One of the delights of our work is the chance to see firsthand how authors are using eBooks–and particularly the interactivity they allow–to design engaging, fun and educational children’s books.
Created by Love Your Lingo, The Little Linguist’s Alphabet is a multilingual alphabet with 26 objects that all start with the same letter in six different languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch.
The eBook devotes one page to each letter and includes native speakers of each language saying both the letter and the corresponding word for the object shown on the page.
This idea grew out of necessity as my own little girl was a little puzzled when she first started to discover the alphabet. I was determined to keep her language experience fun and effortless, but I could see a few little negative thoughts creeping in as she struggled to identify which letter was which. It was ‘p pour parapluie’ with her French Papa, but on the English alphabet on our wall, it was ‘u for umbrella’.
By choosing words that start with the same letter in all six languages, The Little Linguist’s Alphabet helps children focus on how different languages use different words or pronunciation for the same object or letter and ensures that bilingual/multilingual children have a positive and fun language experience.
The majority of children’s picture books we produce are fixed-layout eBooks, as these formats ensure that the complex layout and vivid illustrations are maintained so the eBook looks just like your print book. Amazon and Barnes and Noble have their own fixed-layout formats for children’s eBooks (KF8 and Nook Kids formats), and we also produce fixed layout ePUB 3, which is the most widely supported fixed-layout format and can be distributed to Apple’s iTunes and iBooks store, Google Play, Kobo, OverDrive and StoryTel.
In addition to being the most widely supported fixed-layout format, ePUB 3 is also the most advanced and can include read-aloud audio and simple animation, though support for those features will depend on the device a reader is using.
The ePUB 3 for The Little Linguist’s Alphabet includes touch and play audio, so the audio is triggered for each word when a child taps on it, making it much more interactive and engaging reading experience. There are also some fun sound effects included, and small audio icons were placed throughout the book to help ensure young readers don’t miss out on any of those extra sounds.
For this particular project we produced a separate ePUB 3 for Android devices as their support for touch and play audio differs from iOS devices. As shown in the screenshot to the right, audio skins are used in Google Play Books to control each audio clip, which means some additional icons on the page.
The Nook Kids format (shown below) supports pop-up text, read-aloud audio and also the touch and play audio that was used in the ePUB 3 format. In this format, the sound is controlled by pop-up boxes that a reader brings up by tapping on them. Readers can use these pop-up icons to pause the audio.
We also produced a KF8 file for Amazon of The Little Linguist’s Alphabet. No audio is included in this version as KF8 files don’t currently support read-aloud narration or tap and play audio.
The Little Linguist’s Alphabet is available from several of our distribution channels that carry fixed layout titles and is also available on Love Your Lingo’s website.