Exploring Apps and Picture Books with Junoberry

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Last year I started off an occasional feature of app developer interviews, visiting Canada and the Netherlands on the way. Today I’m not travelling quite so far – just a short hop up to Scotland to speak to Lorna Freytag. Lorna has written and illustrated several picture books for young children and been nominated for several awards. Now her company Junoberry’s first app is out, and I’m very pleased to review it on the blog today. As Lorna is a veteran of picture books in print, I was interested to find out not only how Sock Monster came about, but how she sees the relationship between print and apps.

First, I asked Lorna about how Junoberry was set up and why she moved into apps.

“I’m an illustrator (and author) of children’s picture books but I’ve always been interested in how to make my images move, whether that be for film or for apps or whatever. So doing an interactive storybook app seemed like the right step. My husband (and creative director) Daniel encouraged me to really go for it and we were lucky to find David at Ludometrics, a local developer who shared our enthusiasm at trying something new that may or may not make us any money!  So we set up our little company Junoberry – named after our 2 year old daughter Juno and just had a bash!”

What are your views on the relationship between picture books and apps – as an illustrator of picture books already, how do you see the role of each format?

“I like to try not to take too much attention away from the actual story but I think using an iPad version of a book just gives even more opportunity for fun (and learning and reading should be fun!). I think it encourages kids to look at the printed book too and they always like recognising the characters and scenes.”

Why did you decide to do Sock Monster as both an app and in print?

“I am foremost a printed book lover and collector and have worked in many children’s bookshops over the years but I know times are changing and I think combining iPad versions of books with the printed version catches everyone’s attention. It helps steer non-book-readers towards printed versions and vice-versa.”

I have to agree with Lorna on this point – I find it so frustrating when technology is seen as a negative thing in itself without any consideration of how it is used, such as the potential benefits in terms of accessing stories, particularly for reluctant readers. Ideally children should be able to access both, and I love the way Junoberry are covering all bases with Sock Monster. Good luck Lorna and Daniel with this and future projects!

To find out more about Junoberry and to be updated on when the print version of Sock Monster is available, visit http://junoberry.com/

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