As I begin my 5th year reviewing children’s book apps, I’m struck by the evolution of this still embryonic new format. While there are more sophisticated apps coming to market today than in 2010 and signs of an industry that is more sure-footed, the revolution in storytelling that arrived with the tablet has still only just begun.
Every year, since 2011, I have worked hard to find the very best picture book apps for Digital-Storytime’s ‘best of the best’ list just in time for back-to-school. During the summer I go over everything I’ve reviewed. Then I create lists. Lots of lists. Then I organize it, delete a few, add one or two and have my finalists for the ‘best of the best’ I’ve reviewed.
I consider not only the 5/5 star reviews from the past year, but also the real charmers and most interesting and original storytelling. Everything about reviewing apps and books is subjective, even with a rubric or basic guidelines, but these annual ‘best of’ lists are my most subjective and favorite to create.
Every year the list has been a bit different. The first year I had an ‘essential’ top 25 of the books you could use to start an app book library. The second year I had been prolific with reviews and decided to do a 4-part top 50 list broken down by age. Last year I did another top 25 ‘best of” list. And this year, I’m doing something altogether different.
For fall 2014’s list, I have a total of 30 ‘best of’ titles to feature, broken down into five separate categories:
- Top Five Book Apps for Little Ones – http://digitalmediadiet.com/?p=3279
- Top Five Book Apps for Engaging Readers (8-12+) – http://digitalmediadiet.com/?p=3290
- Top Five Picture Book Apps – Art, Music & Poetry – http://digitalmediadiet.com/?p=3252
- Top Five Picture Books – Classics Re-imagined as Apps – http://digitalmediadiet.com/?p=3297
- Top Ten Most Innovative Interactive Picture Book Apps – http://digitalmediadiet.com/?p=3300
Each app featured on these lists is taken from the many reviews I have done in the past twelve months, irregardless of publication date. Just like most readers, I discover apps all the time and they are always new to me, so a few of these titles were published several years ago. 2010 might seem like ancient history in the app world, but not-so-much in the world of good books.
At Digital-Storytime, we take book apps seriously, as both books and apps. This format is all we review for a reason. We believe the best formats for presenting good books will always be story-driven and reader-driven, not technology-driven; technology may be how we tell stories, but it should never be why we tell stories. In a sea of content, it can be difficult to separate a fun kids app that happens to have a storyline from more meaty literature and educational content for young audiences. We hope we’ve helped.
Previous “Best of” Lists (2010-2012):
- 2011 – 1st Annual “Best of” Top 25:
- 2012 – 2nd Annual “Best of ” Top 50:
- 2013 – 3rd Annual “Best of” Top 25: