National Braille Press Announces 2017 Poetry Contest Winners:

National Braille Press Announces 2017 Poetry Contest Winners:

The National Braille Press (NBP) has finally announced the winners of their first ever Braille Poetry Contest! Participants were asked to submit a poem focusing on the theme “The Five Senses.” The poem had to be an original work less than 125 words, using English Braille American Edition or Unified English Braille. National Braille Press received over 70 fantastic entries! The winners chosen for each grade level were as follows:

K-2: Clara Scelsi, “Happy Birthday Bear”

3-5: Olivia Rios, “Great Snow Time”

6-8: Nicholas Tarver, “Your Five Senses”

9-12: Gretchen Brown, “Autumn Night”

Adult: Allison Hilliker, “Loving Allyssa: A Mother’s Journey in Five Senses”

Read The Winning Poems Below:

Happy Birthday Bear: By Clara Scelsi

We are sitting in a cave,

we are being very brave

Then we heard a noisy bear.

And it came close to our chair.

I reached out and touched her back.

She felt soft, and her fur,

was black.

Then I saw the bear sit down.

On her head she had a crown.

Once she smelled the birthday,


Then she walked to her plate.

We sang Happy Birthday

to Mrs. Bear.

Then she thought, “I need to


She gave us some, it was sweet.

What a very special treat!

NBP Poetry Winners
PD: Gray background, with an illustration of a red typewriter, papers across a desk, and hands typing.

Great Snow Time: By Olivia Rios

Penguin skis on her tummy
Bright white
Cold then melty
Snow is crumbly and packable
Penguin loves to touch the cold snow
Outside with the strong wind on her feathers
Penguin has friends and makes snowballs

Your Five Senses: By Nicholas Tarver

Senses help in their own way.
You use them every day.
They are not small,
Observe them in this game of basketball.

Hear the crowd cheer.
The band is near.
Popcorn popping, basketballs dropping,
Game begins, hope my team wins.

Our flag is out; it’s what it is all about.
Game has started; crowd has parted.
Players run out; we all shout.
Watch the ball; the player is so tall.

Nachos, hotdogs, yummy delights,
This will be a great game tonight.
Candy bags tossed down the rows,
I’d rather floss than get a loss.

Players shake hands, pats on the back;
Congratulations smack.
Awesome game and that’s a fact.

Basketball players, sweaty and hot
They stink a lot!
Concession stand open;
I need a token; this nose has spoken

Autumn Night: By Gretchen Brown

The crickets and frogs chirping,
no city sounds to disturb the rural night.
The sound of a crackling fire,
running nocturnal feet crunching upon the
newly fallen leaves.
The cool breeze carries the scent of smoke.
and fields ready for harvest.
The warm fire to break the chill,
the taste of fish freshly caught
and cooked on an open fire.
The sight of dancing flames
flickering against the
backdrop of a moonlit night.
The feel of the field corn
being shucked beneath my hands.
The taste of the hickory nuts
being cracked and picked clean.
Persimmons collected and quickly checked
what will the winter bring?

Loving Allyssa: A Mother’s Journey in Five Senses: By Allison Hilliker

Everyone expects me to be sad.
“Grieve. Grieve. You should grieve.”
But they don’t know my daughter…

A new baby!
The doctors say her eyes look cloudy.
My friend says they look like fairy eyes.
It’s all in how you view it.

1-week-old now.
I hold my newborn’s body close to mine.
I experience her warmth, her silky hair; her tiny fingers
I cannot feel the clouds they see.

1 month now.
The smell of another hospital.
Hand sanitizer. Surgical tape. The milk I’m not allowed to give.
Deep breath. So thankful for the fresh air scent where we live.

5 months now.
Together we explore fruit, avocado, cereal.
Every flavor erupts brand new.
I learn joy can taste like bananas.

1 year now.
Excitement! She squishes her lumpy birthday cake in her hands.
We pour rice in her old baby bathtub outside and play.
Tiny fingers run along the dots in her dad’s PCWorld magazine.

21 months now.
I hear her beautiful laugh.
Tap. Tap. The sound of her tiny cane. Jingle. Jingle. The bells on her shoes as she runs.
“I love mommy!” She says. “You too baby, you too.”

Everyone expects me to be sad.
“Grieve. Grieve. You should grieve.”
But they don’t know my daughter…

Editor’s Note: 

Winners from each level were awarded $100 in prizes from National Braille Press (NBP). For more information about NBP, contact their Media Inquiries Department via Email: [email protected].  You can also follow NBP on Facebook and Twitter.