Touch the Earth

Touch the Earth
Touch the Earth — go ahead, touch it. The tactile maps are there so you can find the stripe of boreal forest in the north and gauge the size of the African Sahara Desert. Now listen to descriptions of the biomes — the forests, the deserts, the grasslands — all of the pieces that together make our tangible and living Earth.

Touch the Earth is a multi-media book. It was designed for blind and visually impaired students, as well as for deaf and hard of hearing students. But it will be useful to anyone who enjoys getting information in several dynamic formats. With many interesting facts and hundreds of images, Touch the Earth meets the national science standards in a new and exciting way.

Earth from space

Touch the Earth is available online at NASA.

A tactile book about the biomes,
Produced and published by NASA. 2009



Touch the Earth
Designed by Elissa Levine
Written by Amy S. Hansen
NASA and National Federation of the Blind, 2010
Ages 10 and up
ISBN 978-0-615-27820-9



Touch the Earth teamNBC report.


Touch the Earth team


National Federation of the Blind press release: 

The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to announce the release of a new tactile book created with the support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Touch the Earth: A Multimedia book about the Earth’s Biomes was written by Amy S. Hansen and conceptualized by Elissa Levine. It includes tactile graphics created by Noreen Grice.

This book aims to educate middle school students while also providing guidance for teachers on how to incorporate this book into classroom instruction. Each book contains DVDs with spoken scripts, contracted Braille and large print, along with tactile and visual graphics to illustrate important concepts in both a tactually and visually friendly way. Each book also comes with a colorful tactile map of the continents of the Earth.

Exclusively available through the NFB Independence Market, TOUCH THE EARTH (product# LSA91B) can be purchased for $20. To place an order please visit NFB’s Independent  Market or call  (410) 659-9314.

We are  pleased to announce that we  are offering  one  free copy upon request to schools and libraries for the blind across the country for their collections.  Please contact Mary Jo T. Hartle, Director of Education for the National Federation of the Blind  Jernigan Institute, at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2407, or by e-mail at to request a free copy for your institution.


A Book and A Hug

What’s a biome and what kind of biomes exist on our different continents? There are books out there that answer those questions but they don’t offer a tactile experience like this one. Each continent is constructed of different patterns that you can feel with your fingers. A blind child can read the braille text and run his or her fingers over the continents to feel the different biomes. Forest has diagonal raised lines and agriculture has yellow raised circles. All of the continents are explored and there are lists of website resources for teachers connected to each part of the world. National Science Education Standards are listed in charts at the back of the book. This is a great book for all children with the tactile experience of the geography but is especially designed for those who are physically challenged. There are two dvd’s included with American Sign Language as well as audio. 69 pages



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