2011 Finalists: Book Apps

Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential Graphic Novel
by Annie Fox
Free Spirit Publishing, developed by Electric Eggplant
Nominated by: Amy Jussel

This is an app created especially for tweens and young teens. It’s a full-color cartoon-illustrated graphic novel with scenarios based on everyday situations many young people encounter such as hanging out with friends and playing sports. It features six characters surviving Milldale Middle School who cope with issues of body image, conflicting emotions, how to be honest with friends, etc. As an app, the format is simple but effective, with easy page-turn swipes and engaging background music and sound effects. An “i” info button on every page takes you back to a “table of contents” for easy browsing. Best of all, a simple double-tap enables the reader to zoom in on close-ups of each individual panel on the page along with extra sound effects, the ideal way to “unpack” all the components of the graphic novel for closer reading or as a prompt for in-depth discussion.

Sylvia Vardell

Bobo Explores Light
by GameCollage
Game Collage, LLC
Nominated by: Paula Willey

This iPad book app from Game Collage successfully mixes science, reading and fun.  Bobo the robot guides readers through information on light, inviting interaction in both serious and silly ways.  You can explore Edison’s inventions or play with lightning and zap Bobo.  There are short videos embedded in the app that offer even more information.  One of the strengths of this app is that it uses so many different formats to provide information on light.  This interactive book is appropriate for ages 6-10.  Never losing sight of its young audience, science is what lights up this app.

Tasha Saecker

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson and Trilogy Studios
Trilogy Studios Inc.
Nominated by: John Schumacher

This app takes every kid’s dream– coloring in picture books!– and makes it a reality. Based on Crockett Johnson’s classic picture book, this app lets readers help Harold draw his purple world. Other magic is hidden along the way as the you walk Harold through the story and find his way home. Harold’s journey introduces this wondrous tale to a new generation of kids and gives their favorite adults a satisfying trip down memory lane. Though an enjoyable adventure to snuggle up and discover together, a special read-to-me feature with pitch-perfect narration makes the app especially kid friendly.

Sara Bryce

Hildegard Sings
by Thomas Wharton
One Hundred Robots
Nominated by: Betsy Bird

Hildegard is a singing rhino whose voice gives out right as she’s about to make her operatic debut. With subtle enhancements that will charm readers of all ages, the animal characters scramble to find a solution. Feed her sweets, pop bubbles as she tries a steamy bath and change her hat before a well-timed surprise from Hilde’s manager restores the singer’s voice just in time for a star performance. Readers will squeal with laughter and delight as this interactive app draws them into hilarious plot twists.

Carisa Kluver

Pat the Bunny
by Dorothy Kunhardt
Random House Books for Young Readers
Nominated by: Scott Gordon

Preschool children will enjoy playing along with Judy, Paul, and Bunny as they participate in various activities in this app based on the classic book. Young readers can slide the blanket that hides Paul’s face and play peek-a-boo. They can help Bunny break the piñata at a birthday party by sliding the stick in his paw. Pat the Bunny is a fun interactive experience for our youngest readers.

Jeff Barger

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
by Moonbot Studios
Moonbot Studios LA
Nominated by: Hallie Tibbetts

This app combines computer animation, interactive features and elements of a traditional picture book for a truly unique experience.  Morris Lessmore is writing the story of his life when all of a sudden everything is turned upside down.  When he discovers the world of reading books the stories come alive.  The app has the feel of an interactive short film.  The features are placed perfectly to enhance the story but not detract from it.  This book is appropriate for ages 5 and up.  Children and adult book lovers alike will identify with Morris and his love of story, getting lost in those stories and sharing them with others.

Nicole Kessler

The Monster at the End of This Book
Callaway Digital Arts, Inc
Nominated by: Sheila Ruth

Remember life before Elmo? When Grover was the cutest character back in the day? Well, Grover gets to star in this funny, well-made story app based on the original Golden Book from 1971. Unlike other book apps, the words only appear when Grover narrates them, and are shown in yellow highlighting. This feature makes it great for younger readers to follow along with the text. While Grover talks to us, animated illustrations are added with great, noisy sound effects — crash, boom, bang! These effects and Grover’s very dramatic narration make this hilarious story so much better than the original book — which I have never said before about any book, and might not ever say again!

Melissa Taylor