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Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) has partnered with Brisbane-based Braille House to produce Twin Vision (Braille and English) versions of the Birdie’s Tree illustrated book series.

The Birdie’s Tree series was created by CHQ’s Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health to help young children process their emotions during, and after, a disruptive event.

The 11-book series follows Birdie and her friend Mr Frog as they help each other through a natural disaster such as a cyclone, flood or fire, or more recently, understanding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Braille House, a Braille production facility and free lending library in Annerley, has created Twin Vision versions of all 11 Birdie’s Tree books to lend to children with vision impairment.

Children’s Health Queensland senior psychologist and co-author of the Birdie’s Tree books, Dr Andrea Baldwin, said expanding the series translations to include Braille would allow more families to support their children through disruptive events.

“In stressful times like natural disasters, children pick up on their parents’ emotions, and this can have immediate and long-term impacts on their emotional wellbeing,” Dr Baldwin said.

“A parent or teacher reading with a child, or siblings reading together, can help a child understand the events going on around them and support their mental health and emotional wellbeing.”

Braille House General Manager, Richard Barker, said the Twin Vision books would allow children who are blind or have low vision to read the Birdie’s Tree books on their own or with family, friends and educators.

“It’s important to provide resources to help people with vision impairments of all ages cope with natural disasters,” Mr Barker said.

“Braille House recently produced an emergency management guide for adults in Braille and the Birdie’s Tree series is the perfect complement to that for children.

“All children have a right to the benefits of reading. Reading stimulates children’s imagination, gives them the company of fictional characters and brings them joy.”

Suzy Roy from Fitzgibbon in Brisbane’s north is learning Braille with her six-year-old daughter Emily, who has Posterior Polymorphous Corneal Dystrophy, a rare genetic condition that can lead to vision loss or blindness.

Emily has low vision in her right eye and no vision in her left eye. Mrs Roy said Emily was excited to borrow her first set of books from Braille House and Birdie’s Tree would be on their reading list.

“How do you explain to a child why you’re displaced from your home because there’s been flooding that needs fixing? That takes time,” Mrs Roy said.

“Having these books in Braille and English available to borrow for free from Braille House is amazing.”

Birdie’s Tree Twin Vision books are available to borrow for free from the Braille House library now.

To borrow a Birdie’s Tree book free from the Braille House library, visit Braille House online or call 07 3848 5257.

To read Birdie’s Tree books in other formats and languages, including Auslan, visit Birdie’s Tree – Growing together through natural disasters | CHQ (