Those aren't words you typically hear when kids describe book apps, a medium known more for its flashy interactive elements. But that's exactly how they react to the powerful spoken word poem To This Day, by Shane Koyczan, that's been turned into an amazing app. If you have a teen, definitely share this with them.
To This Day
written by Shane Koyczan
developed by Moving Tales, Inc.
2013 Cybils Book Apps finalist
At first I wondered whether the app provided a different experience than watching the video. Only after reading, listening and watching the app a few times did I realize the true extent of the differences. Every time you open the app, different animated clips run with the individual stanzas of the poem. This keeps the reader engaged, thinking about how the artwork develops and extends the meaning of the words.
The animations, crowd-sourced from over 80 different artists, resonate with the material because they communicate the sense that people of all stripes and hues experience problems of bullying. The variety of the illustrations helps take Koyczan's very personal poem and make the message more universal on a visual and visceral level.
Koyczan makes sure readers know that words can hurt more than sticks and stones, but that in the end we all must walk the balancing act in our lives, believing in our own beauty.
“My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life but standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways.” says poet Shane Koyczan. “I wrote To This Day, a spoken word poem, to further explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual.”I also love sharing this poem in a book app format because it allows the reader to experience Koyczan's powerful performance, but to bring some of the reading qualities to it. On the app, you can easily reread a stanza if you want it to sink in a bit more. If you're watching the video, you lose control of the pacing and let the poem wash over and sink in.
Please, please -- find a quiet moment. Listen and read this poem yourself. Think about how it resonates with your experiences, or friends you know. And then find someone else to share it with.
2013 Cybils Book Apps Award. The final winner will be announced February 14th. The review copy came from my personal library. But since this is currently free, I strongly believe this is a must-have app for all teens and anyone who's survived high school.
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©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books