1. Parenting

Kids' Book Finder SmartPhone App

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Kids Book Finder Screenview 1 Courtesy of Liberi Libri LLC
I suspect almost every dad knows that if he can encourage his children to read, the kids will do better in school, in their future careers and in life. But getting the kids to read when you are competing with video games, television and friends can be really tough. Kids' Book Finder, a smartphone app for the iPod, iPhone and iPad can make a big difference in finding books that your children will want to read and that can help them really get engaged with reading.

The Background:

Kids' Book Finder was created to allow access to a huge database (over 26,000 titles) of quality children's books which have won awards in various countries. Two renowned children's literature experts, Dr. Michael Tunnell and Dr. James Jacobs, took that database, enhanced the information and added hundreds of other noteworthy children's book to bring these books to parents and teachers around the world.

After many months of work to digitize the database and provide a very friendly user interface via smartphone and tablet, Kids' Book Finder was launched in November 2012.

Functionality:

Kids' Book Finder has a extremely effective user interface. Once installed on a device, the app features a search algorythm that makes it very easy to find a great book for kids. The user can either elect to just browse the database or can search based on grade level, general topic, genre of the book and the specific award the book received. Once the book list is received, clicking on the book opens a window showing specific information about the book including a brief summary. The user then can add the book information to a list (which can be saved or pasted into a document) or can go to the book's Amazon page with one click.

If the user just wants to browse the catalog, he or she can just type in information like the author or illustrator, the title or keywords and the list of books is populated as the user types the input. Kids' Book Finder is incredibly intuitive and has a good sense of what the user may be looking for.

Kids' Book Finder's database is updated every 30 days with new books so that the app is always current and bringing in the best of new children's literature.

The award programs that are indexed in Kids' Book Finder include the well known like Newbery and Caldecott as well as lesser known programs in other countries. By working to focus on award winning children's books, the creators of Kids' Book Finder have tried to cull through the millions of children's books to bring just those recognized as the best to parents and teachers in their app.

The Experiment:

When I checked out Kids' Book Finder on an iPad, I decided to see if there might be a book that would be of interest to my granddaughter. She reads on a 5th grade reading level, loves the American Girl series and just started in Girl Scouts. So in the search box, I searched for books for a 5th grade reading level, having a historical fiction genre and used the keyword Girl Scouts. The app came up with a book that sounded just perfect for her. It was a with stories from Brownie Girl Scouts in the 1920's and 1930's from the Girl Scouts' magazine. We could then copy the information from the book summary and then check out several libraries in our area (via their websites) to see if we could find the book to borrow.

The Bottom Line:

Kids' Book Finder is an extraordinary application for fathers who want to help their children love to read. The app is only $1.99 from the Apple App Store and will soon be available for Android devices as well. The interface is smooth and easy to navigate, the functionality is amazing, the app is flexible based on the user's needs and it can help any user find great books for their kids to borrow or buy. I recommend this app for any parent who hopes that their kids will learn to read well and to love reading.

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