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About Us

Photo of Lizzy reading braille books Seedlings Braille Books for Children's mailing address:
P.O. Box 51924
Livonia, MI 48151-5924

Seedlings' physical (and UPS) address:
14151 Farmington Road
Livonia, MI 48154

Toll-free phone: 800-777-8552
Phone & fax: 734-427-8552

June 2019: Seedlings was featured on "Eye on Detroit" during the CBS This Morning!:

September 2018: Seedlings was featured on PBS' award-winning show "Under the Radar Michigan"!
Learn more about Seedlings here:

March 2017: Seedlings' Founder and Director was named Person of the Week by Detroit's Channel 7.
They filmed a wonderful piece about Seedlings:

Photo of a child reading a braille book outside

Seedlings' Mission

Seedlings Braille Books for Children is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to increasing the opportunity for literacy by providing high quality, free and low cost braille books for children.
Seedlings' Letter of Determination from the IRS

Seedlings' History

In 1984 when Debra Bonde founded Seedlings, braille materials were scarce and expensive. Her goals were to increase the availability and lower the cost of braille books for children in order to promote their literacy skills and the love of reading. In 1985, the first year of book production, Debra made 221 books in her basement office. By 1990, Seedlings was producing 5,000 books per year, which precipitated its move out of Debra's basement and into the Bentley Center in Livonia, Michigan, and eventually to our present location on Farmington Road in Livonia. In 2020, with a small staff, and a group of loyal volunteers, Seedlings produced nearly 30,000 braille books and articles (60% of which were given away for free), with a grand total of 608,885 since 1984, equalling over 25 million pages of braille! For more information, see Seedlings' 2020 Annual Report and Seedlings' 2020 Audit.

In 1994, Seedlings added The Rose Project, which provides encyclopedia articles in braille for student's projects and reports. The Rose Project has become a very popular resource for students eager to work independently. We anticipate requests for approximately 500 articles per year. Thanks to generous donations from our supporters, this service is entirely free to visually impaired students in grades 1-12. (To order an article, please click on "Special Projects", and then on "The Rose Project".)

Seedlings' Books

Photo of a child's hands on a braille book Seedlings' braille materials have opened up new worlds for thousands of children. Seedlings Braille Books for Children is keeping visually impaired children in the mainstream of popular literature and is reaching braille readers in all 50 states and over 75 foreign countries. Seedlings contributes to literacy by providing visually impaired children equal opportunity to develop the love of reading. At this time, less than 20% of the 50,000 blind children in the United States are proficient in braille. All too often, the written word has been inaccessible to them, and this is what we are working to change.

Braille books are provided at each level of development, from toddler board books to classic literature for older children. Just as sighted children learn to "read" as they are exposed to the printed word, so do visually impaired children who are exposed to the tactile page at an early age. New titles are added every year as highly skilled volunteer braille transcribers spend countless donated hours translating print books into braille and preparing them for computer disk to await production. Once the original translation is complete, additional books can be printed as needed. Exposure to popular, high quality braille literature throughout childhood increases the likelihood of children developing into able braille readers.

Seedlings' Funding

As a non-profit organization, Seedlings gives away about half of their books and sells the rest for a fraction of what it costs to make them. Support is very broad based and comes from individuals, philanthropic groups, corporations and private foundations. Seedlings is not a United Way agency and receives no government grants. Thanks to hundreds of generous donors and dedicated, hard-working volunteers, the price of Seedlings' books remains far below actual production costs, averaging only $10 per book.
View Seedlings' 2020 990 Form here.

Seedlings' 2021 Board of Directors

Terry Crouson, Business Consultant
Ben Gehle, Business Banking
Patty Graff, HR Administrator
Jim Jolly, Attorney, City Council Member
Jennifer Joseph, Parent of Blind Child
Katelyn Kelel, Consultant, Braille Reader
Jessica Kusku, Teacher of Visually Impaired Students
Eric Ladwig, Livonia Businessman
Cheryl Shewach, HR Professional
Jared Stofflett, Software Developer, Braille Reader
Richard Swaine, CPA
Joel Zatell, Teacher of Visually Impaired Students

Seedlings' Board Members receive no financial compensation for their services.

Seedlings in the news ...

Photo of Debra Bonde in front of bookshelf and holding a Seedlings book
December 2019: Seedlings' Founder & Director featured in the Living Lutheran Magazine:
Read more about it here. (Photo credit: Courtesy of Living Lutheran, photo by Bill Bresler.)

June 2016: Livonia Today includes a nice spread about Seedlings:
Read the article here.

July 2015: Seedlings wins the prestigious Bolotin Award: The National Federation of the Blind on July 10 presented a $10,000 cash award to Seedlings Braille Books for Children as one of five organizations and individuals honored with a Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award which goes to innovators in the blindness field. The award took place at the 75th national convention of the National Federation of the Blind annual convention held in Orlando, Florida. Read more about it here.

February 2015: The Livonia Observer gives Seedlings' Director their Citizen of the Year Award:
Read the article here.

May 2002: Seedlings' founder and director was selected as a "Michiganian of the Year" by the Detroit News.

For more information, view a Seedlings' Volunteer/Donor Newsletter here.

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© 2005 Seedlings Braille Books for Children P.O. Box 51924, Livonia, MI 48151-5924 • (734) 427-8552 or (800) 777-8552

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