Editorial: Remixing Reading

Horn Book Magazine cover, March/April 2012

Circumstance as well as preference dictated that I read the 2012 Newbery Medal– and Scott O’Dell Award–winning Dead End in Norvelt in four flavors: advance reading copy, finished book, iBook, and as an audio download from Audible.com. I read the ARC and bound book in editing the Horn Book Magazine review; when I needed to […]

The Making of Freight Train…the App


Early in the summer of 2009—many digital generations ago—HarperCollins set out to experiment with several iPhone/iPod Touch apps. We decided to create two apps based on easily searchable and popular topics (example: ABC), and one app based on a classic and best-selling picture book. The staff at Greenwillow Books was charged with figuring out how […]

Your words, Nate’s mouth

big nate menu

Big Nate: Comix by U! (based on the books by Lincoln Peirce; HarperCollins and Night & Day Studios, December) is a kind of Colorforms set for new media starring Nate Wright, a sixth-grade antihero who makes Greg Heffley look like a wimpy kid. In this app, Nate’s fans and budding playwrights press-and-place a variety of […]

Ebooks, schmeebooks


After wrapping up our March special issue on books in the digital era, a meeting about Horn Book web strategy, and another meeting to tour the virtual space that will host an upcoming SLJ event about YA books (this summer; I’ll keep you posted), I’m feeling completely pixelated. I recognize that I have an imagination […]

Appily ever after

cinderella home screen

Developer Nosy Crow just won a Publishing Innovation Award for their app-only fairy tale retelling Cinderella: A 3-D Fairy Tale (September). Like their Three Little Pigs, this digital interpretation has plenty of charm. The app’s “read to me” and “read and play” options are refreshingly narrated by a cast of British child actors, with dialogue […]

The Pigeon wants an iPad

pigeon title page

If you’ve read any of Mo Willems’s books (or his Sutherland lecture “Why Books”), it will come as no surprise that his app Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App! (Disney, October) is kid-centric and slyly subversive. The friendly bus driver from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! introduces a Mad Lib–like story starring […]

The Bippolo Seed goes digital

bippolo seed menu

As a Seuss fan, I had high hopes for The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories app (Oceanhouse Media, September). This adaptation of seven rediscovered stories (originally published by Redbook Magazine in the 1950s) ended up being a mixed bag. Here’s what I like about it: Reader control. The main menu features a separate listing […]

Weekend update

We talked about this trend of shiny-ing up books last week when Martha P. and I did a Family of Readers gig at the Duxbury Free Library for the Westwinds Bookshop. I speculated that the books that would best survive digital competition would be those that most rewarded or required physical presence–airport novels out, picture […]

The digital divide

SLJ Technology Editor Kathy Ishizuka reports on “Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America,” a new study by Common Sense Media revealing an “app gap”: inequities in access to digital devices due to household income. The question of app and ebook accessibility across economic classes came up several times in the Librarians and Digital […]

Tweeting with the cool kids

twitter bird

On Wednesday night, Katie and I attended (virtually) Ruckus Media and SLJ’s Librarians and Digital Storytelling Twitter Party, a lively hour of fast-paced discussion on the practical uses of e-books and apps. Read Ruckus’s wrap-up (linked above) or relive the event at #ruckusslj on Twitter. Many thanks to our hosts for organizing and for the invitation to participate. The discussion provided much food for thought. Katie and I […]