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July 31, 2014

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The Intergalactic Duo Is Back & Bowling | Touch and Go

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Capturing kids’ interest through games and badges is generally effective, but the trivia game ‘Ansel and Clair: American Bowl’ makes it clear that careful consideration must be given to both pacing and learning opportunities.

Axel’s Chain Reaction | Touch and Go

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‘Axel’s Chain Reaction,’ an original story app written by Allison Pomenta and illustrated by Mónica Armiño, provides multiple avenues to explore in a classroom, including a nonfiction investigation on kinetic art. It will also serve character education programs.

Journeys of Invention | Touch and Go

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Prepare to get lost in the latest Touch Press app, ‘Journeys of Invention,’ developed in association with London’s Science Museum. Fourteen threads allow viewers to follow the creation of related technologies through time and cultures, and offer them some hands-on experiences with inventions ranging from a 17th-century microscope to a 20th-century encoder.

Best of Apps & Enhanced Books

Endless Alphabet (Originator Inc.) ©2013

This month’s app selections are strong choices for home and school collections: two engaging productions for kids learning the alphabet, and an interactive introduction to the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and the debates that swirl around the document today.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Starting Shakespeare | Touch and Go

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Plays by Shakespeare often send high school students running for the hills, turned off by the language and ultimately missing out on some of the world’s greatest literary masterpieces. Is there a solution to this problem? Australia’s national theater company, Bell Shakespeare, thinks so.

The Wagner Files | Touch and Go

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“Blaring trumpets, rumbling timpani. Dramatic surges of volume followed by ominous moments of quiet. Nobody has ever accused German composer Richard Wagner of subtlety.” ”The Wagner Files,’ a graphic novel, creates a vivid portrait of the 19th-century composer covering his music, and equally dramatic personal life and political activities from 1848 to his death in 1883.

Lessons from Aesop | Touch and Go

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The ‘Aesop for Children’ for iOS from the Library of Congress provides a window for today’s children into a past where the way a crow manages to get a drink from a bottle and the consequences of goats facing off on a narrow bridge prove instructive for real life.

A Bevy of Alphabet Apps | Touch and Go

Interior screen from "Elmo Loves ABC" (Sesame Street)

Judging from the number of alphabet apps, it appears that every developer has created at least one. This week we look at five of them, each worthy of a child’s attention.

History in the Making | Touch and Go

Interior image from 'The Constitution' (Kids Discover)

When it comes to nonfiction apps for middle grade students, Kids Discover has produced of high-quality products that make welcome additions to classroom collections. Read what Sara Lissa Paulson has to say about their ‘Constitution.’

Out of Australia | Haunting Stories for Tweens and Teens

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When asked about the name “Slap Happy Larry,” Lynley Stace,the author, illustrator, and developer of haunting original digital stories commented, “In hindsight it’s ridiculously ironic. Neither of us is ‘slap happy,’ we don’t know a single ‘Larry’ between us, and our dark stories are not exactly ‘happy!’”

SLJ’s Top 10 Apps of 2013

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It’s a year-long process, but after watching hours upon hours of apps and debating their finer points, we have come up with “SLJ’s Top Ten Apps 2013.” Our list includes innovative works of stunning quality and depth, along with some familiar characters that host loads of engaging interactivity and game play.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

‘Niko and the Sword of Light’: A Graphic Novel in an App | Touch and Go

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A sword-wielding boy on a quest facing monstrous obstacles against a dramatic landscape–what more could fans of graphic novels and adventure stories ask for? ‘Niko and the Sword of Light’ delivers all that and more.

Caught in a Labyrinth: ‘Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure’ | Touch and Go

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Roxie Munro has created a number of maze books; here she takes that concept and turns it into a puzzle app that offers both depth and detail for a range of ages.

Best of Apps & Enhanced Books | November, 2013

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This month’s selection of “Best Apps” demonstrates the range and diversity of digital material available for children and teens. Where else would Charlie Brown, Franz Liszt, and Slap Happy Larry find themselves on the same page?

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Apps for the Halloween Season | Touch and Go

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This holiday sampler features some familiar characters and an opportunity for kids use their math skills.

Confetti Flies and Critters Glide in Boynton’s ‘But Not the Hippopotamus’ | Touch and Go

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Critters glide, jiggle, cavort, and giggle as confetti flies in Loud Crow Interactive’s latest app by Sandra Boynton, ‘But Not the Hippopotamus.’

Disney Animated | Touch and Go

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An awe-inspiring new app from Touch Press offers a look at the history of animation through all 53 of Disney’s animated productions. For students, there’s a lot to learn here about crafting a good story in any medium.

A ‘Midnight Feast’ In a Not-Too-Distant Future? | Touch and Go

Interior screen, 'Midnight Feast' (Slap Happy Larry) illus. by L. Stace

Teachers looking to share a short story in an interactive format should take a look at Midnight Feast, the latest production from Slap Happy Larry. It’s a haunting tale that will appeal to older elementary students, teens, and teachers alike who will all find different delights and messages within. It also comes with educator resources—a 17-page online PDF linked to the app.

Traveling Back in Time: Ancient Civilizations | Touch and Go

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Ancient civilizations are topics where school studies and kids’ interests meet. Two new apps by Kids Discover explore the worlds of Egypt and Greece highlighting stories of mummies and pharaohs, gods and goddesses, and a legendary horse hiding warriors at the gates of Troy.

Best of Apps & Enhanced Books | October 2013

Pigeon Presents…Mo on the Go! (Disney Publishing Worldwide) © Willems.

This month’s featured apps include some familiar characters, a story that has seen a number of awe-inspiring incarnations, and a nonfiction title that illuminates science concepts.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.