11/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Young Adult Books Needed For Braille Class

Here's a letter by Patti Smith (not that one), a Detroit elementary school teacher of visually impaired students, sent to writer Cory Doctorow. She discusses the difficulty in producing Braille translations of books that aren't available electronically:

I am Patti Smith and I teach at OW Holmes, which is an elementary-middle school in Detroit Public Schools in Detroit, Michigan. My students are visually impaired, ranging in age from 2nd grade to 8th grade. Five of my students are Braille writers and two are learning Braille. I would love books for young adults in electronic format (Word or RTF) so that I can plug the file into my computer program and emboss the book in Braille so my kids can have something to read. I have found it very difficult to find books for young adults; most seem to be written for very young readers. My Braille readers are all age 11+ and it is a challenge to find relevant books for them to read. Thank you so much!!

Patti's story was written up on Boing Boing and she may now see dozens more books converted to electronic formats to allow for Braille translation.

If you want to make your own writing available electronically, upload it to a web-based distributor, such as TriggerStreet. Patti Smith teaches young adults, so if you want her to use your book for her students, make sure it's clean -- PG-13 at the most.