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

Posts tagged ‘technology’

Spooktacular-ish Book Apps

Boo! It’s that time of year when all things ghosts, goblins, monsters and mystery take center stage to celebrate Halloween!

Add to your kids’ spooky fun with these terrific stories from the The Book App Alliance Halloween Treats reading list!

October Book Apps – Halloween Treats.

You just never know

As the year comes to a close I reflect on the friendships and relationships made this past year. The writing and teaching field has the most supportive people I’ve ever met and I’ve met a lot of people. They’re always willing to share information, opportunities and advice which is always valuable.

I recently met Monica Babaian in a twitter chat Story app chat that meets on Sundays at 8pm central. She’s a Tech savvy Librarian and i’m a Digital Author/aspiring Art Teacher. We even live in the same state but our paths might never have crossed had it not been for this chat. Her site is a great resource for parents and teachers which I plan on visiting often. The result of our meeting was an amazing app review with educational tie-ins and resources. It’s a great way to end the year and  as I look forward to the New Year, my resolution is to keep looking forward because you just never know where the next friend, opportunity or great idea will come from.

The review below was re-blogged from: http://innovativelibrarianship.blogspot.com/2013/12/storybook-app-grendels-great-escape-by.html

Storybook App: Grendel’s Great Escape by Michelle Anaya

Grendel’s Great Escape is a storybook app for both iPad and Android by children’s author and creator of Blue Sandpiper Imprints, Michelle Anaya (@bluesandpiper).

Grendel’s Great Escape is about a boy named Martin, who takes his pet ferret, Grendel, to school for show and tell. But when it’s Martin’s turn to present for show and tell, Grendel is missing! The entire school turns into a chaotic mess as Martin and his friends try to find Grendel while avoiding the wrath of the school’s principal, Mr. B.

What I really like about this storybook app is that it includes a long list of ferret facts at the end of the story. The storybook app also has its own curriculum for helping students develop reading strategies, which teachers and school librarians will find handy. For those teachers and school librarians who are allowed to have animals in their classrooms and libraries, a pet ferret would be a great way to make text-to-self connections with Grendel’s Great Escape.

Grendel’s Great Escape includes two screens of ferret facts!

Another possible way to use Grendel’s Great Escape in the classroom or library is to extend the storybook and reading strategies lesson into a science unit from Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd), which has a couple of videos on ferrets and animal habitats. Yet another way – let students use online databases and encyclopedias to create their own list of ferret facts. Activities like these help students create text-to-world connections.

The storybook integrates interactive features throughout the book, including one page in which the reader can squirt ketchup or mustard all over the screen — something kids will surely enjoy. Readers have the option to turn the narration and music on or off. Blue Sandpiper Imprints recommends this storybook app for ages 4 and up. The Android version of Grendel’s Great Escape is $2.99, and the iPad version is $3.99.

For more information about Grendel’s Great Escape and other fun storybook apps from Blue Sandpiper, please visit their website.

 

Back to school with book apps

By now the children are all back to school across the country.

back-to-school

They’re getting settled in their new classes with new teachers, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. There will be new challenges as they overcome the summer brain drain and start filling their minds with exciting new lessons.

A fun way of re-enforcing their newly acquired reading skills on the week-ends are digital book apps. The multi sensory experience brings the reader into the story and soon they’ll be begging for more. This is music to any parent’s ears because let’s face it, they’re so many distractions these days that reading isn’t always their first choice.

I had this experience with my reluctant reader and it inspired me to dive into the magical world of digital book apps.

kids-reading

The app store and Google play is flooded with apps so it’s sometimes difficult for parents to know where to start and what to download.

Digital Storytime is a renowned and trusted source in both the literary and app world and they have recently released their top 25 list of book apps. They shine a light on educational apps that can become hidden in the app store so that’s where I would start. In fact I read their app reviews when researching for my sons apps and when writing for kids. I was more than thrilled when Grendel’s Great Escape was listed in their top 25 best stories for 2013. It is an honor for it to be noticed and placed alongside these other amazing books.

It’s also perfect timing because September is ADHD awareness month and the main character was inspired by a child with ADHD. He’s messy, disorganized, adventurous and a whole lot of fun.

Martin's mess

Martin tackles the laundry monster

Download it and let me know what your kids think.

Digital Storytime’s Top 25 Best story books

Grendel’s Great Escape adventure story for iPad  Android

Gifting or sharing apps in the iTunes App store

I was recently asked by my mother, “Can I give an app as a gift?” Apparently a few of her friends wanted to give apps to their grand kids as gifts. My mom, who’s my biggest supporter has been introducing her peers to the wonderful world of book apps.

Leaving book reviews & gifting apps is proving to be a little tricky as they attempt to navigate the iTunes app store. The answer is “Yes!” and “You can do it!” In this post i’ll guide you thru the process of gifting apps. Watch out for my next post on how to leave app reviews.

It’s easy to do if you follow these simple steps. If you aren’t the lucky recipient of a direct click thru link to the app for  you’ll have to do a search first. example of link to a book app “Grendel’s Great Escape :https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grendels-great-escape-hd/id585977954?mt=8

  1. Step : 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.

4. Below the icon of the app, to the right of the price is an arrow with a drop down menu, this will give you the option to gift the app as well as sharing it by social media or e-mail. – Appy shopping.

Click here for —-> Video Directions 

iPad screenshot

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computer screen shot

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Any questions? write them below

When Life Gives You Lemons……Get Creative

Not so long ago I suddenly found myself with a chunk of unrequested free time. Having always been a busy working Mom, I was incapable of sitting still or being unproductive. In between Job searches, volunteering & updating my job skills, I got started on my book App. Up to that point, I’d taken the scenic route to writing because life there was never enough time in any given day. Well the time had come & I seized the opportunity to get started. So how does an unemployed mother of two get published? By getting a lot of help along the way & using all the resources around her.

  • Spousal encouragement & support
  • My kids as a constant source of material
  • Free resources at the Small Business Institute
  • Author’s guide to book Apps.
  • A community of Authors & mentors at CBI clubhouse.
  • My son’s 2nd grade teacher reviewed my first manuscripts.
  • Get expert tips from a cousin who’s the social media diva for entertainers.
  • Volunteer in the children’s library (great source of Inspiration)

Eight months later, Grendel’s Great Escape is a reality. It’s Inspired by a child with ADHD, for whom every day is an adventure. This interactive story depicts the Show & Tell day’s adventure of Martin and his pet Ferret Grendel. As with many kids, Martin was always putting things of for later, such as cleaning his room, tackling the laundry monster and leashing his Ferret. In this App, kids will join Martin in his race against time to find Grendel while avoiding the grizzly School Principal.

Where's Grendel

Where’s Grendel

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Grendel’s Great Escape Book App

GGE getting help

Recruiting help to find Grendel

Download Grendel’s Great Escape

– iPAD  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grendels-great-escape/id585972636?ls=1&mt=8

– Coming soon to Kindle, Nook & Android Tablets

Find out more at www.bluesandpiper.com

Resources:

Author’s guide to book Apps www.digitalkidsauthor.com

CBI clubhouse www.cbiclubhouse.com

Social Media for Entertainers www.socialmediaforentertainers.com

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