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ATIA 2014 Conference & Bookshare Roundup!

2014 March 9
by Bookshare Team Member
Educator viewing a Bookshare page on a computer screen

Educator viewing a Bookshare page on a computer screen

This year’s conference was a resounding success, and we thank the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) for the great work they do to organize the conference and other events throughout the year.

Conferences, like ATIA, are very important for learning new knowledge and for special opportunities to meet with new and long-standing Bookshare members in person.

Bringing together such a diverse community of educators, parents, researchers, and developers helps us all to grow and share new and better ways to support children and adults with disabilities.   To that end, here’s a quick roundup of our presentations, trainings and lively member events!

Training and Member Workshops

This year, Bookshare staffers met and presented information to record numbers of educators and parents. We held two hands-on training workshops:

  • The first was a Bookshare Beginner Training, where attendees learned how to get started with Bookshare and download their first book using Bookshare’s free reading tools.

We also held a Bookshare Member Feedback Meeting to thank our members for all the great work and mentoring they do every day with their students, parents, families, and other teachers. These member meetings are an important way to get feedback on Bookshare. We learn a lot about the daily use of the library and take all of the information back to our teams to improve our services.

Gerardo Capiel standing in front of a large screen.

Gerardo Capiel standing in front of a large screen.

ATIA Conference Presentations

In addition to our training workshops, we also presented information to ATIA conference attendees on four topics related to accessible formats and literacy. Here are brief descriptions of the topics:

Metadata Standards Related to Common Core

Gerardo Capiel, VP of Technology at Benetech, presented on new metadata standards and tools to help with the discovery of accessible common core materials.

Route 66 Literacy

Betsy Beaumon, VP and General Manager of Benetech Global Literacy, and Dr. Karen Erickson, Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, presented on the re-launch of Route 66 Literacy and new features to help adolescent and adult beginning readers learn how to read.

Accessible STEM Materials and Assessments

Betsy Beaumon delivered a second presentation on the latest developments in accessible STEM learning materials and assessments.

Reading Bookshare Books with Kurzweil

Mario Oliveros, Sr. Manager at Bookshare, presented with Kurzweil on finding and reading Bookshare titles with Kurzweil 3000 and Firefly.

ATIA was a busy and fascinating conference!  We know that not everyone can attend conferences, so we encourage you to keep your feedback coming. You can do this by subscribing to our discussions lists or commenting on Facebook. And learn more about our ongoing training workshops!

Stay tuned for our TCEA 2014 roundup blog coming soon!

The Bookshare Staff

Oh the Places We Go When We Read! Celebrating Dr. Seuss and Award-Winning Children’s Literature

2014 March 2
by Bookshare Team Member

Colorful image of Dr. Seuss with large eye glasses surrounded by many of his book characters

Colorful image of Dr. Seuss wearing large eye glasses surrounded by book characters.

You may not know Theodor Geisel by name, but when you hear the titles of his famous children’s literature, like One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and the Cat in the Hat, you’ll know that he is Dr. Seuss.

For more than 75 years, his books have charmed children and families around the world, and you can find many of his titles in the Bookshare library.

Dr. Seuss wanted children to laugh and to be challenged, entertained, and delighted by the joy of reading. His brilliantly written and playful books, such as Oh, the Places You Will Go!, have motivated millions of us.

Each year, on his birthday, March 2, we honor his legacy through a national initiative known as Read Across America. During the month, schools, publishers, businesses, and organizations hold reading events to foster the love of reading. The National Education Association (NEA) spearheads this event by offering lessons, activities, and information about happenings in U.S. schools. You can download a 2014 Read Across America poster for your classroom, too!

Image of ALA Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Image of ALA Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Did you know that there are many outstanding children’s authors who follow in the footsteps of Dr. Seuss? Each year, the American Library Association recognizes a select few authors with the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. Winners are chosen for their literary and artistic achievements in creatively and imaginatively engaging children. 

Book cover of the Watermelon Seed

Book cover of the Watermelon Seed

This year’s prestigious award is given to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers.  The winner, The Watermelon Seed, was written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli and published by Disney Hyperion Books. The book is about a watermelon-loving crocodile that becomes distraught after swallowing a seed that he believes will grow inside of him.

Bookshare has created a special collection of many of the 2014 award-winning titles from the ALA.  You can locate them in our children’s literature section. Many titles do have images, so look for the option to select a title either by “DAISY With Images” or just as “DAISY Text Only.


Book covers of many Dr. Seuss titles.

Book covers of many Dr. Seuss titles.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!  And to All Book Fans Everywhere… Enjoy Read Across America Month!

Bookshare members and sponsors, won’t you join us in celebrating Dr. Seuss and other award-winning children’s authors by downloading one book from the collection? Just one book can help a child go to new places and develop a love of reading!

We hope you’ll also post your favorite Dr. Seuss book on Facebook and share with us news of your Read Across America event—whether it’s in your home with your family or at your school or organization. 


Honoring Women in History—March

2014 February 24
by Bookshare Team Member
Collage of Famous Women in History

Collage of Famous Women in History

March is Women’s History Month. Do you know the name of a woman astronomer who discovered a comet in 1847? Who was the first woman Indian Chief to lead the Cherokee Nation? Who fought for a woman’s right to vote?

We’ve pulled together some interesting titles about women activists, leaders, poets, and individuals who conquered remarkable odds to improve society.

First, to answer our question about a woman astronomer.  Maria Mitchell (1818–1889) was an astronomer who discovered a comet, which was named after her, on October 1, 1847. She was the first woman elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1850) and the first professor of astronomy at Vassar College. Check out these titles on the search term astronomy.

Why do you think we should study women’s history?  Join us on Facebook and Twitter for a discussion about these incredible women. Enjoy!

Helen Keller – Children’s Book

Biography of a deaf-blind girl who became a famous writer. The book was guided by Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people. It includes a glossary, timeline, and illustrations.

Susan B. Anthony – Children’s Book

Biography of an early leader in the campaign for women’s rights.

American Heroes – Grade 3 NIMAC Textbook

Textbook available to U.S. public K-12 schools and organizations for use with students with IEPs.

Wilma Mankiller – Adolescents and Adults

Wilma Mankiller was the first woman in modern history to lead a major Native-American tribe, the Cherokee Nation (1945 – 2010). She tells her story (her political awakening came during the 1970 occupation of Alcatraz Island), interwoven with the complex history of the Cherokee Nation.

Madeleine Albright – Adolescents and Adults

Madeleine Korbel Albright was the first woman to ever hold the office of U.S. Secretary of State. Sworn into office in January 1997, she made headlines around the world.

Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet – Adolescent and Adults

An illuminating biography of Anne Bradstreet, the first writer and the first bestseller to emerge from the wilderness of the New World.

Women’s History for Beginners – Adolescents and Adults

History books have blurred, glossed over, or omitted the roles of women in many events throughout history and the progression of world cultures. What is women’s history? Is it the history of sex or gender?

Women’s History—Refocusing on the Past – Adolescents and Adults

A mix of primary source documents, articles, and illustrations on Women’s America.

Image of Eleanor Roosevelt with a headset on speaking into a microphone.

Image of Eleanor Roosevelt with a headset on speaking into a microphone.

Also, check out these titles about or by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, one of our amazing first ladies in the U.S., holding the post from 1933 to 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office. President Harry S. Truman once called Mrs. Roosevelt the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.

2014 Schneider Family Book Awards

2014 February 19
by Bookshare Team Member

The American Library Association (ALA) just announced the winners of the 2014 Schneider Family Book Awards. The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, and the Schneider Family Book Awards honor the artistic achievements of authors or illustrators who portray the disability experience. Awards are in three categories:

1) for child and adolescent audiences: birth through grade school (ages 0–8)

2) middle school (ages 9–13), and

3) teens (ages 14–18).

Learn about this year’s winners and download their books from the Bookshare library!

Award for Young Children

Book Cover of "A Splash of Read: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin"

Book Cover of “A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin”

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by  Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw. He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor, making things come alive. This picture book biography of self-taught African American folk artist Horace Pippin demonstrates the dogged determination of a wounded soldier to paint again. After a WWI injury threatened to end his potential artistic career, he trained himself to paint by supporting his injured arm with the other hand.


Book Cover of "Handbook for Dragon Slayers"

Book Cover of “Handbook for Dragon Slayers”

Award for Best Middle School Title

Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Tilda has never given much thought to dragons, attending instead to her endless duties and wishing herself free of a princess’s responsibilities. Supported by friends and dragons, Tilda realizes her physical limitations do not define her.



Award for Best Teen Title


Book Cover of "Rose Under Fire"

Book Cover of “Rose Under Fire”

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group.

Rose Justice is a young pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War. On her way back from a semi-secret flight in the waning days of the war, Rose is captured by the Germans and ends up in Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi women’s concentration camp.

 For more information on the Schneider Family Book Awards, visit

Ode to February…The Month of Hearts and Romance Novels!

2014 February 14
by Bookshare Team Member
Children's artwork of a heart

Children’s artwork of a heart in multi-colors.

February is a grand time to bundle up with a good romance novel.

According to the Romance Writers of America, two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending.

What better way to celebrate the month of love than to browse Bookshare’s collection of romance titles, or review this reference book of the 100 best selling romance novels!

Who are some of your favorite romance authors? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter

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Nora Roberts was born into a family of readers and had never known a time that she wasn’t reading or making up stories. During a blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of her most famous stories. After several manuscripts and rejections, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981.  Read more of Nora’s books.

Judith McNaught is a bestselling author of over a dozen historical and contemporary romance novels, with 30 million copies in print.  Judith was also the first female executive producer at a CBS radio station.  See a list of Judith’s books.

Linda Howard began to write stories at nine years old and wrote for twenty years for her own enjoyment She worked at a trucking company and got her first novel published in 1980.   See a list of Linda’s books.


The RITA Award is a golden statue of a women reading a book named after Rita Clay Estrada.

Robyn Carr is a RITA award-winning author of 25 novels. RITA is the most prominent award given throughout the genre of romantic fiction with a purpose to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas. The award is a golden statuette named after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada. It has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction.Robyn won RT’s Career Achievement Best Author Award in 2010 for contemporary romance.  See a list of Robyn’s books.

Lori Foster became a bestselling author in 1996 for Waldenbooks, Borders, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and the New York Times. Lori believes it’s important to give back to the community and routinely organizes events for young authors and organizations.  See a list of Lori’s books.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is one of today’s most beloved writers of romantic comedies. Susan wrote her first novel on an old typewriter at her kitchen table, and she is now on the New York Times bestseller list.  See a list of Susan’s books.

Linda Lael Miller is known as the “First Lady of the West,” and she is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. She delivers the stunning finale of her acclaimed series Big Sky Secrets. It is set in Parable, Montana, where love awaits self-made tycoon Landry Sutton. Read more of Linda’s titles.

Sabrina Jeffries has been dubbed “The Queen of the Sexy Regency Romance,” and she is a USA Today bestselling author. Sabrina was raised amidst the rubber plantations in Thailand with missionary parents. She has earned numerous placements on the New York Times and USA Today lists with Regency historicals that readers savor for her trademark sexy blend of witty dialogue and enterprising characters. Read her latest novel, When the Rogue Returns, about Victor Cale, who never imagined that his shy bride Isabella would use her talent for creating exquisite imitation jewels in a criminal way. Read more of Sabrina’s titles.

Sheryl Woods is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of more than 100 romance and mystery novels. She grew up in a small, riverfront town in Virginia and is a graduate of Ohio State University School of Journalism. Read her latest novel, Seaview Inn, about Luke Stevens, who has some serious issues after serving in Iraq. He travels to Seaview Key to hide out until he makes some decisions and gets his life back on track. The last thing he expects is to fall in love. Read more of Sheryl’s titles.

Jane Austen portrait.  She is sitting in a chair in a blue dress.

Portrait of Jane Austen. She is sitting in a chair in a blue dress.

Jane Austen is a legendary English novelist whose works of romantic fiction earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Read “Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets” to learn about her fundamental impact and influence on British Romanticism.  Read more about the infamous Jane Austen in the Bookshare library.

Parent Advocates for Learning Portability for Children with Chronic Illness

2014 February 10
Hailey Bopp

Hailey Bopp in her home.

Each year, thousands of students miss school due to a chronic illness and fall behind on their homework. This is the case for Hailey Bopp, a Texas youngster who is blind and has cognitive delays. “When Hailey misses school, she gets sad and depressed,” says Ann Bopp, her mom, “because she doesn’t get to read the books her teacher and classmates are reading.”

To mitigate her daughter’s frustration, Ann signed Hailey up for a Bookshare individual membership and advocates for the online library to other families in similar situations.

“Using Bookshare and an iPad, Hailey keeps up with reading assignments and that makes for a better learning experience,” says Ann. “When I first observed how favorably she reacted to downloading and reading a digital book, I knew we were on the right track! Her reading fatigue is minimal now and no more hunting for titles, lugging heavy volumes to and from the hospital, and missing schoolwork. When we equip sick children with learning portability, they have a better chance of academic progress.”

Ann tells other parents, “Meet with your principal, librarian, or special education teacher to discuss the benefits of accessible books. Ask teachers for a list of novels that your child is required to read. Do a book search on the Bookshare  website to determine if the titles are there. Encourage an educator to sign their school up for a Bookshare organizational membership so they can download K-12 textbooks on behalf of children who qualify. Check out Bookshare’s Reading List feature to help teachers stay organized and to assign reading lessons on time.”

Today, Hailey is a completely independent reader. Her mom says, “Every child with print disabilities can benefit from resources like Bookshare and reading technologies to ensure learning portability. I encourage parents to give digital accessible books a try!”

Watch this video tutorial on how to use Bookshare’s Reading List feature now!

P.S. Texas educators and parents are encouraged to learn more about Bookshare and local training through the Accessible Books for Texas program.

About Accessible Books for Texas (ABT)

Through the TEA-funded ABT program, Benetech delivers customized, face-to-face AIM and Bookshare training to educators and parents throughout Texas and applies dedicated resources to Texas membership, support questions and Texas book requests.  Anyone interested in a similar partnership with Benetech, please contact Christine Jones at  for information.

Winter Olympics 2014—Let the Games Begin!

2014 February 3
by Bookshare Team Member
Speed skaters racing on the ice.

Speed skaters racing on the ice.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, start on February 6! To help inaugurate this amazing international competition, the Bookshare Collections Development team has put together a wonderful list of books for all ages.

Do you want to know how and when the first games started? Do you want to learn more about specific events like hockey or skiing? Do you want to read about Winter Olympic athletes, like speed skater Apolo Ohno?

Get ready for the winter games with these great books, add them to your Reading List, and share with others!

Books for Children and Adolescents

Tacky and the Winter Games (grades PreK-1)

Tacky the penguin wants to compete in EVERY winter sport. Will his friends and teammates survive his enthusiasm?

Winter Olympics: A True Book (grades 3-6)

An excellent history of over 100 years of winter sports in the Olympics.

Snowboard Duel (grades 4-6)

The new snowboard team is “boys only”—that leaves Brian’s best friend Hannah out in the cold!

Ice Dreams (grades 4-8)

Maya’s family wants her to carry on her mother’s Olympic dreams in figure skating—how will she tell them that it’s hockey that’s her real love?

White Gates  (grades 5-7)

Is there really a curse on Snow Park’s snowboarding team? Will Tor and his friends unravel the mystery before more are hurt?

Gold Medal Winter (grades 6-8)

Esperanza’s dream of competing for gold in figure skating is turning into a nightmare of distractions and challenges!

Catching Air! The Wild World of Snowboarding (grades 6-8)

Experts at Sports Illustrated give you a fascinating inside glimpse of this world of high stakes and action and the athletes who make it their own.

Slalom (grades 7-9)

Sandro Birch is a born skier—but will the return of his long-absent father help or harm his dreams of greatness on the slopes?

The Finnish Line (grades 8-10)

Ski jumper “Mo” Clark learns about more than just sports in her first time living and competing abroad.

Winter Olympics: An Insider’s Guide to the Legend, Lore and Events of the Games (grades 9-12)

Each chapter reviews a different competition—its history, legendary competitors, judging, and other fun facts that will put you in the know as you watch this year’s Games.

Where Countries Come to Play (grades 9-12)

An authoritative account of the tradition and dramas of Olympic ice hockey competition—including the legendary “Miracle on Ice” of 1980.

Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun (grades 9-12)

Inspiring and entertaining “as-told-to” biography of Bode Miller, from humble beginnings to international skiing fame.

Books for Older and Adult Readers

To the Edge and Back

Chris Klug’s amazing odyssey spans a career as an elite Olympic snowboarder and triumph as an organ transplant survivor.

Boys of Winter

An ice-level view of the young amateur American hockey team that electrified their country in 1980 with their “miracle on ice.”

Zero Regrets

Speed skater Apolo Ohno shares the lessons he learned over a lifetime of striving and competing for Olympic gold.

White Heat: The Extreme Skiing Life

Wayne Johnson takes us into the high-risk, high-thrills world of elite skiers, men and women who challenge the boundaries of nature and their own selves.

Ice Breaker

Rudy Galindo tells the story of his battles against poverty, prejudice, and personal tragedy to reach the heights of figure skating success.

The Second Mark

Behind-the-scenes story of the controversial 2002 Olympic pairs skating competition: the human dramas surrounding the event and the confession of a corrupt judge that led to the unprecedented awarding of a second gold medal.

Pretty Good for a Girl

Tina Basich was never interested in being “pretty good for a girl,” and she pushed the envelope for acceptance of women as legitimate snowboard competitors.

My Sergei

The fairytale romance of Russian figure skaters Sergei Grinkov and Katia Gordeeva was beautiful, public—and all too short.

Ice: Great Moments in the History of Hard, Cold Water

Where would winter sports be without ice? Learn more about the slippery substance from a cultural historian in Minnesota (where they know a thing or two about life below freezing)!

 Special thanks to the Bookshare Collections Development department for this super list of accessible books.


The Sharjah International Book Fair: Towards Accessibility without Borders

2014 January 31
by Bookshare Team Member

Have you ever wondered how Bookshare builds such a rich and varied collection of titles so quickly in the library? Each month, we add more than 3000 titles to engage the hearts and minds of members of all ages. We currently have 223,000+ (and counting) titles in the collection. Educational and general interest trade titles in English comprise the majority of our collection, but our goal is to bring Bookshare services to many more people with print disabilities in more geographies and languages. To that end, we’re working hard to expand partnerships with the international publishing community.

That’s where Robin Seaman, Benetech’s Director of Content Acquisition for our Global Literacy Program, steps in. Robin’s job is to engage publishers and other industry stakeholders in a deep conversation about the power of ebooks to change lives both in the U.S. and around the world.  Thanks to the generosity of publishers who grant us the rights to distribute their books internationally, people with print disabilities in nearly fifty countries around the world have access to over 100,000 of the books in our collection.

In pursuit of making Bookshare a worldwide resource, Robin travels across the country and around the world to talk with publishers from every sector of the business about making their content available through Bookshare and giving us the rights to distribute internationally.

Robin visited the Emirates Association for Visually Impaired (EAVI) at their Headquarters in Sharjah. Adel Abdullah Alzamar, Chairman of the Board (left) and Dr. Ahmed Alomran Alshamsi, Vice President (right).

Robin visited the Emirates Association for Visually Impaired (EAVI) at their Headquarters in Sharjah. Adel Abdullah Alzamar, Chairman of the Board (left) and Dr. Ahmed Alomran Alshamsi, Vice President (right).

Last November, Robin took a long flight to attend the Sharjah International Book Fair in the United Arab Emirates’ (U.A.E.). This prestigious book fair is organized by the U.K. Publishers Association and more than 35 countries were represented. Robin kept a journal of her travels, including wonderful photographs, and wrote about her journey on Benetech’s Blog. Robin says, “In the U.S., Benetech and many others are making excellent strides toward solving the ‘accessible book famine.’ However, we know that our work to meet the global need for accessible content has just begun. I’m excited to talk with new publishers about our Bookshare International initiative and extend an open invitation to the publishing community to join us in this quest.”

Teacher-Recommended Titles for Black History Month

2014 January 28
by Bookshare Team Member
Donna Schneider, Assistive Technology Specialist and Bookshare Mentor Teacher

Donna Schneider, Assistive Technology Specialist

Earlier, we wrote about Black History Month.

In this blog, we want to share some great reading recommendations from one of our amazing sponsor members, Donna Schneider.  Donna is an Assistive Technology Specialist and Bookshare Mentor Teacher.  She gave us her list of teacher-recommended books to read and learn about  black history.  Some titles meet Common Core Standards, so please share them with other teachers and students.

Here’s a tip! Use Reading Lists to save, organize, and share these books with students who have Individual Memberships.  View this tutorial for educators or this tutorial for Individual Members.

* * *

Illustrated image of two children holding a stack of books.

Illustrated image of two children holding a stack of books.

Recommended Reading for Children

Free to Be You and Me by Marlo Thomas

Comics, songs, and the stories that give messages to young children about why they are in this world.

 A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, Caroline Binch

Although classmates say that she can’t play Peter Pan in the school play because she’s black and a girl, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.

Anansi the Spider: A Tale from Ashanti by Gerald McDermott

Anansi the Spider is one of the great folk heroes of the world. He is a rogue, a mischief-maker, and a wise, lovable creature that triumphs over larger foes. In this traditional Ashanti tale, Anansi sets out on a long, difficult journey.

The Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad by F.N. Monjo

A young boy and his father help a family of slaves escape to freedom via the underground railroad.

Sounder by William H. Armstrong

It was a horrible nightmare. The boy’s father was taken away by the sheriff, and his dog Sounder was hit by a shotgun blast. The boy has to save Sounder.

* * *

Recommended Reading for Adolescents and Older Readers

Illustrated image of two  teens sitting on a stack of books reading.

Illustrated image of two teens sitting on a stack of books reading.

Through My Eyes  by Margo Lundell and Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges recounts the story of her involvement, as a six-year-old, in the integration of her school in New Orleans in 1960.

 My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Christine King Farris

Looks at the early life of Martin Luther King, Jr., as seen through the eyes of his older sister.

I Never Had It Made: The Autobiography of Jackie Robinson by Jackie Robinson

A straightforward yet inspiring story of what it took to be the first man of color to break into the white world of professional sports.

The Gold Cadillac by Mildred D. Taylor

Two black girls living in the North are proud of their family’s beautiful new Cadillac until they take it on a visit to the South and encounter racial prejudice for the first time.

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

A black family living in Mississippi during the Depression of the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination, which its children do not understand. This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 6-8.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill a Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. Meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 9-10.

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals

In 1957, Melba Pattillo turned 16. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

“Never before, in the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of black people’s lives been seen on the stage,” observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959. Meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12.

About the Bookshare Mentor Teacher Program

This program began in 2010 to support the nation’s top teachers and assistive technology specialists with training tools to engage educators, parents, and students in the effective use of Bookshare’s online accessible library and reading technologies. Over 500 educators and specialists have now joined the network and work in their local communities and schools to advocate for students with print disabilities. Bookshare Mentor Teachers also develop and share best practices with other teachers across the United States.


Leading Accessible Communities – LIVE Discussion with Online Community Managers

2014 January 25
by Bookshare Team Member
BJ Wishinsky, Bookshare Social Media Coordinator

BJ Wishinsky, Bookshare Social Media Coordinator

Allison Hilliker, Benetech Operations Associate

Allison Hilliker, Benetech Operations Associate

January 27, 2014 is Community Manager Appreciation Day and we’re thrilled that two of Benetech’s employees, BJ Wishinsky, Bookshare’s Social Media Coordinator, and Allison Hilliker, Benetech’s Operations Associate, will team up to talk with community managers around the country on the important topic of accessibility.

Online Community Managers help individuals and organizations build connections online around common goals and personal, social, or business interests.

BJ and Allison’s goals are to help more community managers understand their role in removing barriers to access and inclusion for community members with disabilities. They will help other leaders in the field to learn about accessibility factors on social platforms including Facebook, Linked-In, and Twitter. Their panel discussion will ask the question, “What practices, tools, and resources can an online community use to remove barriers for people with disabilities?”

The hangout and online discussion will air live on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 9:00 pm Eastern time.

Visit the Leading Accessible Online Communities page for full bios of panelists, the questions that will be discussed, and to watch the live hangout.

You can also follow the simultaneous Twitter chat using the hashtags #CMAD and #a11y.

Accessibility Tip: When sharing an image with an online community, include a text description as a caption or metadata. This will allow screen readers used by the blind to read aloud the description of the image.

Learn more about accessibility and the importance of image descriptions at the DIAGRAM Center, managed by Benetech in partnership with the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and the US Fund for DAISY.