Digital Bedtime Stories?

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Are children’s books being replaced by storybook apps?

Every night we try to read books to our kids before they go to bed. It’s a classic children’s bedtime activity.

You snuggle with your preschooler, have he/she look at the pages as you read to them out loud – and wonder if one day this activity will be replaced by flipping pages on a tablet (or maybe that’s just me).

Since tablets have come out, there has been an explosion in children’s storybook apps. I’m sure you’ve seen the video of the child who taps a magazine because she thinks that it’s a tablet.

Children these days are entering a digital world, which is why they are called Digital Natives. They eat, sleep and breathe digital technology but what about reading to your children – too “old skool”?

Well, it is certainly beginning to look that way. Every year in Bologna, Italy there is a children’s book fair. It is the largest children’s book fair representing over 66 countries for individuals who have anything to do with publishing children’s books. It is the book fair you never want to miss if you are in this space.

This year they created an award called the BolognaRagazzi Digital Award for storybook apps and had Warren Buckleitner, who is the editor of the Children’s Technology Review on the jury panel. They received over 250 entries and selected 20 finalists. The winner and honorable mentions are amazing storybook apps. The other finalists are amazing, too. The quality and the level of interactivity of these storybooks apps are truly outstanding and will only get better. The content of these books is not your standard fare of Dora or Thomas the Train. It’s a broad range with an international flavour to them, that’s the reach of tablets. We are no longer confined to borders; tablets are enabling us to experience different ways to think about the world through storybooks apps.

Below is a list of the winner, mentions and finalists. (You’ll notice that a large portion of them are for the iOS platform, which I have indicated to the best of my ability.) You can also check out the list yourself at the BolognaRagazzi website.

Winner

Dans Mon Reve by e-Toiles Editions (iPad, iPhone, universal app)

Mentions

Numberlys, by Moonbot Studios LA LLC (iOS)

Quem Soltou o Pum? by Companhia das Letras (iPad)

Finalists

Alphabeast by James Kelleher (iPhone and iPad)

Another Monster at the End of This Book by Callaway Digital Arts (iOS)

Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 2 by Monster Costume, Inc (iOS)

Being Global by SachManya LLC and Little Pickle Press (iOS, Nook, Kindle and Google)

Bobo Explores Light by Game College (iPad only)

Bizzy Bear on the Farm by Nosy Crow Limited (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch)

Fantovolieri HD by Gioia Marchegiani and Tutti I diritti riservati (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch)

Go Away, Big Green Monster by Night and Day Studios (iOS)

Going to Bed Book, The, by Sandra Boynton by Loud Crow Interactive (iOS and Android)

Il MostroPino e Crea il tuo Mostro – Libro Gioco Animato by Stefano Bruscolini (iPad)

It’s a Small World by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.)

La Forêt Mes Premieres Decouvertes by Gallimard Jeunesse (iOS)

Land of Me Storytime, The by Penguin/Made in Me (iPad2)

Not Without Bear by Anna Grossnickle Hines, created by Appropo (iPad)

Phantom Clickerist, The by Adding (iPad)

Stella and Sam Storypack by zinc Roe (iOS)

Timo and the Magical Picture Book by Books2Download (iPad)

So watch out paper-based storytime books – you’ve got some serious competition. What do you think? Will storybook apps replace the good old fashion storytime book? Tweet me at weebootMom.

Andrea Benton is a passionate techie Mom, who has two young children, both of which love tablet technology. She blogs about tablet technology for parents and childcare providers. Follow Andrea on Twitter @weebootMom or sign up for her eNewsletter called the weeport at www.weeboot.ca.

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