I don't review a lot of books for older readers, but this graphic novel release of the 1st book in the Middle School Confidential series is really a stunning offering in the App Store. It isn't narrated, but even younger kids will enjoy having the stories read to them. I think many elementary age children will relate to the topics, like self-consciousness, bullying, stress, fitting in, sticky issues in friendships and learning to like yourself.
The book is developmentally perfect for tweens & teens, but the content was even appropriate for my preschooler (although some of the concepts were over his head). It is even an entertaining read & nice refresher for adults, since these issues can be life long for most of us. I've always thought we don't really grow up, just get older. ;-)
The print versions of this series were published recently, 2008-2010. I only wish Annie Fox had written these fabulous books when I was a middle school counselor earlier in the decade. The series is just that exceptional. It's fun, hip and something youth will relate to. It's also packed with great stories that will guide them to feel better about themselves, think more deeply about problems and understand how to be a friend not only to others but to themselves.
As a digital book this one is well made, nicely augmented with music and hits just the right note for this age group with its graphic novel style. You can tilt the device for either landscape or portrait and with a simple double tap the view changes & enlarges to read frame-by-frame. This is a very cool feature and includes nice sound effects that are more like a sound track, nicely crafted to match the emotion or activity in each scene. There is an additional page describing each of the teens in detail.
Overall, this is a well-developed ebook based on top-notch content that is not only educational but also a fun read. It has great messages about all the issues that make middle school one of the hardest times in life. If you work with youth or have a child in 5-8th grade in particular, share your iPad and this book with them - you'll both feel better after reading it. My highest recommendation!
[Note to educators, librarians & school social work/counseling staff: A wonderfulFREE teacher's guide is also available to accompany this series.]
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Annie Fox/Matt Kindt
15 - 30 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 15 +
This graphic novel follows the lives of six teenagers with 8 separate stories. The chapters cover issues that impact kids from elementary to high school. The characters, Chris, Michele, Mateo, Jen, Abby and Jack, are all trying to fit in with their peers, learn to like themselves and deal with sticky interpersonal issues. The chapters cover the following topics:
Chapter 1: Do You Like the Way You Look?
Chapter 2: Sometimes I Worry What Other People Think
Chapter 3: Sometimes I Just Lose It
Chapter 4: Meet the Opinionator
Chapter 5: Fact Finder - Getting at the Truth
Chapter 6: I Don't Get It
Chapter 7: I'm Stressed Out!
Chapter 8: I Like Who I Am
What do my insides look like? How does my brain work? Why does my heart beat? What happens to my food after I swallow it? Children are naturally curious about their bodies, and if you are a parent, chances are you have …