Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Birthday Book: Involving Friends and Family in Braille

mom showing child the birthday bookOur Liam turned 5 last week and his little brother Finn turned 2 the week before. Liam and Finn celebrated their birthdays together with family and friends by having a birthday party at our house.  For those of you who don't already know, my son Liam is deafblind.
This year, all of the guests created and brought a tactile page for Liam, to combine together to create a "birthday" book.  


  • I slipped a cardboard page of a book, 3-hole punched and labeled in braille, with the invitations to the party and an instruction sheet that went something like this:
  • I thought a fun theme, for Liam’s birthday book this year, would be a “shape book”. 
  • I will assign each family a “shape” it will already be labeled in braille for you on the page. 
  • Take whatever shape you were given; try to find items that have fun texture that match the assigned shape. For example, if you were given "square" you may glue a square tile onto the page or a square piece of sand paper. You could also use "puffy paint" to draw a square. You can also use any household item that you can find that is a square. You could use the squares to make a design if you want. You can add one square or 20 to the page. (If you want more than one page let me know!) 


page with a basketball and baseballpage with different sensory items glued onpage out of the braille book


  • Use the most "heavy duty" glue you have to glue the items onto the page (super glue or hot glue work). 
  • Please make sure that the items you glue to the page are thin (no thicker than ½ inch) or it makes it hard to close the book. 
  • I will have a binder ready to go, so when Liam opens his "pages" presents, we can put them into the binder right away! And that way he knows they are gifts from individual people.


The birthday book was a HUGE success! It was a great opportunity for our friends and family (who are very involved and want to do things for our Liam) to create something for him, using braille. They did an amazing job. Liam LOVED opening up the pages and putting them into his “Happy Birthday Book” binder. He has read it just about every day at home, and also takes it to preschool with him every day to read at school. He can tell you who made which page. I am already thinking ahead to what themed book we should make for next year!! 


stars on braille birthday bookbraille birthday book with heartsbraille book with diamonds
Purpose of Liam’s birthday book:
  • Reinforce the learning of shapes.
  • Recognizing the braille word for the shape and matching it with the tactile shapes on the page.
  • and MOST IMPORTANTLY, supporting his love for reading in a way that is meaningful and fun for him. 
Here are some other ideas for a birthday book:
  • Numbers, counting
  • ABC book
  • Texture book
  • Concepts such as: small/big, soft/hard, same/different, etc…

Birthday book collage



Great idea

Posted by gwyn52

Intentional Goodness

Posted by Liz Eagan Satter

This should be replicated at all local libraries

Posted by Patricia Konars...

Posted on May 18, 2014
Updated on: February 21, 2018

Previous comments for Birthday Book: Involving Friends and Family in Braille

Patricia Konars... commented on June 16, 2014

As a retired librarian, I have to say that, unfortunately, there are not as many books in braille that are available at local libraries.  This should change.  As public libraries are evolving more and more as community centers to stay relevant in this day and age, I would think your marvelous braille book activity would be a wonderful workshop activity to add to the workshops held at such libraries for the public; that way your activity can be enjoyed by not only family and friends, but also community members in general so as to make the community more cognizant of the braille system (and hopefully pesuade the community to build up each library's inventory of braille books).

So, yeah, way to go, mom!

Liz Eagan Satter commented on May 19, 2014

Thank you for sharing this AWESOME idea filled with such intentionality! I absolutely love this idea! Just imagine the books you can make based on the different holiday themes, seasonal themes, as well as the celebration of his birthday! Way to go, mom! You rock!

gwyn52 commented on May 19, 2014

Thanks for this lovely positive idea, I have promoted it on my social media links, a really nice simple idea involving of all the family.