I was watching the interview on Kika’s Logo news of kids who were asked about e-readers on the occasion of the Leipziger Buchmesse. Unfortunately, they were only shown the e-readers but not the e-books on ipad. Their conclusion was that e-readers might be a good thing for vacation trips as the e-books are a lot lighter than the actual books. Is that really the only advantage that they could come up with??

According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers people want e-readers and don’t think of the ipad as a better device but rather an additional device. Yet, I wonder, how much longer we will be looking at paper-emulating gadgets when technology already allows us to go so far beyond what we see there. Granted, it is hard to assemble a team of lyricists, translators, voice artists, film makers and programmers that can compose an entirely new immersive “reading” experience on an ipad but this is something you will never see on an ereader:

Pedlar Lady by Moving Tales Inc. is just one of the (so far 4) stories that have been transformed into a multi-media and multi-lingual “reading” experience involving aspects of movie, sound and written and oral story telling. Here is an interview with producers. Listening to the interview, production clearly requires a multi-disciplinary effort leading us to the future when you can see kids, reading at night-time, their faces aglow from the reflection of the moving screen, (uninterruptedly looking up meanings of new words by pointing at them with their fingers / this is unfortunately not working in this e-book yet) as they read and the action flows around the text. Here is my favorite downloadable Jewish folktale. As these books have come out in three languages, kids can switch easily between English, Spanish and French, read the text and listen to native speakers. No direct translation here but a literary re-interpretation of the text. (And should you not know a word – simply touch it – not working yet?). And since the English language used in these books is by no means simple, there is implicit language acquisition involved even for native speakers. What do you think about this kind of reading experience? Is this high-quality literature? Isn’t story telling tradition, going back further than the infamous book, which put an end to all that, an oral tradition after all that is worth going back to in this manner?

I am still not telling you the name of that other e-book I mentioned yesterday. It adds another dimension to this series in terms of length for older kids and interactivity – and the ability to look up unknown words while reading!. So send me your “likes” – or have you figured it out already?

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