Yesterday I participated in my first live twitter chat. I also thought of titling this post “Twitter Chats and Your Typing Speed” because, goodness, do you need some fast fingers to get involved in a twitter chat! It moves a million miles an hour.
The twitter chat I participated in was #storyappchat which is held every Sunday 9pm (US Eastern time)–11am my time. This week’s topic was Books without Words. The transcript for the discussion is available through Scribd. (Please note, I was tweeting under @bnemedia.)
As I am currently in the process of creating a children’s storybook app with sister Beth, this entire chat series intrigues me. This topic, however, more so than most–we never thought of creating a wordless book.
We never thought about it because the two of us–the animator/illustrator and the writer–together seems like a match made in heaven. If we wanted to create a wordless picture book, I would become obsolete. If the idea was there, and we could still work on the story together, but no text was needed, I would have no issue supporting an wordless picture book (or picture book app, as is more my flavour).
Having said that, I personally would find it as dull as dullsville if a picture book had no words, no matter how amazing the images are–and I wouldn’t create something I find dull. If it’s dull for me, then it’s definitely going to be dull for its readers. It should be noted that I haven’t ‘seen’ a picture book without words, either. (I originally typed ‘read’ instead of ‘seen’, but you can’t technically read something that has no words.) **
I came into the discussion a little late, when the chat began talking about narration in storybook apps when there is no text. I am not sure what the purpose of this would be. Yes, I understand that sometimes fitting text to a screen page is difficult–we’ve had several discussions about this over the BnE Media app. But I don’t think the solution is to remove the text entirely.
We started debating the idea of audio books: why can’t there be narration-only apps if audio books exist? As I mentioned in the chat, audio books go hand-in-hand with their hardcopy partner. We were talking about the text being nowhere. Apps need to grow with children, as books do. As a child, you are read a story to you until you are old enough to read it yourself. Often that story becomes a favourite.
My sister loved the book The Littlest Bunny. (A bad home-taken Amazon pic of it.) She absolutely adored it. Whenever we could pick a book to be read to us, she would pick that one. She had it read to her so many times that she could point to the words as our parents said them. She heard it so many times that she could eventually recite the entire book, pointing the words out one at a time. She read it to a class of kindergarten-ers when she was at preschool. And then eventually, she could actually read the book.
That’s the point though: kids grow with their books. Take the words away and they’ve got nowhere to go.
What do you think? Narration and no text? Does a text-story add anything to the book that a picture-story can’t say?
**Record for saying dull the most times in a sentence? Anyone?