Spring Changes: a book morphs into a beautifully produced app!

April 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Auryn just released Spring Changes, my Scholastic book from 2002, as an app. It is now available at the iTunes store. It works fabulously, I think, but here’s the most interesting thing to me: the app is better than the book! It is more effective in doing what Spring Changes was developed to do (present basic facts about the season, encourage sensory awareness, and develop early reading skills) AND it is more creative in its presentation.

Ellen Senisi's Spring Changes app produced by Auryn

 Three reasons why the app is better than the book:

1 – The quality of the images is excellent –  the light from behind, while viewing on the iPad, makes the images come alive in a way they did not in the book. Scholastic did, after all, print Spring Changes as a mass market paperback and the quality of the paper and printing was never able to do justice to the images so it’s great to see them “shine”. It’s like looking at slides again (anybody remember film?). Slides were always visually superior to prints and now, when viewing photographs on a tablet, that color-saturated, mysteriously-glowing aura is back!

Girl skipping in spring from Spring Changes

2 – I also found that my original concept of using a background on each page worked so much more successfully in app form than it did in the book! While creating the book, I photographed some textural, evocative essence-of-spring images, put them at 50% or so opacity, and placed them behind the main images on the page. In the book, they look muddy on the low-quality paper and almost clutter the page. In the book, they are static but in the app, they are a dynamic part of the book’s flow! As you turn pages, the texture appears first and fills the screen before the main image comes up. The texture fills the screen again between page changes. This gives Spring Changes a beautiful and unifying flow. Plus, the textural transitions really add to the sensory awareness of the season that I originally had in mind.

pussywillows as background for a children's app

3 – There is the usual interactivity, such as word identification for lots of nouns in the photos and different reading options, but this app goes further than that: kids can actually make their own personalized Spring Changes. They have the option to type in their own text and add their own photos. They can import photos or use their own taken on the iPad camera. In doing so, they seamlessly move from reader to writer. How’s that for getting involved? For encouraging reading? And promoting creativity?

 I will produce a video trailer for the app soon that shows kids using these interactive functions. Great job by Auryn in bringing this title to life – find it at iTunesSpring Changes pushes the envelope of the reading experience, and I will be figuring out ways to push it farther in upcoming titles already under contract with Auryn. Next up, the companion title: Fall Changes!
page from Spring Changes, an app for children

Auryn’s Newest iPad App: The Emperor’s Race

April 18, 2012 § Leave a comment


Brings Together a Brilliant Story of Teamwork and Cooperation Giving the Reader a Thoughtful and Engaging Message

 Auryn, Inc., the premiere and most award-winning digital publisher focused on interactive children’s stories for the iPad and other tablet devices, announced today the availability of The Emperor’s Race.

The Emperor’s Race is a part of the Auracle line from Auryn Inc. and is based on Kate Dargaw’s book by the same name, illustrated by Igor Oleynikov. It is a digital story in which thirteen animals have come to the river for the Emperor’s race. The first twelve to reach the other side of the river will be the signs of the new calendar. The animals try their best to come across the river; some choose to work on their own while others choose to cooperate. Who will be the first one? Who will be left out and why?


Children and adults of all ages will enjoy this new iPad app with a bit of history and a wonderful message of teamwork, now available on the iTunes app store for $3.99 at http://bit.ly/temrac on iPad and http://bit.ly/iphter on iPhone

Key features of the story include:

Personalization of picture, voice and text. Kids can become their own narrator or listen to their parents narrate the book. Interactivity allows kids to personalize the sentence, create new action words and sharpen their vocabulary skills.


Image and word association vocabulary builder – when an image is touched the associated word is spoken and the written word displayed. Karaoke effect – when a word is spoken during narration then the word is highlighted and touch the word to hear it being spoken.

 The Emperor’s Race is offered three ways for kids and families to enjoy:

  • “Read to me” – Listen to the narrated story while the text is displayed Karaoke style. After the narration finishes on a page the child can interact with objects till they are ready to move to the next page.
  • “Read myself” – There is no narration but the child can touch a word to hear it being spoken aloud.
  • “Auto Play” – same as “Read to Me” except the page advances automatically once the narration is finished. Useful for those long car rides when you want the child to have a complete book experience.


Umesh Shukla, CCO of Auryn:

“The Emperor’s Race combines a thoughtful message of teamwork and cooperation to a majestic history lesson about the Chinese New Year all while keeping children entertained and amused with the animals and story as it is being told. We love seeing author’s like Kate Dargaw succeed in delivering such wonderful messages in an engaging manner, and we feel children and parents will feel the same way when they experience the story.

Auryn’s apps are based on their patented technology and two technology platforms – Auryn and Auracle. Auryn’s previous titles are also available in the iTunes app store.

About Auryn, Inc.
Founded by Academy award-winning visual effects experts from Hollywood’s top movie studios, Auryn Inc. is the most award-winning digital publisher of storybook and creative apps for the iPad, iPhone, Android and other tablet devices. Uniting leading technologists and creative artists, Auryn’s patented technology enables the company to produce ground-breaking interactive content for the new emerging tablet medium.  Recognized by the Producers Guild of America and Variety magazine as the Digital 25 top innovator in Emerging Media and winner of more app awards than any other digital publisher, Auryn is paving the way in digital publishing and fast-becoming the leader in children’s storybook apps. For more on Auryn, visit www.auryn.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest at: www.facebook.com/appsbyauryn, www.twitter.com/AurynApps and http://pinterest.com/appsbyauryn/.

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