Perkins Library isn't just for adults. Children's materials including audiobooks, braille books, large print books, and DVDs are also available, and our monthly PerKIDS email newsletter can help get your children excited about reading through fun activities, programming notifications, and accessible games or recipes. Contact the children's librarian by calling (617) 972-7242 or 1-800-852-3133, or by emailing Library@Perkins.org.
The activities and resources listed below are not all administered by the Perkins Library, but have been gathered together here as a service. For questions about any items listed, click on the link provided for more details.
Summer Reading Program
The Perkins Library offers a summer reading program yearly. All New England patrons ages 18 and below are invited to participate in the fun with books, prizes, and more. Signups for the upcoming Tails and Tales program will begin in May 2021 - watch out for registration information coming through the mail, and via our Perkids newsletter. If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to email SummerReading@Perkins.org, or call (617) 972-7242.
Where Else Do I Find Audiobooks for Kids?
If you're looking for alternate sources for stories and literature, you might try the Storyline Online series of actors reading books for young readers, or download classic stories in MP3 format from Audio Stories for Children. You can also call up one of the Dial-a-Story phone lines updated daily or weekly through libraries in Massachusetts and across the country such as:
- Beverly Public Library - (978) 921-6062, ext. 2110 (junior option) or ext. 2113 (senior option)
- Chelmsford Public Library - (978) 256-5521 ext. 1234
- Denver Public Library - (720) 865-8500
- Jackson County (OR) Library System and the Storytelling Guild - (541) 774-6439
- Jersey City Free Public Library - (201) 547-4604
- Kansas City (MO) Public Library - (816) 701-3456 (also available online)
- Newton Free Library - (617) 796-1415
- Sacramento Public Library - (916) 441-1234
- Toronto Public Library - (416) 395-5400
- Walpole Public Library - (508) 660-6383
And don't forget that most public school students and all Perkins patrons in Massachusetts are eligible for free subscriptions with Bookshare!
Fun for the Smartphone and Tablet
With so many games out there these days, it can be hard to figure out which are both fun and accessible. A few options recommended by Cory Kadlik, Accessible Technology Specialist at the Perkins Library are
- RS Games which are available for iOS, Android, and most web browsers
- Song Quiz in the Apple Store and on Google Play
- the games from Dice World, available in English, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and French on iOS and Android
- the popular and award-winning Zombies Run which can be downloaded for both Apple and Android
- Alter Ego, a classic text-based life simulator which can downloaded from the Apple and Google Play stores, on Steam and Amazon, or played online
The Perkins Library offers support to as many students, teachers and school staff, and parents and caregivers as we can, but some backup is always helpful. Some other resources that might be helpful for learning, studying, and teaching are the Accessible Instructional Materials Library, which offers accessible textbooks and instructional materials for students in Massachusetts; the Learning Ally audiobook service, through which those who pay for membership or have access through their school district can access additional human-narrated audiobooks; and the ObjectiveEd system of digital learning games through which educators can track and help advance student progress.
Braille Learning At Home
Braille drawings are a fun and creative way to learn about braille and to share the importance of braille literacy in a fun way. Find instructions here for how to create drawings and discover how to send drawings that you come up with on your own.
Apps for learning braille are also now available, some aimed at braille learners who would prefer to use voiceover and some for those who are learning using their sight.
- Visual Brailler App for iPad from American Printing House
- Braille Tutor for iPad and iPhone from iEnable
- Brailliac for Android developed by Luke Needham
- Ballyland for iOS from Sonokids
- Exploring Braille with Madilyn and Ruff for iPad developed by Hillary Kleck
If you learn well using music and mnemonics, you can also check out this braille learning rap! The Braille Rap Song was written by Lynn Horton and Tammy Whitten as a fun way to teach braille to their students at the Helen Keller School located in Talladega, AL. The full lyrics are also available for download here.
Free Braille Books
Through "Anna's Book Angel Program" at Seedlings Braille Books for Children, hundreds of braille books are being made in loving memory of Anna Kristina Bonde and given away free to children around the world.
Register online or call Seedlings at 800-777-8552. Seedlings will pick at least 10 children each week and send them one free book from his or her "wish list."
Are you having difficulty finding toys and games that are accessible and fun to play with? The Toys 'R' Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids lists great accessible toys that are available nationally. You can also call the National Lekotek Center at (800) 366-7529. Also take a look at this list from Wonder Baby focused on toys friendly to children who are blind or visually impaired, and these options from Enabling Devices, Adaptive Tech Solutions, or eSpecial Needs. Those interested in recommendations for accessible video games can check out this list of resources gathered by the National Library Service, or see the reviews posted on the YouTube channel of blind gamer and accessibility consultant Steve Saylor.