Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

My Story - Book Maker for Kids

My Story - Book Maker for Kids

Spring 2014 Mobile Apps
Ages: 6 - 12 yrs.
Developer: CauseLabs
Download Price: $4.99
Platform: iPad

My Story - Book Maker for Kids allows even pre-readers to create storybooks to share with friends and family. Children create e-books a page at a time by adding drawings, clip art, and photos and then recording sound clips or narrations to go along with their artwork. Text can also be included if the phrases are not overly long; complicated stories work better as audio clips. The drawing tools offer a moderate range of colors and brushes, enough to amuse any budding artist. When a book is complete (or even merely in progress) it can be played back and shared via email or social media; a link is provided so the recipient can view the book on the publisher's website.

My Story - Book Maker encourages a wide range of creativity. Some children will enjoy the artistry and create wonderful fantasies. One tester generated a hand-illustrated diary, complete with narrations. The ease of the sound recordings makes this a particularly entertaining app for younger children.

The application allows for multiple user accounts, and each user can create many unique books. Parents will need to establish an account with Bright Bot to allow saving and synchronization of stories; however, once this is completed, the stories can be accessed from multiple platforms. Synchronization can be slow when the stories get long or include photographs, but users can be sure their books will never be lost by an application crash.

Parents should be careful about letting older children use the app, as the qualifying question to establish the adulthood of the user (and thus give permission to share books on social media) is a trivial two-digit math problem that most 8-year-olds can easily manage, and there is nothing to prevent a child from including personal information, even personal photographs, in his or her books. Additional security, such as a password to an adult's account, would be a sensible addition to this otherwise fun program.

Emily Crawford   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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