Seedlings Braille Books for Children

Did you know -- for every 100 books a sighted child has, a blind child may have just 5?! That's because braille books are rare and typically expensive, often costing over $100 for one book!

Angie and Ruby are excited to help change that by giving back to an organization that has been so important in Ruby's life: Seedlings Braille Books for Children. Seedlings produces free and low-cost braille books to help combat low Braille literacy levels and assist families who cannot afford the high cost of Braille books.

Here are some quick stats on Seedlings:

  • Every $10 Seedlings receive allows them to place another book into the hands of a child with vision loss.
  • Seedlings gives half of their books away for free, and the other half they distribute for an average price of just $10 a book.
  • Seedlings is a leader, if not the leader, in the number of children's books they publish in the new Unified English Braille code.

Ruby has been a recipient of Seedlings books for many years and now we are thrilled to give back to them with YOUR help! A portion of every purchase you make on this site will go to Seedlings to help fund their program!

Read on for more information on Seedlings. You may also donate directly to Seedlings HERE.

Seedlings Braille Books for Children’s History

Seedlings logo

Debra Bonde didn't plan to start a non-profit back in 1984 to help blind children all over the world.

A shy woman, she just wanted to find a volunteer job she could do without having to talk to anyone. So she signed up for a braille transcription class in hopes of transcribing books into braille in the privacy of her Detroit home.

In the class, she met the mother of a blind girl from Grosse Pointe who owned only two braille books because they were rare and expensive, costing more than $100 each. Debra didn't think that was fair! She knew sighted children who had hundreds of books. How could a child grow up to be a literate, independent adult without books?

Debra began transcribing popular children's books into braille, printing them on a braille printer her father made, and selling them for just the cost of the paper. Word spread among parents and teachers of blind children, and demand grew for more of her books. Friends helped her form a non-profit so she could start getting grants and donations to help with production costs. She named it Seedlings Braille Books for Children because she believes that if you give a child a book, the love for reading will grow. That first year, she made 221 books.

Since then, Seedlings has produced and distributed more than 560,000 books to blind children in more than 75 countries. Seedlings gives half of its books away free. The other half are sold for an average price of only $10 each, about half the cost of producing them.

Seedlings’ mission:

Seedlings’ mission is to increase the literacy rate among blind and visually impaired children by providing them with free and low-cost braille books. Braille literacy often makes the difference between prosperity and poverty. In the United States, 70 percent of blind adults are unemployed or underemployed. But of the 30 percent who have full-time jobs, 9 out of 10 are fluent in braille.

Seedlings’ goal:

Seedlings’ goal is to put more braille books into the hands of more blind children by increasing the number of braille books it distributes and the percentage of books it gives away free.

At this time, about 10 percent of the 63,000 blind children in the United States are proficient in braille. All too often, the written word has been inaccessible to them, and this is what Debra and the Seedlings staff are working to change.