Saturday, February 5, 2011

We love librarians!

And we’re always interested in what they think about books, and now digital books. I found librarian Mary Ann Scheuer’s post E-books for children, tweens, and young adults on her blog because she found and followed the E is for Book blog. This excerpt is used with her permission:

My children have read a few books on our e-readers. The two older children read The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan, on our iPad. They really liked the experience for many reasons. They liked reading it at night in the dark, as the iPad is backlit. It gave them a cozy feeling, snuggling up in the dark. My fourth grader liked reading it with a slightly enlarged font, so it was easier to read. They both read it at the same time, and found it easy to mark their places. And there is certainly the novelty aspect - it was simply fun to read on a new toy.

I was impressed that they were able to fall into the book with the e-reader, developing the deep concentration that reading brings on. Often when we read on a screen, especially at our computers, we bounce around and our attention is scattered by to many demands. But reading a novel on the e-reader was a very different experience. They were not distracted by the fact that the iPad was also the device that they use for games...

...The last point that I am exploring and thinking about is how younger children will access picture books using e-readers. The iPad and other full color tablets provide a fascinating opportunity for picture rich e-books. But children using iPads want more interactivity. Book authors, illustrator and designers will need to strike an interesting balance, making their picture books interactive, but not overwhelming the essence of the story. I found the Magic School Bus: Oceans e-book a fantastic example of getting this balance right.

She makes several other good points that authors and illustrators would do well to keep in mind. Mary Ann is a K–5 librarian who lives in Berkeley, CA. 

Thanks for adding to the conversation about digital books!

3 comments:

  1. interesting to get a point of view from someone who really understand kids and what kids read. Great post!

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  2. She packed so much info into one post!

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  3. As a novelist, I really like hearing that the children seemed able to "fall into" the book on an ereader, which was something I worried about. But I also liked this part:

    "Book authors, illustrator and designers will need to strike an interesting balance, making their picture books interactive, but not overwhelming the essence of the story. I found the Magic School Bus: Oceans e-book a fantastic example of getting this balance right."

    I think balance is going to be key with picture books on the iPad (or whatever device). Enough interactivity to satisfy the kids, but not so much that the story is lost.

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