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Book apps at the NSSLHA conference

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on February 4, 2014 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Grendel’s Great Escape and Axe’s Monster Fest aka Monster Jam were some of a select group of book apps on display at at the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA) conference at Sacramento State University on February 1st.

Thanks to exhibitor and therapist Jackie Bryla, SLPA the apps got much visibility while being tested on iPads by the students. Other attendees watched the action on monitors.

Jackie uses children’s apps in her therapy sessions to help children with their individual needs.

Promo Codes

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on January 3, 2014 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (1)

If you've ever been lucky enough to win or recieve a download promo code for an app, then this blogs for you.

Reblogged from ACT to read in it's entirety, visit: 

With the 2014 New Year upon us, I think this is a good time to say thank you to all the wonderful app developers out there. Thank you for being so creative and providing fun, educational, creative and life changing apps.


I do not want to neglect to mention and thank all the wonderful bloggers and websites that spend countless hours supporting these developers that provide app code give-aways and reviews of apps. It takes much time and energy for these sites and pages to organize promotional events where fans can win or grab codes. Time connecting with developers to receive codes, time to review and get to know the apps they are giving away, creating raffle-copters, time spent on emailing and messaging winners with codes and all of the other “behind the scene tasks.”




DEVELOPERS/BLOGGERS – be sure to always state which app the code is for – I have seen codes dropped with out clarification of the app name – I am guilty of redeeming a code in this manner just to find out that the code was for an app that I already had and would not have taken it had I known the name of the app.Feel free to leave a comment with other suggestions!


Happy New Year to All!


Jackie Bryla



Happy Birthday Grendel's Great Escape

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on December 21, 2013 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (1)

It’s been a whole year since my first book app landed in the" target="_blank">app store ," target="_blank">googleplay and recently on the Tabeo 2 tablet. Time does go fast when you’re having fun. Writing and developing Grendel’s Great Escape was certainly that, plus a lot of hard work. It was trial by fire as I ventured into this relatively new field. Great friendships and relationships were formed while sharing resources with other authors, teachers, librarians, bloggers and app developers.


Since the launch date, there has been updates, enhancements and accolades.


Voted one of the top 25 best story books of 2012 by digital-storytime

App of the week on three review sites

Nominated for best storybook app and Best Elementary student app

Updates and Printables:


Fun Ferret Facts

Curriculum and reading prompts to add an educational component.

Downloadable activities and coloring pages.

Most of all, It’s reached it’s goal to create a fun reading experience for children globally. They’ve responded to the multimedia interactivity that this app features while parents appreciate the productive screen time.


What’s next? why it’s the printed picture book with added pages and enhanced storyline.


To the parents and teachers who’ve downloaded Grendel’s Great Escape; thank you for your support, downloads, feedback and iTunes reviews. It’s your constructive feedback that makes this app better. Please continue to recommend and share.


Got Grendel’s Great Escape? let me know what you think about this hide and seek themed adventure.

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Overcoming the summer brain drain

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on September 13, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (1)

By now the children are all back to school across the country.They’re getting settled in their new classes with new teachers, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. There will be new challenges as they overcome the summer brain drain and start filling their minds with exciting new lessons.

A fun way of re-enforcing their newly acquired reading skills on the week-ends are digital book apps. The multi sensory experience brings the reader into the story and soon they’ll be begging for more. This is music to any parent’s ears because let’s face it, they’re so many distractions these days that reading isn’t always their first choice. I had this experience with my reluctant reader and it inspired me to dive into the world of digital book apps.

The app store and Google play is flooded with apps so it’s sometimes difficult for parents to know where to start and what to download. Digital Storytime is a renowned and trusted source in both the literary and app world and they have recently released their top 25 list of book apps. They shine a light on educational apps that can become hidden in the app store so that’s where I would start. In fact I read their app reviews when researching for my sons apps and when writing for kids.

I was more than thrilled when Grendel’s Great Escape was listed in their top 25 best stories for 2013. It is an honor for it to be noticed and placed alongside these other amazing books. It’s also perfect timing because September is ADHD awareness month and the main character was inspired by a child with ADHD. He’s messy, disorganized, adventurous and a whole lot of fun.

Download it and let me know what your kids think.

Digital Storytime’s Top 25 Best story books

Grendel’s Great Escape adventure story for" target="_blank">iPad" target="_blank">Android

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How to leave a review on the app store

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on August 6, 2013 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (1)



Book and book app reviews are the nicest compliment and reward you can give a writer. It is a gift that keeps giving because it not only helps others to make their decision but it helps to boost visibility in search engines as well. There’s no doubt about it, user reviews carry a lot of weight and are usually a trustworthy source of advise in a market saturated with reading material.

Ok are you ready to write a review online in the iTunes app store? where do you start?

1. Enter the iTunes app store

2. Locate the app by clicking on the category ex: books, games or entering the name in the search bar in the top right corner & click enter.

Once you’ve found the app, click on the app’s name, the app information will open in a new window.

3. To the right of the icon you’ll see the words “Ratings and Reviews”

     below will be the option to “write a review” click on the words.

4. You’ll now be able to leave a rating by clicking on the 5 stars as well as filling out the review box.

There you have it. Now get ready…set….write! (BTW leave one for me while you’re at it)  :D

Video Directions

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Gifting & Sharing apps in the iTunes app stores

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on August 5, 2013 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I was recently asked by my mother, “Can I give an app as a gift?” Apparently a few of her friends wanted to give apps to their grand kids as gifts. My mom, who’s my biggest supporter has been introducing her peers to the wonderful world of book apps.

Leaving book reviews & gifting apps is proving to be a little tricky as they attempt to navigate the iTunes app store. The answer is “Yes!” and “You can do it!” In this post i’ll guide you thru the process of gifting apps. Watch out for my next post on how to leave app reviews.

It's easy to do if you follow these simple steps. If you aren't the lucky recipient of a direct click thru link to the app for you'll have to do a search first. example of link to a book app "Grendel's Great Escape :

Step 1. Enter the iTunes app store

2. Locate the app by clicking on the category ex:books, games or entering the name in the search bar in the top right corner & click enter.

3. Below the icon of the app, to the right of the price is an arrow with a drop down menu, this will give you the option to gift the app as well as sharing it by social media or e-mail. - Appy shopping.    

A quick video on Gifting apps 

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Computer screenshot of the app store

 Any questions? write them below

Picture Book of the Month - Aug'13

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on August 4, 2013 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

As back to school season looms around the corner, and I get my youngest son ready for 4th grade, I realize it’s time. Time to get back to my picture book of the month posts. Sadly my sons have moved on from picture books but thankfully I haven’t and never will. 

 I'm a print designer by day and a children's writer during every waking and dreaming moment. My Head is Full of Colors is the book that flipped the switch for me. It was because the Author was telling my story and the illustrator drew everything that was in my head as a child. It’s the story of every child whose mind is wide open to the wonders of the world around them.

Anyone who's read my Bio knows how much I love the designs incorporated within the illustrations. I cherish my 20-year-old copy of this book which was originally bought for design reference.

The story this book tells about a creative and imaginative little girl is wonderful. The mother is wonderfully supportive & embraces the fact that her daughter sees things differently. Maybe one day i’ll have the privilege of meeting this Author or illustrator. I hope this book is still in stores, if not it can be found online at Amazon.

My head is full of colors by Catherine Friend & illustrated by KiKi

Drop a comment if you've read this book or share a book that left a strong impression that you could identify with.

All about the art

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on July 11, 2013 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)


I’ve dotted all the i’s & crossed all the T’s, the stage is set and every things in place. It’s been a wild ride writing & creating the Monster Jam book app with very few hiccups along the way.


Once the story was written & edited then the real adventure began. It was amazing watching the Monster characters come alive as my super illustrator worked his magic.

   Linking the right illustrator with the right project is key to a successful partnership. The wrong fit can quickly turn the dream into a nightmare, believe me…I know. As an artist I seen both sides of the coin. Being on the same page as the illustrator is key, so is giving him as much clear information as possible and allowing creative license to do what he does best. Keeping the lines of communication open and having an open mind made the process a smooth, exciting and successful collaboration.



 The recipe: No egos, impatience or head butting, add in a creativity, lots of imagination, plenty of healthy idea exchange & flexibility =’s very few edits & beautiful illustrations!




Here’s a video of the award winning illustrator Vic Guiza drawing the lead character axe, he makes it look so easy.

Click here -> Creating a Mon-Star.

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Monster Jam by Blue Sandpiper Imprints is available on iPad &" target="_blank">Android





What are book apps?

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on June 24, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (1)

Each day Children’s writers and app developers convert wonderful classics and create amazing new books as apps. There are countless titles based on age, topic or content, just waiting to be discovered & downloaded.


During kids books & app discussions, the first question often asked is “What’s a book app?” A Book App is so much more than an eBook, it’s a digital book brought to life with animation, music, narration and fun-filled activities or games woven into the story. Book apps encourage kids to read, play and explore and are available for use on digital tablets such as the iPad, and smart phones.




Best of all, they’re very inexpensive and provide a unique, entertaining and learning environment. Most fall within the range of 99c-$4.99, a flat fee which usually won’t have ‘in app purchases’. Paid book apps are a preferable option to free apps which bombard our kids with ads or prompt a purchase in order to proceed.




You can find book apps in the iTunes App Store, under the Books category. In Google Play, you can find book apps under Android Apps > categories > books & reference. There you’ll find wonderful, interactive stories that deliver an animated reading experience. Book Apps like “Grendel’s Great Escape” for" target="_blank"> iPad /" target="_blank">Android and “Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold” for iPad/iPhone allow children to interact with the story, through reading, music and fun activities.

- For a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a book app, visit the Blue Sandpiper Imprints Kids Korner.


- To see a 2-minute video called “Kids Have Fun Reading on the iPad” visit


Not sure which book apps are suitable for your child? These sites feature the best children apps and reviews, and provide direct links for downloading.




Digital Storytime




The Appy Mall


I heart this app


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Free apps vs paid apps

Posted by mdarvilleanaya on June 20, 2013 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

We all like free stuff, I know I do! But is anything worth having really free. When visiting the app store everyone bypasses the paid apps & zooms straight to the free app section …. but what are you really getting?

1. Annoyingly frequent pop ups; In some apps these are so frequent it’s difficult to get to the game.

2. In app purchases; the free-ness $0, is of course a lure to get you to down load & play for a while or read a few pages of a book at which point a purchase must be made to continue.

3. External links to other sites selling you even more stuff.

My advise: Get the paid apps, they’re cheaper in the short run with one upfront minimal cost. usually $.99c – & $4.99 If the app’s for a child, then this is definitely your best & safest option as they’re…

 1. No Pop ups

 2. No ads

 3. No third-party prompts to take them to strange uncensored sites.

 4. No child begging you to buy points, virtual stuff etc.


 Sometimes you’ll get lucky & a paid app will go free or on sale as a promotion. If you like a game or book app, sign up on this site to get notified when good apps go free. If you’re still unsure about buying an app, read the reviews listed by other users, go to the developers site to get more info or one of the many app review sites listed below.

 For examples of reviews & sites visit  our Media page

 Need more info or have anything to add? leave me a comment below, I love comments & questions.

 Great Children App reviewers

Digital Storytime


Appy Mall