Friday, August 26, 2011

The Fantastic New World of Book Apps for Children

I've been fascinated watching the development of ebooks, but I've been especially fascinated watching how publishers and app developers are creating a completely new interactive experience for children with children's book apps. Developers have combined elements of picture books, computer games, audiobooks and more to engage children in reading stories of all sorts.

The Kidlitosphere community has been watching, evaluating and sharing about these apps in many ways. Two developments are particularly exciting to me:
  • the Cybils Awards will be launching a new category specifically looking at children's book apps for the iPad/iPhone iOS, and
  • the Kidlitosphere conference in September will feature a session all about book apps for children.
The Cybils Awards annually recognize children's authors, illustrators and app developers "whose books combine the highest literary merit and 'kid appeal.'" They provide recognition in a variety of categories, ranging from YA literature to early reader short chapter books. These awards also develop a sense of community within the Kidlit blogging world, taking nominations from all comers and drawing on a wide array of bloggers for their judging panels.

This year, the Cybils Awards will include a new category for children's book apps. The details have yet to be ironed out, but a very exciting aspect is that I am going to be the category organizer. I am thrilled to be involved in helping create this new category, talk with other passionate bloggers about what makes a great app, and help review the best of the best apps.

In September, I'm going to be presenting a session at the KidLit conference along with Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 (via Skype) and Paula Wiley of PinkMe all about children's book apps.  Here's the session description:
Interactive book apps combine traditional book content with a variety of multimedia features, presenting opportunities for children to engage with stories and information in new ways. But do they motivate kids to read? Do they stand up to repeat viewing? Are these apps really just Angry Birds without the guilt - something to hand a cranky kid when the checkout line is too long? We will talk about how our expertise in reviewing children’s literature applies to evaluating book apps. Learn about what makes an outstanding app, which features are becoming standard, which ones assist the reader, and which features are merely silly.
I hope you consider coming to KidLitCon. It's a wonderful, intimate conference where you can make lasting connections with other folks passionate about children's books. For registration information, head to the Kidlitosphere Central site.

©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.


  1. So great to have you on board the Cybils team, Mary Ann! Looking forward to seeing you at KidLitCon, too.

  2. Yay! Thrilled to have you on board for the Cybils. I'll be at Kidlitcon and looking forward to your presentation!

  3. This is great news ~ I just tweeted about it!