After a very full first year curating the best of the iPad app market for children’s picture books, Seattle-based Digital-Storytime will celebrate the site’s first birthday with a full month to focus on the very best book apps published in 2011 – featuring 31 titles that have received a perfect five stars – and 4 Canadian developers are on that list.
“These are some of the most exceptional enhanced book apps in the children’s digital market,” says site co-founder, Carisa Kluver. “More importantly,” she adds, “This list represents 27 of the finest developers to enter this new market. Since we began this site to highlight top notch digital reading opportunities for kids, we want to take a moment at the end of our first year to say thank you for creating great content.”
Developers on this list include: Oceanhouse Media, Loud Crow Interactive, Auryn Apps, Nosy Crow, Disney Digital Books, Zanzibook, Monster Costume, Game Collage, Bayard UK, OCG Studios, One Hundred Robots, Grids Interactive, Callaway Digital Arts, MoonBot Studios, Egmont Books, Tizio Publishing, Ink Robin, Shape Mind & Moving Images, Electric Eggplant, Amos Latteier, Mobad Games, Rucks Media, Jelly Biscuit, Tokeru Publishing, Apphaus Design, DemiBooks and Extra Special Kids Apps.
Digital-Storytime was founded by Marc and Carisa Kluver. Marc was a seasoned computer programmer who decided to try his hand at iOS & Android app development in 2009. Carisa, a former social worker, counselor and researcher in child & maternal health, began working with apps initially by promoting some of her husband’s efforts. She soon realized there was an even bigger need she could fill by creating a dedicated site for book app reviews.
“It was like the wild-west for content in the app world,” remarks Carisa about the apps she first downloaded onto her iPad in April of 2010. She reports searching for an educated source for advice about what would be appropriate for her own child. When she couldn’t find a good site, she talked her computer savvy partner into creating a custom database to house her reviews, which now number over 400.
The site will be expanding to cover cross-over hits for the new Kindle Fire & Nook Color markets in 2012. The couple plans to continue their focus on the iPad book app, though. “These new enhanced book apps are really special,” says Marc. “We noticed right away, as parents, that these were really engaging reading experiences for our own child, but the quality of the apps we discovered varied a lot. Once Carisa got the reviewing bug, what could I do but support her efforts?” he adds.
The site also maintains a handpicked list of ‘daily deals’ featuring the best free apps & price drops on kids apps for all iOS devices, providing curation beyond just digital books.
The list of 31 top titles is featured in the blog, The Digital Media Diet, also maintained by Ms. Kluver. It is one of over a dozen unique lists of recommended reading for kids that includes a top 25 to start a digital kids library, best apps for animation, most innovative interactivity and even a list for older & reluctant readers who need a little ‘digital inspiration’.
For the time being, this husband and wife team has also put app-development on the back burner. “There are already more than enough apps out there,” remarks Carisa, “it’s finding them that really matters now.”