Making a Connection With Interactive Children's Books
Bazan also helped bring author Marianne Berkes' and illustrator Roberta Baird's The Swamp Where Gator Hides to digital life. With the digital app, children can choose between "Read to Me" and "Read to Myself." They can touch the animals to prompt realistic movements, and they can choose whether the star character -- the Gator -- gets to eat his lunch, or the "lunch" gets away.
A New Development
From a publishing perspective, interactive digital content has changed the way that books are created and released. Take the artwork for example, which Philpott noted used to be largely created by illustrators working in traditional media forms: "Even just a couple of years ago, we had illustrators that were working in watercolor and cut paper. And we'd get these beautiful illustrations, but when a developer would have to take those illustrations into digital apps, it took forever! They'd have to be recreated."
Today, paper-based books are developed alongside the digital companions, which requires artists and illustrators who work in digital media already. This cuts down on the creative time "immensely," says Philpott.
When titles like The Mouse and the Meadow and The Swamp Where Gator Hides are ready, they're put before "beta testers" -- teachers and classrooms of children -- to see if they pass the stringent real-world examinations. And while teachers still appreciate a great hardcopy book to share with their students, Philpott says that many are eager for great content to be used on iPads and other electronic devices now in widespread use thanks to educational grants and digital investments.
Parents still value a mix of traditional books, ebooks, and digital apps, says Philpott. "There are parents that still love to read a book to their kids at night, because they've had long days and have been on their computers all day, so the last thing they want is to sit in front of an electronic device. But I've also found that many younger parents are completely reliant on mobile devices and find that it's the best way to keep up with their children, to connect with them."
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