At Fun Educational Apps we are excited to announce that Polk Street Press is working with New York Times bestselling author Deborah Underwood to create their next app Spatter & Spark!
Deborah Underwood is the author of The Quiet Book and The Loud Book!,both New York Times bestsellers, and A Balloon for Isabel. She cowrote the Sugar Plum Ballerina chapter book series with Whoopi Goldberg, and has written 28 nonfiction titles for children. Growing up in Walla Walla, Washington, she dreamed of being an astronomer, singer, or writer. Today she writes children's books and sings in a chamber choir--two out of three isn't bad! Spatter & Spark is her first collaboration with Polk Street Press.
Interview for Fun Educational Apps
How did you get started writing?
I took creative writing in college. After I graduated, I sent an opinion piece to Glamour magazine and had an incredible stroke of beginner's luck: they asked me to turn it into a full-length article. I was thrilled, and decided writing for magazines would be easy. Predictably, I got about a billion magazine rejections after that, so I tried writing greeting cards, puzzles, and screenplays. I've always loved children's books, but it took a long time for it to dawn on me that perhaps I should write them.
What was the inspiration for Spatter & Spark?
It started with the idea of a female inventor: Spark. When I was a kid, I loved to invent things--most notably, a getting-dressed machine (actually a series of strings that conveyed my clothes to my bed so I could get dressed there and postpone getting out of bed until the last possible second). So I thought it would be fun to have an inventor and all the Rube-Goldberg-like devices she creates as the basis for the app. It seemed like a dreamy artist would be a good foil for Spark, and Spatter was born.
Our site is dedicated to finding fun educational apps for kids. How did you incorporate learning as well as entertainment in Spatter & Spark?
Students can problem-solve along with Spark as she devises creative solutions to problems. They put her inventions together, which will help them understand cause and effect and basic mechanical principles. And they will be able to develop their artistic skills as they help Spatter with his projects.
In addition to the story, there will be four activities starring Spatter and Spark that have more explicit learning goals such as counting, identifying colors and learning animal names.
Why did you decide to create a story for an app instead of a print title?
I love print books, and I don't look at apps as some glorified form of traditional books; the app is a completely new medium, and everyone's trying to see what possibilities it opens up. It's exciting to be a part of exploring this new frontier. I think SPATTER & SPARK lends itself very well to the app format, because Spark's inventions are full of movement and causal relationships, and those features would be hard to present in a traditional book. Likewise, kids will be able express their creativity while helping Spatter with artistic projects. They'll be able to paint something differently each time they use the app, for instance. That's not possible with a traditional book.
Since this story is meant to be interactive in a way that traditional picture books aren't, how did you incorporate interactivity into your writing process?
I just tried to step back and let go of the assumptions I have about how a reader moves through a story. It's important to me that the interactivity in the app has a purpose: I wanted it to help move the story along rather than just be gratuitous.
How can people learn more about Spatter & Spark?
You can visit our Kickstarter Campaign at http://kck.st/OTg8M4
Where can people learn more about you and your other projects?
They can find me online at www.DeborahUnderwoodBooks.com, and sign up for my mailing list via my home page.
We are looking forward to the new app!
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