The Musings, Notes & Book/App reviews of a Children's Writer

Posts tagged ‘kids apps’

Appy Holiday Gifts For New iPad Owners!

The holiday season is in full swing and parents everywhere are looking for holiday gifts and quality entertainment for children eager for a warm fireside activity.

The Book App Alliance publishes book app reading lists for parents looking for just this kind of treat, and our December Holiday edition is here to please.

Our list this month features a list of book apps that can be downloaded to a new iPad as a gift, or introduced for engaging new reading on a cold and blustery day.

This holiday list of endearing stories is sure to inspire new friendships, affirm old ones, and warm the cockles of your heart as the starlight sparkles through the cold crisp air of wintertime.

Click on the link below for the Book App Alliance December Holiday Reading List:

via Appy Holiday Gifts For New iPad Owners!.

App Gifting Tip for Parents: If you are introducing an iPad to your family over the holiday, sneak the iPad out of its wrapping and pre-load these books so that your children can immediately enjoy the fun when the wrapping comes off; you’ll make a bigger impact if they can engage in exciting content right away instead of waiting until later for downloads.


Halloween Facebook Party! Join us if you dare.


Oh, my favorite time of year and holiday. Yes, I admit it I am a big sucker for Halloween!  Halloween is just so much fun!  It is an excuse to be a kid again!  So make sure to join us at our annual Halloween Facebook Party this coming Tuesday the 22nd from 7:30 pm Central time to 9:30 pm.  We have four awesome sponsors: Blue Sand Piper Imprints, Real Talk Interactive, Cupcake Digital and Polka Dots Publishing.  We will be handing out tricks and treats – so make sure to save the date and join in our Halloween Facebook Party!


What:  Dandelion Moms and Penelope’s annual Halloween Facebook Party where we will talk with our sponsors, hand out tricks and treats and just have a good time!

When:  Tuesday, October 22nd from 5:30pm PST to 7:30 pm PST

Where:  On the night of the party just click this link to attend – that’s it!

Who:  All those who are brave enough to handle a spooky good time!

*****Originally post by Dandelion Moms click here to see in its entirety *****

In the Spotlight! illustrator Victor Guiza

The first time that I discovered Victor Guiza’s illustrations online, I immediately realized that I’d seen his work before. Vic had illustrated one of my son’s favorite book apps called Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island . I loved his style of illustrations and knew that I wanted to work with him. vic


Vic’s creativity has no boundaries and he’s very intuitive in merging the Authors vision with the project’s needs. As an artist myself I knew exactly how I wanted the artwork to look but I also knew when it was time to step out-of-the-way and let him create his magic. The way the Monster Jam monster characters were brought to life went way beyond my expectations.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Vic and he had lots of wonderful nuggets to impart about his interesting and successful career.

Have you always known that you wanted to be an illustrator? When did you realize that this was your true calling.

When I was about 10 years old, I had a neighbor who was a professional comic book illustrator. I was a creative child and had always enjoyed drawing, but my childhood dream was to become a pilot. I had never been very good with math and math is key with that profession.  One day my neighbor asked me if I wanted to be a professional illustrator. If so , I would have to study and practice daily.  He challenged me, and when I discovered the many exciting things I could create, I decided that I wanted to be a comic book artist instead of a pilot.

What types of art or artists inspired you along the way?

Music is a great source of inspiration, as well as movies and architecture. I really enjoy sound tracks. I admire comic book artists like Moebius from France, Katsuhiro Otomo from Japan, Oscar Martin from Spain and Humberto Ramos from Mexico among many others. I also love hyper realistic paint from Benjamin Orozco, and Alex Ross.

You have an amazing body of work, what type of projects have you had the most fun with? 

Children books, definitely! So far the stories are pure magic and so challenging. In a comic book you have at least 22 pages and about 5 panels in each page to tell a story, in Children books you have only 10 to 15 illustrations to narrate the same story.

Do you approach illustrating a comic differently than a picture book?

Absolutely! comic storytelling have to follow a “movie like” direction and perspective while picture books are more singular in which action is the climax of the text from each page.

Where you get your ideas or inspiration?

I look at other artist works as inspiration, I see fun in life daily, I dream a lot, but my true inspiration comes directly from the source. My inner source.

Vic Guiza iLLustrator Vic at work creating a picture book character

Contact: Vic Guiza at

vic example

Reviewing a book or app in the iTunes app store


Book and book app reviews are the nicest compliment and reward you can give a writer. It is a gift that keeps giving because it not only helps others to make their decision but it helps to boost visibility in search engines as well. There’s no doubt about it, user reviews carry a lot of weight and are usually a trustworthy source of advise in a market saturated with reading material.

Ok are you ready to write a review online in the iTunes app store? where do you start?

  1. Enter the iTunes app store  Image
  2. Locate the app by clicking on the category ex: books, games or entering the name in the search bar in the top right corner & click enter.
  3. Once you’ve found the app, click on the app’s name, the app information will open in a new window.
  4. To the right of the icon you’ll see the words “Ratings and Reviews”

below will be the option to “write a review” click on the words.

You’ll now be able to leave a rating by clicking on the 5 stars as well as filling out the review box.

There you have it. Now get ready…set….write!   (BTW leave one for me while you’re at it)


Finding the app


Leaving a review

Video Instructions

Are free apps really free?

images-1 We all like free stuff, I know I do! But is anything worth having really free. When visiting the app store everyone bypasses the paid apps & zooms straight to the free app section …. but what are you really getting?

  1. Annoyingly frequent pop ups; In some apps these are so frequent it’s difficult to get to the game.
  2. In app purchases; the free-ness $0, is of course a lure to get you to down load & play for a while or read a few pages of a book at which point a purchase must be made to continue.
  3. External links to other sites selling you even more stuff.

My advise: Get the paid apps, they’re cheaper in the short run with one upfront minimal cost. usually $.99c – & $4.99 If the app’s for a child, then this is definitely your best & safest option as they’re… imgres

1. No Pop ups

2. No ads

3. No third-party prompts to take them to strange uncensored sites.

4. No child begging you to buy points, virtual stuff etc.

Sometimes you’ll get lucky & a paid app will go free or on sale as a promotion. If you like a game or book app, sign up on the developers site to get notified when good apps go free. If you’re still unsure about buying an app, read the reviews listed by other users, go to the developers site to get more info or one of the many app review sites listed below.


For examples of reviews & sites visit Blue sandpiper   Logo


Need more info or have anything to add? leave me a comment below, I love comments & questions.  


Here are some really good app review sites Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.05.17 PM Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.30.40 PM     Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.03.50 PM

A Book App….What’s that?

Each day Children’s writers and app developers convert wonderful classics  and  create amazing new books as apps. There are countless titles based on age, topic or content, just waiting to be discovered & downloaded.

During kids books & app discussions, the first question often asked is “What’s a book app?” A Book App is so much more than an eBook, it’s a digital book brought to life with animation, music, narration and fun-filled activities or games woven into the story. Book apps encourage kids to read, play and explore and are available for use on digital tablets such as the iPad, and smart phones.

Apps multi

Best of all, they’re very inexpensive and provide a unique, entertaining and learning environment. Most fall within the range of 99c-$4.99, a flat fee which usually won’t have ‘in app purchases’. Paid book apps are a preferable option to free apps which bombard our kids with ads or prompt a purchase in order to proceed.


You can find book apps  in the iTunes App Store, under the Books category. In Google Play, you can find book apps under Android Apps > categories > books & reference. There you’ll find wonderful, interactive stories that deliver an animated reading experience. Book Apps likeGrendel’s Great Escape for iPad /Android and Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold for iPad/iPhone allow children to interact with the story, through reading, music and fun activities.

itunes app books location

Google play GGE









– For a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a book app, visit the Blue Sandpiper Imprints Kids Korner.

– To see a 2-minute video called “Kids Have Fun Reading on the iPad” visit

Not sure which book apps are suitable for your child? These sites feature the best children apps and reviews, and  provide direct links for downloading.

App Source

Digital Storytime


The Appy Mall 

I heart this app 

Who doesn’t love a good review?

Who doesn’t love a good review? I certainly do and couldn’t wait to share this great feature post on The iMums. To celebrate, the Grendel’s Great Escape App will be free all week!


The iMums showcase quality free apps for children that have been installed, tested and recommend.

“Grendel’s Great Escape by Michelle Anaya  is an interactive storybook about a little boy named Martin and his cute pet ferret, Grendel.  This app reminded me of my son who will procrastinate to get out of almost anything including chores!  I loved the hide and seek aspect of the book along with the, “I will do it later!”  I’m always trying to get my son to do it now even though he moves to his own tune. Grab it and rate it in iTunes to say thank you to the developer!  This is also a great story for new and emerging readers as it contains a “read it to myself” as well as a “read it to me” option.


Free this week on iTunes!

Download to  iPad
Download to Android Devices

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