London Lucks out and gets another new Ability Guidebook! This one is for Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament.
One of these days I am going to get completely caught up! One book at a time…
In the summer of 2015 I travelled to Peru as a National Education Association Global Fellow. It was an amazing experience and we saw some of the great museums and cultural sights of Peru including Machu Picchu. The Peru Department of Education welcomed us and we toured schools and met students and teachers at one of Peru’s most respected schools and again at one of Peru’s poorest school. It was an incredibly enriching experience.
My way of paying back the lovely people of Peru who treated me with such kindness and respect is to make Ability Guidebooks. I’ve previously posted a book for the Inca Museum in Cusco and now I’m thrilled to add another book to the list for Peru.
To wrap up Ability Guidebooks Explore Finland we have a final book! This one is for Senate Square.
In a perfect world every airport, train station and metro would have books like these! Here is my third book for Finland!
Helsinki now has two Ability Guidebooks! I present:
To round out my books for the Art Museum of Estonia I give you: I Am Going To The Niguliste Museum!
I am thrilled to announce another international Ability Guidebook! This one is for the KUMU art museum in Tallinn, Estonia!
It is always an awesome day when I get another Ability Guidebook finished! This February I was in Washington, D.C. to attend the NEA Foundation Gala and took the opportunity to get pictures for several books.
Many thanks to Precious Crabtree and Kristen Record. The three of us were NEA Global Fellows together in Peru and this is not the first time I’ve dragged poor Kristen off to pose for a book.
In July I have the honor of speaking at the Lincoln Memorial during the Save Our Schools rally and march and in 2017 the NNSTOY conference will be in Washington. It is my hope by the end of these visits that I will be able to do books for all of the Smithsonian Museums!
I lament that the West Coast does not have a Smithsonian Museum, in fact, more than lament it, I protest it! The National Mall offers free museums for Native American History, African American History, the Holocaust Museum, that National Gallery and more… all free to all comers. But all those free museums are lumped in a few acres almost 3000 miles away from Portland. As much as I’d like to make books for, say, the Smithsonian Museum of Northwest Culture in Portland, Oregon, I’ll hope that day comes some day and in the meantime I will create books for the Smithsonian Museums we do have.
So, without further ado:
Brett Bigham is the 2014 Oregon State Teacher of the Year and was awarded an NEA National Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015.
This book is all about perseverance! In 2014 Mike and I were in D.C. for the White House Honoring Ceremony. It was an amazing week and we took every spare minute to meet with elected officials during the visit. We had a few minutes in between meeting Senator Merkley and Senator Baldwin and we decided we had time to make a book!
It was pouring down rain as we ran from the Hart Senate Building to the Supreme Court. There was over four inches of standing water in the street! We splashed through, raced into the Supreme Court and quickly squished our way throught the building taking pictures as fast as I could.
Needless to say, the pictures turned out pretty terrible and I didn’t have the shots I needed to make a book.
Nine months later I was awarded the NEA National Award for Teaching Excellence and Mike and I found ourselves back in D.C. I had my chance to get those pictures I needed to complete a Supreme Court Ability Guidebook! Again, the weather was none to cooperative. February snows kept us from our photo mission.
Last October I had the honor of being part of Kevin Jennings book tour for his book “One Teacher In Ten In the New Millennium.” He had accepted my essay “Teacher of the Year” for publication and I was able to travel to D.C. and L.A. for book readings. During that trip I was finally able to get the last pictures I needed at the Supreme Court.
So, finally, at last, with great happiness I present
When I write an Ability Guidebook I do my best to take all of my own pictures. But the one thing I am always lacking is maps. Most maps are copyrighted and the ones that have been generously shared online, often don’t have the information I need.
Maps are an important way for people with autism to get an idea of where they are going on an upcoming journey. I know my books are better when they contain a map.
In April I needed a map of the Acropolis and found several online maps that I could publish, but, oddly enough, none of them had the restrooms marked on them. They were a mix of ancient architecture and modern viewpoints but they lacked the information my book needed. I could have doctored up somebody else’s map but that didn’t seem right. And so I spent a Saturday creating a map of the Acropolis.
Now I’m the first to acknowledge I am not a graphic artist. But sometimes need pushes us to work outside of our comfort zone. I needed a map with dark bold lines (for our friend’s with visual issues) that was simple in that it contained only the necessary information. That map didn’t exist and so now it does.
That last sentence is important to me. “That map didn’t exist and so now it does.” That is how I feel about my books. They are supports for people with autism and other neuro-diverse people. Some of those people need a support like this to get out into the world. That support didn’t exist so now it does.
What I’m doing didn’t exist so now it does.
That’s how I’m contributing. That’s how I’m leaving a mark. I’m setting an example, doing some of the work and trying to inspire others to jump in and contribute. This week Dr. Florian Sohn translated “I Am Going to the Parthenon” into German. That support didn’t exist for German speakers so now it does.
And that is why I spent a Saturday drawing a map of the Acropolis. That’s why I spent this Saturday drawing a map of the Pantheon. That’s why I will probably spend next Saturday drawing a map of the Roman Forum. Because I want change and I’m willing to work to make it happen.