iBooks Offering ASL Support


Bilingual books have existed for a long time. Bilingual ebooks have also shown a presence in online stores. Adding American Sign Language (ASL) editions to ebooks? That’s a proposition that has been hard to accomplish although possible under current EPUB standards.

The reason is that video and text must coexist on the virtual page. That’s hard to do with ebooks, and impossible in conventional books. With the iPad and iBooks Author, that challenge has now become possible.

Recently, author Adam Stone published his first ASL/English bilingual ebook. Called Pointy Three, it tells the story of a fork that’s missing one of its prongs but not, as the description points out, its spirit. The fork journeys through the land of Dinnertime, having adventures and looking for a place where he belongs.

The book’s possibly unique ASL/English approach offers something new and special. Stone explains that children who use both languages, or who are learning ASL, benefit from this bilingual approach. On his blog, he writes, “[It] is not simply an English story translated into ASL; it is a story created with both languages in mind, swirling around the creative consciousness.”

It’s getting to be insanely great.