Here's a new online space where kids can write for an authentic audience. At Little Bird Tales, they also have the opportunity to create their own art work. Combining the two into a small digital book doesn't take long at all. And the price is certainly right - there's a 90 day free trial, or you pay $24.95 a year.
Once you've registered, you can either make a book using the art pad or upload photos. I think kids will enjoy making their own pictures to accompany their stories on the art pad, but I also like the idea of using pictures of the child himself and creating captions to go with them. You can see some books on display at the site.
I like the feature where you can record yourself reading the story aloud. Once you allow the site access to your microphone, it's as simple as reading what you've written on each page you've created. Wouldn't this make a lovely gift for Grandma? Kids could write their story, then record themselves reading it so Grandma can hear how well they are doing. Or a Grandpa who lives far away can record his own voice reading a little story he's created for a special youngster. Kids at the pre-reading stage really benefit from hearing a book read aloud while their eyes follow the print.
Another plus for parents is the tight control Little Bird Tales keeps over tales that can be made public on the site. This feature is only for subscribers, and each story is reviewed to make sure it's suitable for children. Only subscribers can work the toggle switch to request that a story be made public ie be featured in the public gallery. But any creator can send another reader to his/her book via the unique url. If you'd like to read the one I made during my free trial, with photos like the one above left, plus captions I added, follow the link, and click Play.
The site is very new, and I understand from co-founders Michael and Amiee that they have plans to expand and improve it. The interface is excellent, simple and clear, but I'd love to see a bit more speed in uploading. They responded promptly and patiently when I had a small problem registering for the trial.
Book Chook readers are eligible for a subscription discount at Little Bird Tales. Just click the blue 'Use Coupon' button on this page at Little Bird Tales, and enter 'BookChook20' in the coupon field to receive $5.00 off the regular rate.