Today I’m featuring a guest post by Maria Hughes, a mom and children’s book lover who is excited about a new app called Put Me in the Story from publisher Sourcebooks. Maria specifically talks about Dream Big, Little Pig, which is one of the titles available, and I have also really liked My Name is Not Isabella, My Name is Not Alexander, and If I Could Keep You Little… Here’s what Maria has to say:
Anytime I can, I always look for books my kids would like that happen to have their names in them. Whether it is a main character or just brought up in some way or another doesn’t matter, just that it has my child’s name. This may seem like an incredibly vain thing but I have a good reason, my kids really pay attention and absorb the story when their name is mentioned in it! This was a concept I had worked on for a while even when I was making up my own stories for my kids years ago.
So you have no idea how excited I was to see an entirely new app appear for my iPad with a focus on personalizing children’s books for the kids. Put Me in the Story by Sourcebooks manages to provide a perfect little innovation that technology can now incorporate and not just the parents. This entire app, found in the apple store, is devoted to the personalization of bestselling books from the publishers with Sourcebooks. Some of them might not be that famous, but probably the most known one is Elmo Loves You.
The app itself lets you pick from a collection of books (Which you have to buy separately, except for the first one) and then you provide the name of the child and then your name or something like Mom or Dad. Once that is done, you read the story just like normal, except occasionally you’ll see your child’s name in the writing. In the case of the book I read for my daughter with this app, Dream Big, Little Pig, Poppy the pig had a friend in the story that would always tell her “Dream Big, Pig.” This friend gets named your child’s name, so suddenly my daughter, Cynthia, was part of the story and providing the most important line for this story!
The first time I said it Cynthia perked up, after that though she was paying so much attention that she was shouting that same line again when it came around to it. She got fully into the story. And I wasn’t the only one that saw this, my teenaged daughter occasionally reads the stories to her sister too and she always warns Cynthia ahead of time when her ‘speaking parts’ are coming up. So now not only was I able to bond with my kids through these books, but even my children are bonding better through reading these books.
The innovation of doing this with apps is something I had long been waiting for, and I’m glad they managed to incorporate the process. Of course I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’ve built a deeper relationship with my children because of these like the company had boasted, but that is probably because my kids are already used to getting an interactive reading/listening experience, especially when I know the story ahead of time.
But regardless, this app is definitely well worth it, especially since you can get a selection of books, and they keep releasing new ones. Although I do wish their selection could be a bit bigger, and that they could get access to other publisher’s books, but at least it is a large step in the right direction and something it provides that I can’t when reading the stories, is that my kids can read them themselves with their names input into it so they don’t have to remember the areas where I changed their name.
In fact, in the case with my daughter Cynthia, she’s already learned how to read Dream Big, Little Pig, because it had her name in it and she really wanted to see the words for herself. This can definitely be the perfect push into getting your kids to literature and beyond with their reading. I really hope the company releases young adult or chapter books with this as well. They could almost be like the new version of the ‘choose your own adventure’ books.
Maria L Hughes is a children’s book enthusiast and online publisher for childrensbookstore.com. She enjoys blogging about reading and children’s books.