Hi Everyone, let’s get right to it! I’m so excited to share with you these videos about my fave book, It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr. Check it out!
UL (Unconventional Librarian): Do you drink coffee?
Oz: If by coffee you mean Soy Macchiatos then yes I drink coffee. I don’t really trust people who don’t drink coffee. (UL: me neither)
UL: Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?
Oz: I’m Canadian, we invented donuts! I dip cookies, flirting with the structural integrity, then extracting the cookie at the last possible moment when the cookie is more liquid than solid. (UL: swooning)
UL: How did you decide to make the jump from book to app?
Oz: When I saw the excitement kids had for tablets. I knew that tablets were going to be a big part of our kid’s lives so I wanted to make sure that they had a high quality reading experience as well.
UL: Did you have any children as testers? If so, what was their response?
Oz: Lots. We test every version, every update, every book and every feature with kids. We also work with other research groups and media advocacy groups to knowledge share. Kids love the Create function on Storypanda. It gives them the opportunity to be their own writers. Kids love to be challenged so once they’ve read a book it’s great to challenge them with creating their own.
UL: Have you thought about altering the story so the user could choose two mommies or two daddies?
OZ: I have two moms so it’s always a consideration. Our book called It’s Okay to be Different shows kids that it’s okay to have two moms or two dads. It’s a great story from author Todd Parr. (UL: YES YES YES!!!)
UL: If you could have any superpower what would it be?
OZ: My life is pretty awesome and I don’t want much but I’m an avid surfer so sometimes I wish I could hold my breath longer. But I’m not sure having a holding breath superpower really helps humanity. I also have a lot of responsibility right now and “with great power, comes great responsibility,” so I’ll pass on having any extra superpowers and just stick to making kids books. Maybe making children’s book apps is my superpower. (UL: Me thinks that’s a pretty awesome one)
UL: What’s your next book that you’ll turn into an app ?
OZ: We have over a hundred coming out this year. What one do you want to see as an interactive app? We’ll try to get it done this summer. (UL: Right now I’m loving Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira)
UL: Have you ever thought of putting a ukelele playing librarian in an app?
OZ: Yes! We just haven’t found the right muse. Any suggestions? (UL: Whadaya know, I just happen to have a Ukelele, have you seen him? His name is Johnny Tsunami; What a coincidence!)
UL: Is this app available for speakers of other languages or abilities?
Oz: Yes. We have 4 spanish books, 3 German books and 2 Mandarin books coming out on the Storypanda book app. Also a lot of our kids and parents change the English text and write in other languages. About 20% of our readers are non-English speakers. (UL: I LOVE this idea! It’s so inclusive.)
How awesome is Storypanda?? Check out these screenshots for more about Storypanda and the It’s Okay to be Different app.
So hey friends, there doesn’t seem to be another more inclusive environment than Storypanda and the It’s Okay to Be Different app; I especially love that it addresses the previously ignored population of special needs kids or kids from LGBT families.
Storypanda and Co-Founder and Creative Director James Chutter (aka Oz) score four paws from me. Keep up the good work and where can I get some of those Canadian donuts??