Not all book apps are created for the picture-book crowd; today’s review highlights one produced for middle school students. While this app, like many of the others designed for this age group, isn’t narrated, sound effects, “edgy music,” and interactive features are used to good effect, notes our reviewer Elisabeth LeBris.
Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential Graphic Novel
Free Spirit Publishing
iOS 4.0 or later
Gr 5-7-Eight short graphic chapters chronicle some of the personal struggles and challenges facing adolescents today. Based on the Annie Fox’s blended fiction/nonfiction book by the same name title in Free Spirit’s “Middle School Confidential” series, the app doesn’t include much of the non-comic narrative, quotes, and quizzes found in the book, but it adds edgy music, sound effects, and simple interaction.
Flipping the title screen allows viewers to meet the story’s six main characters and find information about the app, or, they can advance straight to the story. Through believable scenarios, depicted on colorful panels by illustrator Matt Kindt, the diverse friends interact at school and in their neighborhood helping one another as they confront self-esteem, friendship, and family issues and discuss truth and courage. The use of slang gives the characters authenticity but may date the content quickly.
The tap-to-interact feature is smooth. Background sound effects (a bouncing ball, kids playing at a pool, thunder and rain) add to the experience. Zoom-in and zoom-out as well as page-turn sounds are well executed. This app is meant to be read by viewers (no narration or read-along features). Upon restarting, the app will pick up where the reader left off; no bookmark feature is provided. The “i” feature allows changes in the menu at readers’ discretion. While there is nothing highly innovative or interactive here, this is good-quality targeted character education.–Elisabeth LeBris, Joseph Sears School LTC, Kenilworth, IL
Friday’s review: It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex!-Smithsonian’s Prehistoric Pals