Children's illustrated books like Winnie the Pooh have not been fully accessible to over eight million children with special needs in the U.S., until now. Children ages 3-8 who are vision or hearing challenged or have a learning disability have been limited by books not made for them.
A Fox 31 TV, Denver interview with Imagination Storybooks Founder Richard Rieman
Denver Nonprofit ImaginationStorybooks.org is bringing the magic of books to all children in three separate ways:
- Professional narrators describe all the pictures so blind and low vision children can enjoy the whole story.
- Videos include sign language and captions that include rich picture descriptions for deaf children.
- Both the video and enhanced audiobooks have pictures being richly described, so children who are dyslexic, autistic, or have other learning challenges can understand the story.
Sample of a children’s illustrated book with captions and ASL at https://vimeo.com/imaginationstorybooks/accessibility
"Today, everything can be read in a robotic voice on a device, but we are trying to give children a performance and teach them to love books even at three, four, and five years old," Imagination Storybooks Founder and “Storybook Wizard” Richard Rieman explains.
Blind voice actor Tristan Snyder records with his guide dog, Rocky, beside him.
The Winnie-the-Pooh Project
Now that the 1926 edition of Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne is in the public domain, Imagination Storybooks has produced accessible video and audiobook adaptations of the classic for everyone. The finished project is over three hours in length.
"We want all children to fall in love with Winnie-the-Pooh and the beloved characters of Hundred Acre Wood including children who are blind, deaf, and learning challenged,” says Richard.
The accessible audiobook version of Winnie-the-Pooh debuted at #1 in Children's Anthology books on Audible.
Imagination Storybooks has produced over 150 accessible children's illustrated books and is working with publishers such as Cardinal Rule Press to spread the word to authors how important it is to make their books accessible.
About Imagination Storybooks
Imagination Storybooks (ISB) creates children’s books that enable all children to have a book experience, engaging all their senses, and increasing learning and development.
The American Council of the Blind gave ISB its Special Recognition Award for dedicating its mission to fostering early literacy for children who are blind or have low vision.
The Imagination Storybooks team of narrators and interpreters - over a dozen of whom are blind or low vision - combine digital picture books with rich audio descriptions of the illustrations and a digital braille file, as well as captions and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation.
Imagination Storybooks also partners with the nationally recognized Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP.org), funded by the U.S. Department of Education, so tens of thousands of blind children, their parents, and their teachers have free access.
Imagination Storybooks produces the weekly Illustrated Audiobooks podcast, winner of the 2022 International Communicator Award for Excellence as "Best Storytelling Podcast.''
About Richard Rieman, "The Storybook Wizard"
Richard is the Founder and CEO of Imagination Storybooks at ImaginationStorybooks.org. He has narrated and produced hundreds of Indie-published audiobooks and is the author of the award-winning book, "The Author's Guide to Audiobook Creation.” Richard Rieman is gradually losing his own eyesight due to glaucoma, but not his vision to make illustrated books accessible to ALL children.Contact Richard Rieman at Richard@ImaginationStorybooks.org or 720-507-5970