National Braille Press Announces Winners of the 3rd Annual Braille Poetry Contest

March 30, 2020

Each poem focused on this year’s theme of “Freedom”

National Braille Press (NBP) announced today the winners for the 3rd Annual Braille Poetry Contest.  Each winner used the theme of “Freedom” in their poems. The winners of this year’s contest were “Freedom of my Heart” by Hayley Thibodeaux of Riverside, CA (Category K to 2), “Freedom to me is…” by Oliver Reyes Mondragon of Garner, NC (Category 3 to 5), “The Way Out” by Airel Reyes Mondragon Garner, NC (Category 6 to 8), “Where My Freedom Lies” by Amy Liu of Warrington, PA (Category 9 to 12) and “Freedom from My Grief” by Dena Polston of Muncie, IN (Category Adult). Click here to read each poem. Each entry is submitted in either hardcopy of electronic braille.

“Poetry has the ability to engage us with prose that sparks emotion and passion and this year’s winners did just that,” said Brian Mac Donald, President of NBP. “The theme Freedom evoked some powerful prose from all age categories spanning Kindergarten to Adult.  We are proud of their efforts and thankful to everyone who took the time to submit a poem.”

A winner was chosen from each of the five categories, which included Kindergarten to Grade 2, Grade 3 to Grade 5, Grade 6 to Grade 8, Grade 9 to Grade 12 and adult based on their poem surrounding this year’s “Freedom” theme. Each poem will be published on NBP’s blog throughout the month of April in celebration of Poetry Month.

Winning Poems

Hayley Thibodeaux (Category K-2)

Freedom of my Heart

For me freedom represents my heart

Because each day I get to everything that god made me to be

Dancing singing and playing

Makes me content

Overjoyed for the freedom to explain the world with my cane

My hands and my heart


Oliver Reyes Mondragon ( (Category 3 to 5)

Freedom to me is…

Being home

Playing with my chickens, who have a lot of freedom

They get to peck, walk, and run around in my backyard

Safe without animals, they find their own fun

As around they run, hens they are in coops

Feel so so stressed, wishing to be free

When I am at school, I feel the same way

Wishing to be home with the freedom that I know

Chasing my beautiful hens


Airel Reyes Mondragon Gardner, NC (Category 6 to 8)

The Way Out

The world is looking at me and I am trying to figure out a way to be free

Everyone is fighting, crying, dying and hiding

And I am hiding because I see people dying

I cannot lose hope now

I have to find a way out of this mess somehow

I don’t want to join the fight

Yet know it is on a cold bloody night

It is such a horrible sight

Though I want to stand up for what is right

My heart is beating really fast

Trying to forget the past

But know this is happening in reality

And all this fighting is going to the extremity

People are dying and I don’t want to lose my life

In order to find the light, know I thought this is such a horrible sight

So then I ran for it

I did not want to get hit by death and get struck in the pit

I ran as fast as I can, like I thought I would

I may have saw the sign that said Freedom is the Dream to Your Mind

So now I was just free

As free as a flying bird you see

The end


Amy Liu of Warrington, PA (Category 9 to 12)

Where My Freedom Lies

The undried tears of my brethren

Roll down my cheek.

The unheard voices of my sisters

Ring in my ear.


How can we be free

When our brothers and sisters

Are blind to equity

And deaf to opportunity?


How can we be free

When those around us

Leave us to the face of injustice

And look away from our suffering?


They define us by our disability

Rather than our capability.

They are masked by this belief

That we are less and they are more.



I row against the current,

And conquer the waters

By myself.


The sun rises,

And I push on.


Because I know that

There is both

Solace and strength

In my darkness.


And that,

That is where my freedom lies.


Dena Polston of Muncie, IN (Category Adult).

Freedom from My Grief

I am drowning in grief

Times like this

Our life on Earth is brief

I need freedom from my grief

The journey is unending

Upon my knees unbending

My broken heart needs mending

I need freedom from my grief

That voice that held

That smile

Together we’ve walked the miles

I thought we had a while

I want freedom from my grief

There have been many ups and downs

My mind’s gone round and round

Peace in this journey I’ve finally found

I now have freedom from my grief


About National Braille Press

A non-profit braille publisher and producer of braille products, National Braille Press promotes literacy for blind children through outreach programs and provides access to information by producing information in braille for blind children and adults. For more information visit

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