Children's Laureate 2001-2003
Carnegie Medal 1989, 1992
Whitbread Award 1993, 1996
Guardian Fiction Award 1990
Anne Fine celebrated World Book Day on March 14th 2002 by launching a unique project to give blind children, and children with blind parents, their own Braille books. By mid-December 280 young braille readers had requested their four free brailled books. For many children these were the first braille books they had owned. In December 2012, Anne posted on her website a Christmas message, with an update about the project:
It's wonderful when things you had a hand in keep on being helpful, and giving pleasure to others. Way back when I was Children's Laureate, I persuaded four famous authors with more than a bean in their pockets to join me in coughing up enough to help the wonderful Marion Ripley kick-start her brilliant idea of ClearVision. (I remain indebted to Philip Pullman, J K Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson and Terry Pratchett for their generosity.)
ClearVision is a UK postal library of mainstream children's books with added braille. All books have braille (or Moon) print and pictures, making them perfect for visually-impaired and sighted children and adults to share. There are over 13000 books in the collection now, including tactile board books, simple stories for young children, and stimulating books for newly fluent readers.
I wanted to share with you a letter that Marion received, that shows what sort of a difference this kind of project can make in people's lives:
I don't know where to start. I was amazed at how quickly you accepted Edward's membership, and at how quickly his first 6 books arrived. He loves them and they have already been read over and over again.
But I can only say I was astounded to receive the beautiful books this week for Edward to keep - Jack and the Beanstalk is just beautiful and a complete hit. Edward adores being read to and this interactive book simply adds to his enjoyment.
I think it is fair to say my family and I have had a difficult 2 years since Edward's diagnosis, and acts of kindness such as this have come as something of a surprise. Edward really is a book worm, he couldn't ask for anything better.
This is a wonderful way to introduce him to the idea of braille and I want you to know just how grateful we are to Clearvision already and look forward to borrowing many more books over the coming years.
A truly heartfelt thank you
The initial contributions received from Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, J K Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson and the St James's Place Foundation were so generous that the project decided to make even more books available:
I am absolutely delighted with these latest proposals, and very proud indeed to have been able to be a part of such useful schemes.
I wanted to be certain that everyone could build up a home library, not just those people who can slope off to a bookshop at any old time. (I am a patron of Calibre and I know how difficult it is for some of you, if you're blind or seriously visually impared, even to browse through possible choices of reading - and we all know how much braille books cost.)
Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, J K Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson know this too. We all agreed to chip in so that 2,400 books - that's 200 each of 12 titles - could be brailled and passed on for free to younger blind and visually impared children. The St James's Place Foundation have also funded this project.
ClearVision, the postal lending library of Braille/print children's books, selected twelve of the books. Gartree Prison Braille Unit brailled the books and re-bound them to incorporate the brailled text. The Inside Out Trust is managing the project. A list of the books is available over on the My Home Library website.
Not everyone reads a book in one go - I know I don't. I thought that for the Home Library project you ought to have something a little bit more special than an old bus ticket or a chocolate wrapper to keep your place.
We came up with the idea of bookmarks in special shapes, each with a different texture andd a message about the book you are reading in Braille. Prisoners at HMP Long Lartin are making 5,000 tactile bookmarks. Once again, ClearVision co-ordinated the project with the Inside Out Trust.
Read more about ClearVision on their website, or contact them at:
Linden Lodge School
61 Princes Way
Reg. Charity No 1012850