Do you want to teach your child a different language? How about expose his or her to artwork in Paris with a fun and engaging app?
I am excited to present children’s book writer and illustrator, Monica Wellington. Monica is a talented author and illustrator with over 40 books in print including Crêpes by Suzette and Colors for Zena. Both her illustrations and stories are beautiful, colorful and engaging. Many of her children’s books also reflect her international background and love for Paris. A couple of years ago, I found the book, Crêpes by Suzette at my local library. When I got in touch with Monica about this book, she told me about her future plans for the app, Crêpes by Suzette. To see my review of this app plus suggestions for parents, click here.
To check out Monica’s website and link to her blog, click here.
Check out my questions and Monica’s responses below. I love her tips below, plus her thoughts in making the app an educational and artistic experience for all!
I think the book really lends itself to this new form. I was able to expand and enlarge the book, and make it more educational as well. It has now become a multimedia introduction to French culture through language, food, art, and music.
I was sad when the book went out-of-print. I received many emails from people looking for copies and it was frustrating that I didn’t have any. So this is finally a way to bring it back to life.
2. What was the process in developing your app?
The idea to make Suzette into an app started four years ago. The app is a huge collage of my illustrations, sound, voices, music, video and more, and I created every part of it. For example on a trip to Paris, with my digital recorder I collected sounds from the streets, playgrounds, markets, carousels and then I did the editing on my apple computer. All in all I created several hundred pieces of sound for the app. Initially I was working with a coder who was trying to build the backbone of the app from scratch but he ran into too many problems, and finally I went with a team of experienced developers based in the Netherlands. I supplied all the material and they snapped it together and did all the testing so that it runs smoothly. I think they did a great job!
3. Can you provide some tips for parents in how to use your app?
The app is a great way for everyone to learn some key French words, with a perfect accent of course! Parents can encourage their children to imitate the voices they hear when they touch the people and animals in the pictures. They can also open the “Vocabulary” page from the map and practice those words in more languages: Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese. Studies all show that the earlier children start learning new languages the better!
Each of Suzette’s customers are based on famous works of art. From the map there is a link to the museum where children, with the help of their parents, can learn more about the artwork. There is a “parental gate” so that children can’t leave the app to go on the internet on their own, but following the instructions (holding down the link for several seconds) parents and children together can find out more about some great works of art.
The app purposely does not have games, puzzles, coloring pages, or other kinds of non-book distractions. It is meant to stay close to the heart of the original book and to remain essentially a “book” experience.
4. Do you have any plans for any future apps or books coming out?
I would love to expand some more of my books into apps, but I don’t have any specific plans yet. I have a new book coming out in September from Dial, titled “My Leaf Book”. In it, a child creates a book full of her favorite leaves to celebrate autumn!