Children’s Books Going Electronic?

“What is a book really? Is it its body or soul?” Anna Quindlin, Newsweek

As I wrote this in my journal last night – my 8 yr old daughter was listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on CD in her room while following along in my copy of the print book – my my what a long way books have come, from books on tape, to books on CD to now your Kindle or Nook will read to you while you drive down the road or you can even dowload audio books from sites such as…who needs a CD Player or Tape Deck, an eReader or even an iPod will suffice.

For me books began with Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat (the very book I learned to read from), Green Eggs and Ham (I do not like them Sam I Am), and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – while these did not make the standard introduction in my childrens’ libraries, Go Do Go did! “Do you like my Hat, No I do Not Like That Hat, Good-Bye, Good-Bye” these lines and many other opposites made their way into that book, teaching my son about them in the process of reading said book night after night until we switched over the Where the Wild Things Are. My reading library grew from these as have my children’s libraries to now encompass items such as Percy JacksonLego NinjagoDiary of a Wimpy Kid, and many many others.  Going back in time again though, we would have seen on my childhood bookshelf, items such as Scott O’Dells’ Island of the Blue Dolphins or E.B. Whites’ Charlotte’s WebStuart LittleThe Trumpet Swan, moving into my pre-teen to teen years these changed over to the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High.  Fast forward through time to present and we now find eReaders in everyone’s hands.

As people adapt, publishers are trying to do the same, they are searching for ways to incorporate children’s books into this medium and they are finding themselves unsure of how to do this.  Think about it, would I as a parent of my ADHD Twins (a son 10 and a daughter 8) hand them their Grandpa’s iPad with a book pre-loaded and send them off to read it? The answer here is a resounding NO! So then, like the publishers, I find myself wondering what my options are for them.  One being the Leapster my Daughter got for Christmas, it has the capacity to act as an eReader (we haven’t used this app yet, we’re still learning how to navigate the toy itself).  Deborah Forte of Scholastic Media sums it up best”We do think its going to take a little time to determine how relevant this platform is going to be for kids”

So long as the publishers are waffling, parents are as well – sure you see kids with either a smartphone or an iPade and it begs the question of what they are doing.  Publishers are asking themselves that same question – answer was to make the books a more interactive experience, make them more like games and less like print books – Kristen McClean, Executive Director of the Association of Booksellers “Content is not replacing traditional books, its replacing games” if eBooks will replace mindless video games for kids, then I am all for it! BUT, personally my children will continue to have an extensive print library.

I think it’s time for our next FanFic review – mayhap I’ll pull a crossover – mayhap I’ll pull something traditional, we shall see!


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