Saturday, 25 July 2015

Kindle Kids by Susan Price


In between bouts of editing the Sterkarms, I've been having a look at Kindle Kids' Book Creator.

I'm interested because I'm hoping to publish some picture books,
with my brothers as illustrators.

Brother Adam's chapati chasing tiger
So, what does the Kindle Kids' Book Creator offer?

It allows you to import art work in jpeg, tif or png format (it says here. The only one of them I know anything about is jpeg.)

It recommends, however, that you save your book as 'a multi-paged PDF file,' with the cover included as the first page, and upload it like that - which is what my brothers and I will be doing.

The part that really interests me, though, is the 'text pop-ups.'

Since the text will probably be embedded in the art-work, and might be viewed on the small screen of a mobile phone, it will be quite hard to read. Kindle Kids allows you to programme in a 'text
Brother Andrew's goat-bothering troll
pop-up'  - that is, to add a window into which you type your text. When a reader taps on this it will 'pop-up', allowing the text to be easily read. Another tap, and it goes away again.


When you download Kindle Kids, a detailed book of instructions is included, as a PDF.

There's also a Previewer, which allows you to see what your picture book will look like on several different devices.

I wonder if Amazon has plans to extend the possibilities of Kindle Kids? I've been looking at picture book apps which allow you, for instance, to tap on a word and hear that word spoken aloud - so helping children to link the spoken word, which they probably already recognise, with the written word.

The apps allow you to highlight one word - so books that emphasis a particular sound might highlight the letters that produce that sound.

These apps also make it possible to touch a picture of a dog, and hear it bark - or the picture of a ship and see it sail away, off the page. I would love to do something like this, but could not possibly afford to pay a programmer a fair price to do all that pernickety, brain-breaking work.

If anyone knows more about these apps, I'd be very interested to learn.

The work that goes into a picture-book, by the way - I'll say it again - is enormous. And usually under-rated. The composition of the pictures, the balance of colours and shapes - the revision to allow for text - the revision of the text to fit with the pictures - the effort needed to make the few limited words bounce and spark... It annoys me to see these books so often dismissed as 'stuff for kids' when they are works of art and love.


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2 comments:

Wendy Jones said...

Thanks for the overview Susan. I had heard about this but didn't know anything about it. Really interesting

Lydia Bennet said...

Definitely a post for the 'how to' collection! How fascinating. Great to use technology to expand what readers can experience from a book. I wonder how it could work for adult literature... Good luck with your new ventures!