A way of doing this is to start ‘gamifying’ books and stories. By turning stories into games with rewards, levels, virtual currency etc., kids become more engaged and more interested. These games can increase reading levels and keep kids focused on reading throughout their teens, when they would statistically drop away from reading. Digital is native to kids now, so reading will have to change its form to keep up. Check out Wandoo and Turmali for some fun reading games!