Create Your Own E-book

Encourage your young author by publishing his or her own digital story book. A number of kid-friendly e-book apps can be downloaded to your phone or iPad so you can publish on-the-go this summer vacation.

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With National Science Foundation funding, the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab has developed this app for the International Children's Digital Library. StoryKit transforms your childrens' stories into e-books that can be created and read on your iPhone or digital tablet.

Illustrate the story with photos that are already on your phone or take a picture specifically for your child's book. Alternatively, you can draw scenes with your finger to go along with the story you type in the text boxes or record as a voice-over. You can even add sound effects.

Spark your child's imagination by starting with one of four public domain picture books included in the app and building on it. For example, your child can retell The Three Little Pigs with a different ending. Perhaps this time Humpty Dumpty doesn't fall off the wall.

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With StoryBuddy, your child can write with his or her finger or use the onscreen keyboard to make a 15-page e-book. Even kindergarteners can navigate the simple tools of this app; simply tap on a crayon to pick a color to draw with. Text also can be displayed in different colors. The finished picture book can be exported to iBooks so it can be read again and again.

The StoryBuddy app has been successfully used in kindergarten classrooms with a set of iPads. Suggest it to your child's teacher for integrating computer skills, art and phonics into a fun and engaging hands-on exercise.


The San Francisco Children's Museum and Stanford's Graduate School of Education have teamed up to bring you the Toontastic app. Your kids can build their own stories, starting with a framework of five scene types: setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution. Toontastic then leads you through a selection process allowing you to choose from pre-drawn characters (from pirates to dragons) and settings (from castles to outer space) or create your own.

Once your child has a general plot in mind, the real fun begins. After you press the 'start animation' button, the characters can be dragged around the screen or rotated with two fingers and their limbs can be moved individually, all while your voice is being recorded to narrate the story. Just add background music and your cartoon is ready to share.

Your children can publish their Toontastic creations online at ToonTube and check out submissions from around the world. Maybe your son or daughter's cartoon will be nominated for best story or animation and win a Golden Monkey Award!

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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