Little Tactile Explorers Go to the Museum, A Tactile Documentary Book with and for Visually Impaired Children
SOPHIE: Hello, good morning to all. I am Sophie Blain. For the past 20 years, I have been a publisher of children's books, specialising in book for people with disabilities. And for the past two years, I have been managing the publishing house, Les Doigts Qui Revent, Dreaming Fingers, in English. I am delighted to speak to you today to present our tactile illustrated book, Little Tactile Explorers Go To The Museum. It's a tactile documentary book, with and for visually impaired children. Before presenting this album on its design process, I am going to introduce you quickly to the publishing house, Les Doigts Qui Revent. I am, as English is not very fluent, I will read my presentation for more clarity. The publishing house, Les Doigts Qui Revent. Les Doigts Qui Revent was founded in 1994 by a teacher and four couples of concerned parents to fill a lake of books on culture for visually impaired children. This goal was to enable these children from a very early age, long before they are able to read braille, to have books to a senior level imagination, to give them access to a common culture, by sharing the same stories as their same peers of the same age, and to develop their awareness of written language, through tactile discovery of bright letters. This goal is still relevant today. For more than 25 years, Les Doigts Qui Revent has been developing two areas of expertise. First, the design of tactile illustration adapted to the visually impaired, supported by joining forces with teams of researchers on many association on a global scale. Second, their projection in large numbers. For one title, between 200 and 500 copies. Each copy requires between three and six hours of hard work. This work can be an opportunity for those on the job market seeking occupational and social integration. We're established in Burgundy, and we have 11 employees, and about 20 volunteers. Today, Les Doigts Qui Revent offers the widest choice of tactile illustrated books in the world. However, an adaptation of a classic children book. For example, Little Red Riding Hood. A non totally new tactile creation. For example, the tiny, I Love You book. With a texture, chips, and manipulation. Our tactile illustration offers children a range of experience. This allows us to accompany each child from the different stages of ease, of early tactile learning. Our catalogue of those families and professionals are in the range of 25 tactile illustrated books divided into five collections. Since the beginning, we have produced more than 50,000 tactile illustrated books. Of which, more than 270 titles were produced in multiple languages. Czech, Dutch, English, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, and Portuguese. Representing thousands of hours of meticulous work. Now, the presentation of our tactile illustrated book, Little Tactile Explorers Go To The Museum. What are the components of these books? It's presented as a large and thick format book. Alternating text on tactile illustration for children, aged five and up, and their entourage, family, classmates. It's text mixes two editorial style, fiction and documentary. First, the fiction. In this story, We follow the adventures of two children, Katia and Charlie, through the different rooms of the natural history museum in search of a mystery object. They discover six fascinating objects that tell the story, and the people who discover with them. A geologist, palaeontologist, botanist, and so on. Thanks to the power of a magic charm, they also go out into the field to observe the objects in their natural environment. I am going, I am going to read to you the first page of the book. Katia and Charlie have been friends for most of their lives. They met in a playground. They were are each following a snail when suddenly, they bump into each other. First, they look at each other surprised, and then loved, and loved. Since then, at each recess, they would observe ladybugs, leaves, stones. Nature has united them. Today, here, we are in front steps of the natural history museum. There was a special events at the museum. Let's go in, Katia says to Charlie. Secondly, the documentary. There is a presentation of six objects. Each representing a different section of the natural history museum, around the world. For geology, there is a quartz, and we meet a geologist. For palaeontology, there is an ammonite, and we meet a palaeontologist. For prehistory, there is a biface tool, and we meet an archaeologist. For botany, there is an Entada, and we meet a botanist. For zoology, there is a raven, we meet a zoologist. And for ethnology, there was a kora, and we meet an ethnologist. Each object is presented in three steps. A tactile description of the object, until the child can identify it. A presentation of the object, its genes. its usefulness. A presentation of the place where this object was discovered and how it was collected. And now, what are the accessibility features of this book? There is a full text to read, in large black print. We use the font, Lucida, in size 20 point. It's a French font. There is a number line spacing, on text is sent, is set on the left of the page. This is an important point for children with cognitive, mental, and visually impaired. There is also the full text to read in contractile braille, without hyphenation. The braille is made in resin. There are 12 realistic tactile illustrations, allowing through touch and manipulation, an understanding of the physical features and function of each object. The ammonite has a cold and rough touch with waves. The quartz has a cold and smooth tooth. The raven rather, like on the picture, has, not only, real feathers, but its wings can be lifted. The kora can be straightened, and its spring, string plucked. A prehistory tool displays serrated edge. And the Entada, sounds like a rattle when shaken. And, there are so, six realistic sound illustrations. Children can hear the songs of these six objects. Whether in their natural environments, and, or, when they are used, being used, or even made. Let's listen of three of the six sounds. (water splashing) (tools clanking together) Do you recognise them? First, an archaeologist with a pickaxe, as he discovers a tool in a cave. (cow mooing) (crunching noise) (digging) Second, a palaeontologist is looking for a fossil, an ammonite. (guitar playing) And third, an African musician playing a traditional instrument, a kora. In the book, these sounds accessible for children with a tactile QR code. At the beginning of the book, we explain to the child how to listen to them. A participatory methodology took place in two parts. This editorial project was initiated by two departments of the natural history museum of Toulouse. The library and the public relation departments. They wanted to create a tool to make exhibits accessible to individuals with disabilities as well as the general public. We set up a multidisciplinary team composed of the Institute For Young Blind People of Toulouse. We have 18 children. (speaking French) And researchers in psychology. We have Dannyelle Valente from University of Lyon 2, in Geneva, and Franz Bar from University Jean Jaurès of Toulouse. And, members of the team of the natural history museum of Toulouse, from different departments, library, public relations, conservations, legal departments, and technical manager for videos. And, Les Doigts Qui Revent, we're selectively in charge of accessible creation on tactile design for 13 years. The first workshop took place without children for two days. The question was, what kind of tools the museum needed to create? The choice was made for docufiction. Because, fiction reinforces the accessible aspect of the work. Fiction is more fun, there are characters, and a plot. It tells children to get hooked on complex notions, and it makes it easy to establish a learning progress. And the docufiction is easier to read a loud, than a documentary. After this first step, the second workshop took place with a small groups of visually impaired and blind children between the ages of five and twelve. For each of the six departments of the museum, the professionals of the museum made a selection of two typical objects. Blind children were invited to discover each object by touch. The adults did not tell them what it was but helped them with these questions. What is it? Where was it found? Is it recent or old? Does it remind you of something? Description, texture, shape, dimension, weight, temperature. So the children describe what they touch. For example, for the ammonite, the spontaneous reaction of the children were, it's a lead, it's heavy. It feel waves. A shell, a snail shell. Everything said by the children was carefully recorded. The children participated in the choice of each object. The text written at the end of these two workshops were, was entitled, Meme Pas Peur! I am not one bit scared. So mediation team, and the museum scientific team, work together with the disciplinary team to design the book, the texts, and the tactile illustration. And, Les Doigts Qui Revent, hand-crafted in each workshop, took a piece of the prototype. One for the museum, and one for Les Doigts Qui Revent. Two publications report on this preparatory work. The blog of the museum, and the smash laboratory booklet entitled, A Book to Designing Multisensory Books Accessible to All Using a Participatory Design Method, of the University of Geneva. These two resources are freely available online, in order to inspire other project leaders. How does an editor go from the prototype stage to a published book? Our job, often unknown, consists of combining literary, artistic, pedagogical, economic and technical, technological challenges, in order to produce a beautiful book which is easy to read and can be distributed to a wide audience. The decision was made to propose to the museum to have the text rewritten by an author specialising in documentaries for children, Anne-Sophie Baumann. The choice was made for the following reasons. Gives this text a real literary quality, strengthens the fiction section, notably by reworking the book scenarios with a new plot. The museum team would come and check the scientific accuracy of the reworked state. Our technological and literary challenge was to explain the six objects. Values, the natural environment, and provide realistic representation. For example, how to describe and represent an archaeological site by touching the book. (inaudible) Imaging, a tactile device to educate through touch and manipulation to understand that one layer after another must be removed before finding the objects. We spent a lot of time on crafting the book on inanimate objects. For example, the kora is made by your craft woman. There are approximately 10 steps for each specimen before the final results is achieved. Each kora takes 30 minutes of hard work. And for the raven, (speaking French) Les Doigts Qui Revent's workshop, there are seven steps on one takes 10 minutes. At the same time, at the same time, we had to make the whole thing fit into a 70 page book. That will be never too thick, not too heavy, pleasant to read, but sturdy. For the mass production of this tactile illustrated book, we had to contour costs, in order to develop the lowest possible projected budget, in order to keep the cost per copy as low as possible. We need to seek funding too. These very small portable sensory museum is sold at the price of 110 Euros. On that 50 Euros for our members. Our pedagogical challenges as a creation of two clump, two complement, complementary mediation tools. First, a mediation guide for parents and professionals to prepare and continue the visit to the museum. For each object, there are activities to be carried out. Additional information. Each activity must be doable for children with disabilities. Second, the author, Anne-Sophie Baumann, is also working on a version easy to read for people with an intellectual disability. She's re-working our text, with shortener sentences, more concrete reference on illustration providing contextual supports. An application of the, of the European rules of easy to read for the writing of the text on this. In conclusion, with its tactile illustration, our Little Tactile Explorers Go To The Museum, is a universally accessible book. It is essential for preparing or continuing a visit to the museum, particularly for visually impaired children, children with cognitive impairments, and children with mild mental disabilities. We begin the promotion in all natural history museums in France, as well as, as the overall museum. This will be done via professional workshop within the museum. Perhaps next year, Les Doigts Qui Revent team will begin a new book project entitled, Little Tactile Explorers Go To The Planetarium. Thank you for your attention.