In which Miss Molly gets interactive.

Happy 2015 library lovers! I hope the start of your new year has been wonderful.

I thought I would start off with the first post of the year by talking about something near and dear to my heart; something that makes reading with your child, you niece/nephew/neighbor kid, or whoever you read children’s books with. That’s right, interaction.

Potential interaction is what makes apps such a powerful tool in children’s literacy. It draws kids in. It tickles their sense of wonder and imagination. It draws them closer, not only to the story, but the person they are reading with, too.

For this post, I’m not talking about book apps, or really any new screen technology at all. I’m talking about interactive picture books. Those books that draw you in, ask for your to move the story along, ask for you to help the characters, or get the characters in trouble.

The first book that I remember reading with my godmother was “The Monster at the End of this Book”. Remember? When furry, loveable, cute Grover doesn’t want you to turn the page because there’s a MONSTER at the end of the book, and every page you turn brings you closer to the monster! And Grover continues to try to stop you turning the pages by doing increasingly silly things, only to find out…the monster at the end of the book is only him. monster

Every time I read the book, I would giggle at silly Grover, trying to stop the page from turning, but it still had some kind of logic too it. I wanted to see if he would change his tactics to stop me from turning the page. I wanted him not to be scared, and to show him that there wasn’t a monster. It still made me giggle, but I wanted Grover not to be scared.

That was my first experience. Preparing for storytimes at the library, I have been loving coming across books with this same level of interaction–both physical and app-based. What got me thinking about interactive picture books has been discovering awesome book apps. They remind me what awesome potential the written word has.

So, I decided to compile a little list of my favorites so far. There are no many out there, and these are just the ones that are (in my opinion) the best. It is by no means exhaustive. But it IS full of fun.

Mix It Up and Press Here by Herve Tullet. mix it uppress hereThese two books are beyond wonderful. By pressing the pictures, mixing the colors, tipping the book and all manner of things, the colors change, the amount of circles change, and it’s all due to your direct actions. This is pure magic for kids.

I mentioned Mix it Up a few posts ago, and how the kids were amazed that they were the ones changing the story. They loved having that control, that magical power, that ability to affect the story so completely.

They really thought they were ruining the book. They kept looking at their hands, expecting there to be paint on their fingers, and wondering what else they might do.

These books reinforce colors, counting, and directions.

There are No Cats in This Book, by Viviane Schwarzno catsThe cats in this book really want to explore and see the world. They try their hardest to  get out, but are only able to with the reader’s help. The cats have all kinds of requests on how they can get out, and the cats talk directly to the reader–a hallmark draw. There is an instant connection. The cats are asking the readers for help.

It is sweet, funny, and lots of fun. The cats finally do get out, and when they come back, they bring a whole bunch of great friends.

Tap to Play, Salina Yoon.tap to playThis one is structured like a video game. The adorable red circle has a mission, to get to the top of the page. If he does, he will get a surprise! He has all sorts of thoughts on how to accomplish his mission, but only with the reader’s help. Tip the book. Shake the book. All sorts.

As I said, not an exhaustive list, but just a few really fun things to give a try.

What do you think of my list? Do  you have a favorite?

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