The tactile book “The treasure of the enchanted maze”

The prototype of the tactile book “The Treasure of the Enchanted Maze” was presented at the 15th edition of the international tactile picture book competition “Typhlo and Tactus,” an event organized and hosted by the Robert Hollman Foundation in Padua from March 30th to April 2nd, 2022.

The tactile book project, which was designed and supported by the Foundation, was created by Enrica Polato, a pedagogue who is an expert in tactile picture books for children with visual impairments and a lecturer at the Fisspa Department of the University of Padua; Marcella Basso, an expert in tactile language; Serena Danieli, an educator at the Robert Hollman Foundation; and printer Matteo Franceschetti.

The idea came from an accessible picture book entitled “The Treasure of the Enchanted Maze,” which can be read through six different communication codes, from the EasyReading font to AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication), as well as the Italian Sign Language translation, which was first published in 2016 and led to the creation of the inclusive municipal park “Treasure Tree”.

The project aims to be a proper “translation” of the book’s content, so that concepts and illustrations are understood by children with visual impairment. The changes involved the story, language, images and layout.

The simplified text is still written in a highly readable font in enlarged capital print; below it is accompanied by Braille and AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication).

The pictures have been simplified and feature contrasting colors; they are now made of special materials that can “communicate” reality and imagination to the fingers of the child with visual impairment.

The audiobook and video story in sign language have been embedded in a microchip featured in the book.

Professor Enrica Polato presented the project and prototype during the lectio magistralis “Pages and spaces that include: a book, a park”, which opened the session of the “Typhlo and Tactus” competition. Thanks to the contribution of the Padua and Rovigo Volunteer Service Center, the tactile book was manufactured and donated to the members of the international jury of the competition. The Padua and Rovigo Volunteer Service Center, together with the Robert Hollman Foundation, found a way to continue the implementation of good practices with the support of the European Union after the extraordinary experience of 2020, when the city of Padua was appointed as the European Capital for Volunteering.