The Reinvention of Children’s Books

Mathilde Nakken
November 16th 2016

In today's rapidly moving society, even the biggest bibliophiles have problems finding the time to sit down with a good book. Though we never stop reading. Tons of digital letters cross our eyes daily, from email to Twitter feed. So, why are kids still learning to read from a book? Amazon is reinventing the children’s book in the form of an educational reading app called Rapids.

"Stories come alive, one message at the time" is the slogan of Rapids, aimed at children from seven to 12 years old. The app includes stories that can be read like a chat conversation. For example, you can find an adventures chat dialogue between two chickens, who even send images to each other. If the reader comes across an unknown word, the app will provide the definition. Rapids has also a feature called “Read to me”, which allows  a very robotic voice to read to the child. Imagine if Siri was in charge of reading you bedtime stories.

The overall idea is to get kids reading and interacting in a way that feels natural and gives them confidence to read independently on a device they’re already familiar with. But critics asks if this app can really help kids develop a lifelong love of reading. The answers seems to be positive, after all we’re talking about an educational app. Experts, however, warn that increased screen time alone is harmful for children after a certain point.

Does this new tech work better than existing reading tools? What is sure is that when you grow up with the notion that reading is fun, you are more likely to read novels when you are older. For now, we do not have to wave the traditional book goodbye. Surprisingly, this year Amazon also opened the doors of its first physical bookstore.

Source: Wired. Image: Rapids

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Joyce Nabuurs: To me this question seems to be a logical next step in the emancipation movement of the past century. More and more women entered the workspace, but the responsibility for pregnancy and childrearing remained female.

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