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A 2015 Summer Reading List for Visually Impaired Young Patrons

It’s not what I would call an overly well known fact but here at New York Public Library we are proud to include the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library amongst our branches.  The site “provides talking books and magazines and braille for people who are blind, visually impaired, or are otherwise physically unable to read standard print.”  And each year when the five boroughs of NYC create a summer reading list we try to note when books are available in braille or talking book formats.  Just the same, it’s usually a paltry number of titles, so this year the incomparable Jordan Boaz did the world a solid and created a summer reading list of braille and digital book titles consistent with the 2015 theme (“Every Hero Has a Story”).  If you serve a community that has need of such titles, feel free to use this list.




Three Bears in a Boat     Soman, David                BR21018

Afraid to face their mother after breaking her beautiful blue seashell, three bears set out on a high-seas adventure to try to find a replacement. PRINT/BRAILLE.



Gaston          DiPucchio, Kelly                        BR21020

A proper bulldog raised in a poodle family and a tough poodle raised in a bulldog family meet one day in the park. PRINT/BRAILLE.



Baby Tree     Blackall, Sophie                        BR21021

After learning that his parents are expecting a baby, a young boy asks several people where babies come from and gets a different answer from each before his parents have a chance to give the right answer. PRINT/BRAILLE.



Adventures of Beekle   Santat, Dan               BR21022

An imaginary friend waits a long time to be imagined by a child and given a special name, and finally he does the unimaginable–he sets out on a quest to find his perfect match in the real world. PRINT/BRAILLE.


Bone by Bone      Levine, Sara                      BR21035

Guide to discovering the similarities and differences between human and animal skeletons. PRINT/BRAILLE.


Niño Wrestles the World    Morales, Yuyi       BR21026

Lucha libre champion Niño has no trouble fending off monstrous opponents, but when his little sisters awaken from their naps, he is in for a no-holds-barred wrestling match that will truly test his skills. PRINT/BRAILLE.



Rosie Revere, Engineer     Beaty, Andrea      BR21028

Aspiring young engineer Rosie must first conquer her fear of failure before she can create the new gizmos and gadgets she dreams about. PRINT/BRAILLE.



How to Cheer Up Dad        Koehler, Fred       BR21029

A young elephant sees his dad in a bad mood and tries to cheer him up, not realizing his own mischief caused the grumpy mood in the first place. PRINT/BRAILLE.



Extraordinary Jane      Harrison, Hannah E.    BR21030

Jane the dog doesn’t have a unique talent in the circus like the rest of her family, until the ringmaster discovers what is truly special about her. PRINT/BRAILLE.



I Am Jazz            Herthel, Jessica                 BR21044

Autobiography of Jazz Jennings, a transgender child, who recounts her early awareness that she is a girl in spite of male anatomy and the acceptance she finds through a wise doctor who explains her natural transgender status. PRINT/BRAILLE.



Biggest Snowman Ever        Kroll, Steven          DB79775

When the mayor of Mouseville announces a contest, mice Clayton and Desmond compete to win the prize for building the biggest snowman. Commercial audiobook.


How the Meteorite Got to the Museum      

Hartland, Jessie                                    DB79410       

Recounts the steps that brought a meteor from outer space, across the eastern US, to the roof of a car in Peekskill, New York in 1992. Later, part of it was verified, tested, and exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History.


EARTH Book         Parr, Todd                              DB79690

Illustrates how children can help protect the Earth and make it a better place. Commercial audiobook.


Rain Came Down  Shannon, David                     DB79773

An unexpected rain shower causes hilarious chaos among the members of a small community. Commercial audiobook.


Pigsty              Teague, Mark                                DB79774

When Wendell doesn’t listen to his mom and clean up his room, a whole herd of pigs comes to live with him. Commercial audiobook.


Alice the Fairy                Shannon, David             DB79776

Alice, who claims to be a temporary fairy, still has a lot to learn, such as how to make her clothes put themselves away in the closet and how to float her dog on the ceiling. Commercial audiobook.


Gingerbread Man  Schmidt, Karen                      DB79889

After a daring escape from the oven, the Gingerbread Man is chased by a little boy, an old man and woman, a group of farmers, a bear, and a wolf–and he outruns them all! But will the clever fox outsmart the quick cookie? Commercial audiobook.


Giraffes Can’t Dance            Andreae, Giles       DB79890

Gerald the giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance, until he finds the right music. Commercial audiobook.


Bad Case of Stripes              Shannon, David     DB79891

In order to ensure her popularity, Camilla Cream always does what is expected, until the day arrives when she no longer recognizes herself. Commercial audiobook.


Memoirs of a Hamster          Scillian, Devin        DB78669

Though Seymour, a pet hamster, thinks life is perfect inside his cage, Pearl the family cat talks Seymour into exploring the sunroom outside the cage. But once he’s out, Seymour misses his cozy–and safe–home.



The New Kid at School         McMullan, Kate      BR16997

Although small and tenderhearted, Wiglaf’s destiny is to become a hero. So he heads off to the Dragon Slayers’ Academy not expecting to be sent out to slay the dragon Gorzil on the very first day of school.


Revenge Of The Dragon Lady   McMullan,Kate  BR18126

After accidentally killing a dragon, Wiglaf hopes his friends at Dragon Slayers’ Academy will help him be a hero when he faces the dragon’s mother, Seetha, the Beast from the East. Sequel to February Friend (BR16997).


Nate the Great and the Phony Clue

Sharmat,Marjorie Weinman                 BR07462

When Nate the Great finds a torn piece of paper on his doorstep with “vita” written on it in ink, he and his dog Sludge set off to find out why.


The Puppy Place                   Miles, Ellen             BR20263

A guide for finding the right dog for you and your family. Discusses different breeds and offers tips on providing the right equipment, food, and training for your new pet.


Magic Bone: Careful What You Sniff For           

Krulik, Nancy E.                                     BR20366

As punishment for breaking a vase, sheepdog puppy Sparky is banished to the backyard. He digs up a magical bone and gets transported to London.



Dogs on Duty         Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw     BR19626

Details the training and jobs military working dogs, or MWDs, including jumping out of aircraft, searching for bombs, and protecting their handlers.


For Good Measure: The Ways We Say How Much, How Far, How Heavy, How Big, How Old

                                        Robbins, Ken                 BR20005

Explains units of measure–such as foot, yard, ton, teaspoon, bushel, second, month–and each word’s history and meaning. PRINT/BRAILLE.


Amelia Bedelia Unleashed   Parish, Herman     BR20029

When Amelia Bedelia asks her parents for a baby brother or sister, her dad eagerly suggests getting a dog instead. To find the dog of her dreams, she helps Diana walk dogs and Eric groom his dog for a dog show, which doesn’t go as planned.


Look up! : Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer                           Burleigh, Robert                           BR20035

Biography of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921), an astronomer who helped discover the first method to correctly measure distances in space during a time when women were not allowed to use the telescope in observatories. PRINT/BRAILLE.


Humphrey’s World Of Pets  Birney, Betty         BR20351

Humphrey, the hamster from classroom 26, provides tips on finding and caring for the right pet for you. Lists fun facts–and tells jokes–about gerbils, frogs, cats, and other animal friends.



Lost Stone: The Kingdom of Wrenly, Book 1    

Quinn, Jordan                                        DB79006

When Lucas, Prince of Wrenly, is finally allowed to play with Clara, the daughter of the queen’s seamstress, the pair decide to team up and search the land for a missing jewel.


Lulu’s Mysterious Mission    Viorst, Judith          DB79094

When Lulu’s parents go on vacation, the formidable Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinsky comes to babysit. Lulu behaves as badly as possible to get her to leave, until Ms. Solinsky reveals her secret.


March Mischief: Calendar Mysteries  Roy, Ron DB79104

When three leprechaun statues disappear just before St. Patrick’s Day, Bradley, Brian, Nate, Lucy, and other friends follow clues in order to solve the mystery.


Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake   Sternberg, Julie                                                                                                    DB79130

When Eleanor’s best friend Pearl is assigned to be the new student’s buddy, Eleanor fears she can’t compete. But a new set of problems arises when Eleanor’s chosen for the lead in the springtime musical.


Judy Moody and Stink: The Big Bad Blackout  

McDonald, Megan                         DB79412

As Hurricane Elmer hits, Judy, Stink, and the entire Moody clan hunker down and ride out the storm. But when the power goes out, Grandma Lou proposes some activities to pass the time in the dark.


Captain Awesome vs. Nacho Cheese Man      

Kirby, Stan                                     DB79494

When second-grader Eugene’s favorite comic book goes missing, he blames his best friend Charlie, even though he has no evidence.


Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse     

Kuhlmann, Torben                                DB79746

In a country far away, a new invention–the mechanical mousetrap–has caused all the mice but one to flee to America. Now stranded in this dangerous place, the last mouse decides to build a plane and fly to the land of freedom. Translated from German by Suzanne Levesque.


June Jam: Calendar Mysteries  Roy, Ron          DB79758

As a Father’s Day gift to the twins’ dad, Bradley, Brian, and their friends Lucy and Nate try to identify and stop whatever creature is biting fruits and vegetables in the garden.


Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive  

DiCamillo, Kate                              DB80240

Leroy Ninker dreams of being a cowboy. He has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse–until he meets Maybelline, and then it’s love at first sight. But when Leroy forgets a rule when caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Commercial audiobook. For grades 2-4.


Buried Sunlight              Bang, Molly                    DB80137

Authors present a clear, concise explanation of the fossil-fuel energy cycle that began with the sun and now runs most of the manufacturing, transportation, and energy use in our world.



Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities      Jung, Mike                                                                                                     BR19809

Twelve-year-old Vincent and his fellow members of the Captain Stupendous Fan Club help a new superhero learn how to use his–or should that be her?–powers.


The Tales of Beedle the Bard        Rowling, J.K.                                                                                                        BR18267

The heroes and heroines who triumph in these five stories demonstrate great kindness, common sense, and ingenuity rather than powerful magic.


Adventures of the Greek Heroes McLean, Mollie                                                                                                      BR03297

Adventures of six Greek heroes including Hercules, Theseus and Perseus.


The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom 

Healy, Christopher                                BR19625

The lazy bards have it all wrong–there are actually four princes charming: Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav. Instead of rescuing princesses, they team up to battle dangerous creatures to stop an evil plot that endangers their kingdoms.


Are All the Giants Dead?  Norton, Mary              BR04285

A reporter takes a young boy on a moonlight visit to a fanciful world where he meets Beauty and the Beast, now the middle-aged parents of a lovely daughter who has been captured by an evil spirit


I Never Wanted To Be Famous   Clifford, Eth    BR07093

Humorous story about Goody Tribble, an average thirteen-year-old with average grades and an average life. But when he saves a choking baby at the dentist’s office and becomes a local hero, his ambitious mother launches an ambitious campaign to make him really famous and, maybe, even president of the United States.


Flora and Ulysses         DiCamillo, Kate              BR20592

Comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman rescues a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner. She is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates incredible powers of strength and flight after being revived.


Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

Levy, Dana Alison                         BR20590

The adventures of a family with two fathers, four adopted boys, and a variety of pets as they make their way through a school year and deal with a grumpy new neighbor.


Third Grade Angels               Spinelli, Jerry         BR20583

George “Suds” Morton competes with his third-grade classmates to earn the first halo of the year for good behavior. Being good turns out to be more stressful than he anticipated.


Starry River of the Sky         Lin, Grace              BR20448

Young runaway Rendi gets a job as a chore boy for the innkeeper in the remote village of Clear Sky. He takes note of the peculiar inhabitants and their problems–and the missing moon.



Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons

 Cowell, Cressida                                  DB79023

It’s Hiccup’s birthday, but he needs to save his dragon, Toothless, from being banished. He sneaks into the Meathead Public Library to steal the Vikings’ sacred book, but must brave the Hairy Scary Librarian, the army of Meathead warriors, and the driller dragons. Commercial audiobook.


Lord and Lady Bunny–Almost Royalty!      Horvath, Polly                                                                                        DB79113

Madeleine and her hippie parents from Mr. and Mrs. Bunny–Detectives Extraordinaire! (DB 76222) travel to England to run a candy shop. Meanwhile Mr. and Mrs. Bunny also travel to England, where Mrs. Bunny tries to weasel her way into the ranks of royalty. Commercial audiobook.


Fairest of All: Whatever After  Mlynowski, Sarah DB79339

After moving to a new house, ten-year-old Abby and her younger brother Jonah discover an antique mirror that transports them into the Snow White fairy tale. Commercial audiobook.


Candy Smash                Davies, Jacqueline       DB79322

As Valentine’s Day approaches and a crush on a classmate develops, Evan develops a secret fondness for writing poetry. But his sister Jessie plans on exposing all in her newspaper.




Magic Trap     Davies, Jacqueline                       DB79381

Siblings Evan and Jessie try to put on a show in the face of an approaching hurricane, but nothing prepares them for what blows into town–their long-lost dad.


Flutter: The Story of Four Sisters and One Incredible Journey                        Moulton, Erin E.                     DB79488

Nine-year-old Maple and her older sister, Dawn, must work together to face treacherous terrain, wild animals, and poachers as they trek through Vermont’s Green Mountains seeking a miracle for their prematurely born sister.


Dash               Larson, Kirby                                         DB79541

When her family is forced into an internment camp, Mitsi Kashino is separated from her home, her classmates, and her beloved dog Dash. Mitsi clings to her one connection to the outer world, the letters from the kindly neighbor who is caring for Dash. Commercial audiobook.


Island: A Story of the Galápagos   Chin, Jason DB79701

Biography of a Galápagos island–from birth, through adolescence, to adulthood and beyond.


Dexter the Tough  Haddix, Margaret Peterson  DB79761

After Dexter punches a kid on the first day, a sympathetic teacher and the writing assignment she gives the class help the fourth-grader deal with being the new kid in school.


I Survived Series, Books 1-10     Tarshis, Lauren   DB80018

Books one through ten, written between 2010 and 2014, feature kids surviving terrifying and exciting events throughout history.



Blood of Olympus: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 5

Riordan, Rick                                 BR20537

The Greek and Roman demigods must prevent the Earth Mother, Gaea, from waking and, at the same time, stop war from breaking out at Camp Half-Blood.


Rain Reign             Martin, Ann M.                       BR20539

Struggling with Asperger’s, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog. But when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to the limits of her comfort zone–which may mean leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.


Brown Girl Dreaming  Woodson, Jacqueline     BR20541

Autobiography told through vivid poems. Jacqueline Woodson explores her childhood as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement.


P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows 

Lawrence, Caroline                       BR20547

1862 Nevada. Twelve-year-old P.K. Pinkerton’s detective agency is thriving, and he takes on a partner, Ping. Then Opal Blossom abducts P.K. and hires him to track her ex-fiancé and P.K.’s mentor, Poker Face Jace. Some violence.


Storm                      MacHale, D.J.                        BR20503

Tucker and his surviving friends, from SYLO (BR 20161), escape the quarantine on Pemberwick Island, only to find the mainland caught in the middle of a battle between the air force and the navy. Some violence.


“The President Has Been Shot!”

Swanson, James L.                      BR20521

Account of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) in Dallas, Texas. Some violence.


Strike              MacHale, D.J.                                BR20527

While on the run from the SYLO team, Tucker, Tori, and Kent are driven directly into another base of the enemy, where they become prisoners and await their fate. Sequel to Storm (BR 20503). Some violence.


Handbook for Dragon Slayers   Haskell, Merrie      BR20379

While visiting a neighboring noble to assist him with his tax records, reluctant Princess Matilda is kidnapped by her cousin in a plot to steal her lands. Matilda’s crush Parz and handmaiden Judith rescue her, and the trio go on the run–and learn dragon slaying.


Shadow Girl                   Stine, R. L.                     BR12858

Spending a month with her cousin Jada near Chicago, Selena is dismayed by the mean tricks Jada plays on her. Then Selena finds a secret room with a superhero costume inside it and new dangers to fear.


Jessica Darling’s It List    McCafferty, Megan    BR20579

The day before seventh grade begins, twelve-year-old Jessica Darling gets a list from her sister, whose popularity and beauty made her a junior-high standout. But when Jessica tries to follow the advice, all goes awry. She even loses her best friend.



My Brother is a Big, Fat Liar: Middle School      

Patterson, James                          DB79397

Georgia Khatchadorian plans to excel at Hills Village Middle School in all the places her troublemaking brother Rafe failed. Commercial audiobook.


Brown Girl Dreaming     Woodson, Jacqueline DB80026

In this autobiography told through vivid poems, Woodson explores her childhood as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement. Commercial audiobook.


Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy    Foxlee, Karen DB78958

After the death of her mother, eleven-year-old Ophelia suspends her disbelief in things nonscientific when she meets an extraordinary boy trapped in a museum where her father works. Commercial audiobook.


Rain Reign                     Martin, Ann M.               DB79921

Struggling with Asperger’s, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog. But when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to the limits of her comfort zone–which may mean leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.


Great Greene Heist               Johnson, Varian    DB79874

After the last disaster, prankster Jackson Greene tries to fix his reputation at Maplewood Middle School. But when fellow student Keith tries to steal the election for school president from Jackson’s former best friend Gabriela, Jackson assembles a team to thwart the challenger.


I Am Malala            Yousafzai, Malala                  DB79878

Memoir of corecipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Recounts how Malala risked her life for the right to go to school. Raised in a changing Pakistan, Malala stood up against the Taliban and remained an activist for girls’ education. Commercial audiobook.


Girl from the Tar Paper School    Kanefield, Teri  DB79529

Describes the peaceful protest organized by teenager Barbara Rose Johns in order to secure a permanent building for her segregated high school in Virginia in 1951, and explains how her actions helped fuel the civil rights movement.


Night Gardener      Auxier, Jonathan                   DB79649

Irish orphans, fourteen-year-old Molly and ten-year-old Kip, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be. Soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.


Space Rocks!                O’Donnell, Tom                      DB79653

Chorkle describes the adventures of Earth children Hollins, Becky, Nicki, and Little Gus,  who are marooned on an asteroid,as he watches over them with his five eyes.


On a Clear Day             Myers, Walter Dean      DB79719

In 2035, Dahlia Grillo, a sixteen-year-old math whiz, joins with six other American teens traveling to England to meet with groups from around the world in hopes of stopping C8, the companies that control nearly everything for their own benefit. Unrated. Commercial audiobook.


To find a Braille and Talking Book Library serving your area go to

Many thanks to Jill Rothstein for passing this list along and to Jordan Boaz for creating it. If you’d like to know more about the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library you can watch this recent video:

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Here’s a 45 second clip of my visit to the Utah Library for the Blind where I’m seeing my picture book in Braille for the first time. These picture books are made so a sighted person and a person who is blind can share the book together. Only the words are translated; not the descriptions of the pictures. Hope you can open this link: