AppStar Picks has been designed to help you discover some hidden gems in the app store. To date it offers a collection of over 250 apps, all reviewed by independent review sites. AppStar Picks team goal is also to give you a chance to discover the developer behind an app and each time offer you a change to get this app for free.
Our first developer story is about Penelope and the Purple Pirate. It has been written by Melissa Northway, a mom and a writer who decided to publish her book on the AppStore and following his her story ... and the Giveway is at the bottom of the post!
AppStar Picks: Melissa, what inspired you to write picture books for children?
The idea to write children's picture book came about after spending hours upon hours with my one year old daughter in our local bookstore. It was so wonderful to spend time with her reading and looking at all of the wonderful children's books. I wanted to create something for her that she could treasure when she was older and possibly even share with her children someday.
AppStar Picks: Why Penelope?
The idea to write Penelope the Purple Pirate came about one night about three years ago listening to my husband weave a tale about Redbeard and his adventures looking for treasure. At that moment, I had a vision of a little redhead girl pirate who likes to have adventures with her friends. I wrote the story over the next week and it took me about a year to have it reviewed and edited by fellow writers. I had joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, went to several of their events and had it revised and edited by my writer's group.
One of the moms at my daughter's school was the one who thought that I could make my story into an app. This was back in 2010 and the market was really just opening up. She and her husband had created an app that helped children with learning disabilities. I set about finding an illustrator and was lucky enough to have a contact through my father-in-law. Paul Johnson, the illustrator, did a wonderful job of illustrating Penelope's world. I wanted to create a strong and spunky female character who likes to have adventures and Paul helped bring this to life!
After we had about half of the illustrations completed, I did some research and came across PicPocket Books. I submitted Penelope to them September 2010 and was contacted a few days later that it had been accepted. I was so thrilled and it became an iPhone and iPad App January 2011. There was a huge learning curve for me as my background is more in marketing and health, but I think my marketing experience helped me to get Penelope's name out there. The app review sites, such as yours, has helped tremendously, and I couldn't have done it without you!
Penelope has gone on to be a Top 25 iTunes book app, chosen as a Top 10 Educational iPad App byDigital Storytime, a Top 10 Must Have eBook by lilsugar of Popsugar.com, a TOP PICKS from Fun Educational Apps and Technology of Education chose it as one of its Top Apps for 2011. We have over 10,000 downloads and have between 100,000-350,000 Facebook impressions a month. I believe in giving back as much as I can to Penelope's followers and several other organizations that support children with special needs as we have found this technology to be quite beneficial and some even call it education's equalizer!
AppStar Picks: Do have any plan to take Penelope on new adventures?
Penelope's next adventure in the Wild West, Penelope the Purple Pardner will be out in about two to three months and I have another story, Gerry the Giraffe coming out in about two months as well.
AppStar Picks: One last question, as mom and writer do you think book apps change our kids reading experience?
Personally, I believe this technology can help encourage reluctant and early readers as many storybook apps are interactive. The love of reading is something that can be encouraged at a young age and this tool can be used for educational purposes. Many schools across the country have started to integrate iPads into the classroom so I believe we will see more and more of this as the years go on. It is just another supplemental tool for parents and educators to utilize!
AppStar Picks: Thank you Melissa for sharing your story.
Now … PROMO CODES GIVEAWAY
It’s your chance to discover the wonderful adventure of Penelope and the Purple Pirate, where the hero is “adventurous girl character who enjoys having adventures with her friends, while teaching little ones the importance of treating others with kindness and respect.”
You can download right away … it’s on sale for the week end: 0.99 USD
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