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“Bookshare Made a Difference” Contest Winners

Congratulations to all participants in the “Bookshare Made a Difference” Contest. This year, 210 people submitted entries, and over 2,000 people participated in the public voting! All entries were wonderful and very moving; there were some close votes. From your stories, you are all winners!

So who are the prize winners? Drum roll please…

  • The Grand Prize goes to Katy Noelani Kingery, the author of the entry, “From Baby Honu to the Ocean!
  • The 2nd and 3rd place winners were a tie! Congratulations to Teresa Paporello, the author of the very moving poem, “An Ode to Bookshare
  • And to Elizabeth (Beth) Heintz for the story, “No Longer Lost Between Large Print and Braille!”

Here are the stories:

From Baby Honu to the Ocean!

When I was younger, school was extremely difficult for me. I struggled with reading, writing, and spelling. When I was in the second grade, I went through diagnostic testing and found out that I have severe dyslexia and dysgraphia.

At my previous school, I would struggle to keep up, but my new school taught me foundational tools to aid my learning. Bookshare has allowed me to feel confident in myself and in my learning abilities. By using digital books that I have downloaded from Bookshare along with text-to-speech, I am able to read faster and comprehend the material better. Before, I hated reading, and Bookshare has transformed me into an avid reader! Once a baby sea turtle struggling through the sand to reach the ocean waters, and with Bookshare and a supportive learning environment, I’m now swimming with grace and beauty.

An Ode to Bookshare

In a prison of darkness, not of body but of mind,
No pictures, no colors, no light.
A starved imagination from eyes that are blind,
Craving words, wanting egress, missing sight.

A spirit that was breaking, but not disabled by far,
Found Bookshare, found wonder, found hope.
Emerging like a planet after eclipsing a star.
I can grow, I can dream, I can cope.

Thanks to those who scan the pages I’ve read hundreds of books.
So grateful, so helpful, so good.
From New York Times bestsellers to recipes from great cooks,
Loving access, living life, like I should.

Short of sounding profound, Bookshare has helped me to see,
New pictures, new colors, new light.
Traveling the world through your pages, now happy to be…
Reading daily, always learning, future bright.

No Longer Lost Between Large Print and Braille!       

As a parent of a visually-impaired child, you’ll never know what a difference Bookshare has made in our lives! My elementary son LOVES to read, but is losing some of his already limited vision. Large print books easily tire his eyes, we don’t always have his adaptive reading equipment with us, and he just beginning to learn Braille. Yet Bookshare has enabled him to download books and “read” to his heart’s content!  He is even able to access books for school, which allows him to keep up with his classmates and current assignments. My greatest desire is for him to continually rediscover his love of reading, in whatever format that might be. Bookshare is helping him develop a sense of confidence, responsibility and independence…not just in learning, but for life. And it has given this overwhelmed Mom a glimpse of what CAN be. I am so grateful!


  1. davisgraham

    It was a blessing to read all of the life changes which have taken place, Thank you to all the wonderful persons who work at Bookshare and Benetech for changing our lives, I’m sure all of us can say there are not enough words to tell you what a difference in our lives you have made. Although this was a good sample.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

  2. Each of these, for different reasons, brought tears to my eyes. All I can say is, “YES!”

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