This January, Oakland University will host a special exhibit of books on loan from the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).
The collection, "Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities," will debut at an open house from 4-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at OU’s Educational Resource Lab and will remain on display until Friday, Jan. 20.
The exhibit came together through the efforts of Linda M. Pavonetti, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Reading and Language Arts and vice president of IBBY. IBBY sends this travelling display to a variety of international locations each year. So far, the collection has made stops in Bologna, Italy, California and Chicago before visiting Oakland. From OU, the books will travel to New Delhi, India.
“Many of OU's students have had limited exposure to international books. Because of that, there is a perception that the US has cornered the market for children's publishing. This exhibit may be the first step in understanding that we all need to help children learn - no matter the situation or difficulties. One of the best ways of doing this is through high quality books for all children in their native languages,” Dr. Pavonetti noted.
Featuring a variety of materials and illustrative styles, the collection offers rare books that present an often tactile reading experience. Some books are presented in Braille with embossed pictures, others are made of cloth, and still others have attached pieces that are meant to be handled.
Designed to promote understanding and knowledge as well as to foment ideas for the publication and promotion of new books in the field, the stories in this collection feature special needs topics, characters and designs.
“The importance of this type of collection is clear to anyone who has ever tried to find reading material for children who are visually impaired,” said Dr. Pavonetti. “Books printed in Braille, BLISS, or other tactile languages are rare and expensive. They are generally not available in libraries or bookstores. Parents and teachers of hearing impaired students also understand the need for books that mirror other children who deal with the same problems their children face on a daily basis.”
The award-winning books in this exhibit have been selected from more than 130 nominees submitted by IBBY National Sections and friends of the Haug School in Oslo, Norway, where the collection of more than 3,500 books is housed.
Truly an international collection, the books hail from several nations around the globe, including Japan, Finland, France, Spain, England, Australia, United States, South Africa, Italy, Quebec, Mexico, China, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, Korea, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Iran.
OU’s exhibit is sponsored by the Department of Reading and Language Arts. The Human Development and Child Studies department, OUCARES, and the ERL all worked to plan the event.
For more information about OU’s reading and language arts programs, view the website
. To learn more about the ERL, visit oakland.edu/erl