Access to Books is Crucial for Kids — Part 4, ONLINE and EBOOKS
August 27, 2012
There are a plethora of reading opportunities for kids with all the technology available to them these days. There are, of course, traditional books that have simply been morphed into e-books, but there are also books that are created especially for the e-market, apps that allow children to interact with characters and situations and have fun while getting into the “book” experience, and there are also many websites that either enhance a child’s reading experience or help adults find books for their kids.
Let’s take a look at some of these, shall we?
Note: if I don’t mention your book, it’s not meant as a slight, it’s merely that there’s only so much space in a blog post! Also, I received no compensation whatsoever from the companies mentioned here. This is merely an informational post, not an advertisement.
uTales is a relatively new venture that pairs writers and illustrators and gives them the opportunity to collaborate to produce their books on the uTales ebook platform, which can be read on one’s computer, or via a downloadable app. The books are then available either as one-time reads or can be purchased so that they can be read over and over again. To learn more about one author’s experience publishing her first book on uTales, I hope you’ll click through to Joanna Marple’s blog and read about Snow Games.
iBooks allows authors to publish their books — picture book or otherwise — on a platform that can be read on iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Eric vanRaepenbusch has used this platform to publish his delightful picture books about the Three Ghost Friends. (Note: his books are also available for Kindle.) His website, in the Three Ghost Friends link above, gives activities and crafts to build on kids’ experiences reading his books.
Apps allow kids to extend their experiences of a book in imaginative and fun ways. One example is The Very Fairy Princess App, which works on iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Check it out here, and wave a sparkly wand, add a crown to your photo, generally add some SPARKLE to your life! Of course, there is a plethora of other apps out there, just waiting to be downloaded and played. EDITED TO ADD: Julie Hedlund has written an excellent blogpost regarding writing storybook apps that gives an overview of some of the best apps currently available. The One Thing You Must Do…
Some author’s websites offer extra activities, games, and crafts to go along with their books. A great example is Kate McMullan‘s site, which even shows kids the process of creating a picture book from first idea to finished product.
There are also some websites out there that make choosing and reading regular books an enriched experience. This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are a few:
James Patterson’s Read Kiddo Read provides booklists for various ages, along with author interviews, an e-newsletter, a community to become involved in, and the list goes on.
Peter and Paul Reynolds’ site, Fablevision, carries creativity to a whole new level, with their media and technology studio, educator resource center, and FablePlace, with stories, telefables, and games — and more!
And, of course, there’s Susanna Leonard Hill’s wonderful blog, where several of us gather every Friday during the school year, to recommend Perfect Picture Books. We’ll be starting up again on September 7th. In the meantime, you can see the many and varied titles we recommended during the last school year, by clicking here.
This is just a spoonful of the hot fudge sundae that is the many resources available via technology to help kids to access books and to keep kids reading. And with this post, my series on ensuring that kids have access to books has come to an end. I hope that you — and your kids — will keep dipping into the reading sundae, and keep turning those pages, real or cyber.
GIVEAWAY REMINDER: As with all the posts this month, a comment on this post will enter you in the drawing for a copy of Emma Walton Hamilton’s book Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment.