Children’s Literature

What is the audio description of a book?

Children’s books are composed of texts, drawings, illustrations, endearing characters and pretty colours.

Sighted children between 3 and 5 years old see images and have a vocabulary of more or less 1,500 words. They can use several adjectives and have the ability to formulate simple sentences. The same is not true for the visually impaired young children who can’t see neither the text nor the images. Thanks to audio description, they will have access to these books: this state of the art device will tell them the story while describing the drawings and images through one or more recorded voices, with a vocabulary adapted to their age. The children will thus be able to follow and understand the entire book or tale, and forge their own interpretation using their imagination.

This long-term work requires a lot of preparation, writing time, discussions, listening and the skill of a professional audio describer in order to achieve a high quality result that is easily understood by children.

François CRETON ©VISIO Foundation

What are the actions carried out by the VISIO Foundation ?

Kalliope’s collection

From the synergetic meeting between UNICEF France and the VISIO Foundation, both committed to the welfare of children, “Kalliope” was born, a collection of audio-described books with a personalized sound design for each story.

Kaliope collection’s logo of audio described children's books.

This unique collection originated from the common desire to allow blind and visually impaired children aged between 3 to 8 years old to actively participate in the UNICEF Prize for Children’s Literature so that they could also vote for their favourite book.

Kalliope is dedicated to all children who like to listen to stories !

The UNICEF Prize for Children’s Literature 2023

It is on « a family resemblance » that the new edition of this literature prize reserved for children and adolescents is played out. The competing works were selected by children and youngsters, as well as by professionals specialized in children’s education and literature. They address essential subjects such as the diversity of families nowadays, the management of emotions and well-being in the family circle, the role of parents in education and sharing of knowledge, families faced with migration or uncertainties, protection against domestic violence, etc.

The albums, novels and comics selected this year aim not only to encourage reading but also to raise children’s awareness of a large number of rights essential for their development, such as the right to education, protection, non-discrimination, welfare, etc.

Illustration of UNICEF Literature Prize's poster. In it, 8 people pose for a photographer.

Children and youngsters will have until April 30, 2023 to vote as a family, in their schools, libraries and leisure centers and to vote for their favourite book. Winners will be announced in June 2023.

Very sensitive to the cause of children, and in particular to those with disabilities, the French actress Sandrine Kiberlain is committed, alongside the VISIO Foundation and UNICEF France, in the process of making books accessible to visually impaired children. She will thus lend her voice to one of the audio-described books competing for the prize, along with other actors: Jean-Toussaint Bernard, François Créton, Marie Desgranges, Marie Félix…

To be discovered at the beginning of 2022 school year !


Sandrine KIBERLAIN, sponsor of the 2023 edition of the UNICEF Children’s Literature Prize

« I am very happy to officially support this new edition of the UNICEF Prize for Children’s Literature and to contribute to the work carried out by the VISIO Foundation. The family environment is the breeding ground for the development and fulfilment of the child, and literature is a wonderful way to approach the theme of the family, in all its diversity and in all the forms it can take, with all issues that surround it. » explains Sandrine Kiberlain. « In line with the whole project, the adaptation of the selected works in audio description makes them accessible to blind and visually impaired children as well as to their families, which is particularly close to my heart. »


Julie ZERLAUTH – Advocacy and Awareness Manager, UNICEF France

« Since its creation, we have been committed to involving as many children as possible in the UNICEF Prize for Children’s Literature so that they are the major players in this competition. This is why we are particularly proud of this initiative with the VISIO Foundation to make our selection of books accessible to young visually impaired children. »

Dune CHERVILLE – Professional audio describer

« The particularity of a description is that the listener is able to construct his own mental image, his own point of view. Like the traditional storyteller, the describer’s golden rule is to be discreet. There is a benevolent presence that is expressed through this little voice that tends to blend into the work. It is this same ‘committed’ benevolence that characterizes the VISIO Foundation and UNICEF France to leave no child aside, whatever their situation is. »