“Kid lit” market leaders have encouraged technology trends in children’s literature. The movement may seem counter intuitive. Aren’t we trying to get our kids to spend more time reading and less time on screens? However, incorporating the digital world into the reading world may help kids read more.
Moreover, educators are using technology trends in children’s literature to push kids toward positive relationships with the modern world. From digital communication in texts to augmented reality, these four fascinating developments may appear in your library.
Augmented Reality in Children’s Literature
Augmented and Virtual Reality, or AR and VR, don’t belong solely to video games anymore. Authors are creating books for kids that rely on AR for the full reading experience. Companion apps, digital device interfaces and audio supplement traditional text. For example, a smartphone may “read” a page in an AR book. That device will then display digital content such as songs, videos or interactive games. AR for children’s literature can be seen in the made-for-kids Jack Hunter series as well as An Elephant in Our Garden.
Digital Communications in Children’s Language
In 2014, after John Green’s A Fault in Our Stars premiered, people kept talking about the on-screen texts. But digital communication in adolescent language has been around since the mid-2000s. However, authors have shifted from those original interspersed chatroom conversations. Now, parents can find complete works in abbreviated “txting” forms for their kids. These books give kids the tools to develop online conversational skills.
Children’s texts seeing more digital communication also includes “business forms.” This media would include items such as cereal boxes and signs. This exposure is increasingly digital as kids see ads on iPads or message with parents. Kids interact with emojis, emoticons and other visually-based, abbreviated linguistic forms earlier than ever.
Consequently, educators have looked for child-specific digital communication that engages by teaching and entertaining. Customized suites of these characters let kids explore their creative side while still preparing them for modern communication. Services like this, such as Onomojis, are good for classroom, reading and game use.
Children’s Literature and iPads
Because today’s youth spend more time on their screens, books have changed to compete. Educators and publishers alike have been investing in texts that compare favorably to the on-demand, constant audio-visual stimulation of TV and video games. As a result, more of children’s literature seeks to be fast-paced, multi-sensory experiences for kids. These experiences includes character symbols, decadent images with textures, books with corollary games and extended universes.
A major movement has been tailoring books to individual kids. For example, the “dadprenuers” of Lost My Name publishing have created a book that features your child, his/her/their pets (as robots, of course), and their corner of the world, from street names to buildings. The book is highly engineered, using data sourcing and mapping technology.
Anti-Technology Writing in Children’s Literature
In recent years, concern grew about technology over-saturating children’s books. It removed youth from their natural environments. People pointed to studies that showed children know more Pokemon than real animals. And, as the dystopian genre increased in popularity, market trends saw children turning more to high-tech and sci-fi pieces than realistic, place-based books.
In retaliation to this digitization, authors have sought to bring nature back into the classroom. Some remove explicit technology references from their books. Author Robert MacFarlane and illustrator/artist Jackie Morris did this most famously with an extravagant collection of poems and pictures in their wildly successful book The Lost Words.