In 1984, Debra Bonde established Seedlings Braille Books for Children as a non-profit organization because she found that braille materials were scarce and expensive. Her goals were to increase the availability and lower the cost of braille books for children in order to promote their literacy skills and their love of reading. Since then, Seedlings has placed more than 565,000 braille books into the hands of children across the U.S. and around the world. In the last few years, half of the books they make are given to children in need for free. The other half are sold at a discounted price of an average of just $10 per book.
Our new emphasis is called “Braille for Beginners” and it focuses on getting more braille books into the hands of children ages 0-3 to give them a good start on their road to literacy. We recently heard about children who have no books at all at home. Sighted children see millions of letters and words in their world by the time they start school, but children with vision loss are at a huge disadvantage. They need to be surrounded by braille books so they can be introduced to braille at home before they enter school. We launched this new program in August using some bequest money, and we are hoping to expand it with help from our friends at Emmanuel.