Die Bunte Bande

An inclusive Children’s book

How about that? All children can read the same book. Visually challenged children, blind children, deaf children, children with learning difficulties, your children. There’s no special treatment, no complicated separate way anymore. One edition for everybody. Easy-Peasy?

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That’s exactly the kind of groundbreaking and important book project we inkl. Designers are tackling together with “Aktion Mensch”, for the very first time in Germany.

The children’s book series “Die Bunte Bande” (“The Colourful Gang”) around the five friends Tessa, Tom, Jule, Henry and Leo – each with their individual strengths and weaknesses – introduces topics like diversity and inclusion in a way that’s exciting and suitable for children at the same time.

In earlier editions of “Bunte Bande” only its content was related to inclusion. But quite quickly it became clear: it’s all or nothing. The goal had to be a fully inclusive edition.

Because there were no comparable books on the market for the target group – children between the ages of eight and eleven – we had to become experts ourselves in order to develop a completely new, inclusive book for all new readers. For younger visually challenged and blind children there are a handful of well-designed picture books.

But when the sensitive phase of early support ends with school entry, it looks pretty dark as far as appealing book material is concerned.

But what special needs do challenged children have when they are learning to read? How can large print, braille and easy-to-read language be elegantly and reader-friendly reconciled? Together with experts from special education, didactics and everyday experts, we have developed suitable theories and found convincing solutions.

Not only in terms of design, but also in the large-scale production of a circulation of 2,000 books, we have broken new ground with the “Bunte Bande”.
The fifth volume “The Stolen Bike” is pioneering. We are proud of our first inkl. children’s book. And we can be, because the edition of the children’s book series realised by inkl. Design with partners is winner of the German Design Award 2020 in the category Universal Design, received the prize “Outstanding Books for Young People With Disabilities 2019” and was awarded the Kimi seal for diversity 2018.

And by the way: to make sure young readers can enjoy the earlier adventures of the „Bunte Bande“ as well, we subsequently realized also them as inclusive books in the combination of easy-to-read language, large print and braille.

A glance at the book

Cover of the book "Die Bunte Bande, the stolen bicycle". In the upper left corner of the picture a black circular sticker. In it are 5 colorful hands shown. It says with large white letters: "Inclusion in Germany". In the left corner the brands of the Awards for the book

Inclusion in use

Six inkl-Designers celebrate the award of their children's book with confetti and streamers. They are holding a banner with the text: 2019 Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities.

Project details

Client: Aktion Mensch

Total edition: 3,500 books

Project period: 2015 – 2018

Project partners: Carlsen Verlag, Leicht ist klar

Project specifications: Development of a publication concept for the first inclusive children’s book in Germany, Consulting of illustrators, Advice on technical production issues (Braille, book binding, logistics), Consulting (typography, fonts, contrasts), Realisation of the braille text