It can be a challenge to get a small child interested in books, especially if they can't see the fun, bright illustrations.
Tactile children's books are a great way to introduce your child to the concept of "reading with their fingers," but have you ever noticed that many tactile books are just so boring?
Some books just repeat the same texture over and over but with new names, like soft, fuzzy, furry, and fluffy. They sound different, but when you touch them they all feel the same!
We've collected here our favorite tactile books that provide interesting and varied textures. They're a great way to introduce a blind or visually impaired child to literacy!
This board book is about bath and shower time for babies and includes a sponge and towel (amongst other things) to feel, and an integral finger puppet bear which can't get lost because it's part of the book.
We've found this a great first book for interaction with very young children. It encourages discussion about getting washed, it has bright bold pictures for children with some sight, and it introduces the idea that there are ways to enjoy books which don't involve chewing!
The rhymes are fun and the textured graphics are very interesting, from feathers to creases, sticky to bumpy.
This is one that gets read over, and over, and over...
As you can imagine, the idea here is that each page has a monster with a different tactile feature that makes it "not my monster." At the end of the book, we find our monster!
This a great concept and Usborne Touchy Feely books have made an entire series of "That's Not My..." books, from That's Not My Dinosaur and That's Not My Dragon to That's Not My Train and That's Not My Car. They're a lot of fun!
The illustrations are very bright with plain high-contrast backgrounds so they are great for kids with low vision, and the textures are fun and varied.
The book also rhymes which makes it easier for kids to anticipate the next number: "Five little ladybugs sitting by the shore, along came a fish and then there were..."
Another great book by Melanie Gerth is Buzz-Buzz, Busy Bees, another count down book but this one has a sound chip embedded in the last page so you can hear the bees buzzing!
The text rhymes, which is nice for younger babies, but the book also takes you on a solve-the-puzzle adventure which lots of questions and clues on each page, which is nice for older toddlers.
Each double page includes interactive things to touch or manipulate, tactile features which include raised outlines of things from the stories at the bottom of the page, and fun rhymes, some of which are hidden behind "doors."
The drawings are bold and not too fussy, very nice for kids with low vision, and the whole thing adds up to a great book for lots of reasons.
The fun continues on the first page with an envelope containing a removable invitation to Elephant's party and the text begins to explain why the little hairy monkey is reluctant to go, despite his mother's encouragement.
As the story continues there are tactile clues to each animal mentioned, and they are all brought together near the end. It's a sympathetically and humorously told story that investigates the differences between us and how we bridge them.
This is a beautifully gently-told story of how little rabbit's mommy explains to him how rainbows are made. The story involves animals and colors and gradually builds a rainbow of silky ribbon at the top of the pages.
This is a worthwhile book for children of limited or no sight for the opportunity to describe and discuss the colors which fill our world. It's really a magical book.
This is a bigger and shinier Touchy Feely book. It is ideal for children to investigate and talk about and has lots of interesting non-fabric textures that are often in interesting organic shapes like shells or fins.
The colors do tend towards pastels, which can be difficult to see if you rely on contrasts, but both Mermaids and its companion book, Fairies, are lovely volumes.
It also has terrifically crazy rhymes to enchant children the way Dr. Seuss always does!
And another great Dr. Seuss board book is One Fish, Two Fish, Three, Four, Five Fish! with little plastic fish at the top of the book that you can count!
All of these books can be purchased through Amazon and most have very simple text that you could easily braille yourself (or ask your TVI to braille for you). Many of these books are also available through Seedlings or National Braille Press with the braille already included.
If you are feeling crafty, you can also check out our article on how to make your own touch book!