Earlier this summer, the Boston-based National Braille Press raised more than $565,000 through its auction and fund-raiser celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Children's Braille Book Club. "The purpose of the book club is to enable a blind person to own a book at the same price as a sighted person," said Tanya Holton, v-p of development for NBP. "Prior to this, they would have had to borrow the book from the Library of Congress or purchase it at four times the cost. A $6.99 children's book would be almost $30." What makes the book club titles so affordable is that publishers donate the physical books and then NBP interleaves clear plastic pages that have the Braille text—and, in some cases, Braille descriptions of the art.
At the fund-raiser, NBP announced that it will play ball with the National Basketball Association and its Read to Achieve literacy program. The NBA has already sponsored the Braille sheets for Frank Asch's Happy Birthday, Moon (Aladdin), when it was the selected book for the Children's Braille Book Club. Boston Celtic Walter McCarty was so moved by the fund-raiser that he and his wife, Erin, volunteered to sponsor the Braille sheets for David Kirby and Allen Woodman's The Cows Are Going to Paris (Boyds Mills).
Going forward, the NBA will include schools with blind children learning alongside sighted children and specialized schools for the blind in its literacy events.