It’s already been established that engaging the digital generation is hard work, especially when it comes to educating them. How do you teach kids who have been conditioned to respond to the latest advancements in technology? Well, thanks to two Louisville super forces, there’s an app for that.
The digital agency Forest Giant  and graphic designer/illustrator Amanda J. Bishop , both based in Louisville, teamed up to create an engaging and informative iPad book called “I Love Mountains!” For Forest Giant it was a way to expand their iOS development portfolio and for Amanda it earned her a Master’s Degree in Children’s Book Illustration from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England. Win – win!
When Amanda pitched this final project idea to her professor, she was told this had never been done before. Equipped with years of education and experience, she bravely entered the uncharted MFA e-book territory guided by the patient hand of Forest Giant.
The book is guided by Sloan who is a little girl in a bear costume reminiscent of Max from Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” without the pouty and sour attitude. Sloan tells you how mountains are formed, their different types, where to find them, and the flora and fauna that are indigenous to them. The interactive “touch points” are clearly labeled with animated gifs and sound. Sound is another enhancing factor to this children’s e-book. The sounds of nature plays in the background as you turn the beginning pages and the special sound effects (magma bubbling, wind, water, animal sounds) are done in Sloan’s childlike voice making the appeal of this story even more enchanting. The illustrations are uncomplicated with smooth and colorful shapes that are pleasing to the eye and perfect for its target audience of 4 year olds and up. One programming feature that is missing that would have made it more helpful for young readers is highlighting individual words as the story is being read to aid in word recognition. This e-book, like any good educational model, will get kids learning without even knowing it and having fun while they do it.
Forest Giant, the people behind the programming side of this cute, interactive, educational, and techy children’s e-book is currently working to join forces with organizations of similar interests, such as, the mountaintop removal advocates of ilovemountains.org  and the Pacific Crest Trail Association (www.pcta.org ).
An “I Love Mountains” Launch Party is planned for Thursday, April 5th from 6:30 -9pm at 805 E. Market Street in Downtown Louisville. The first 20 people to arrive will receive an original, hand-pulled screenprint from AJB/MTK (Amanda and her boyfriend Ty’s freelance graphic art business). The screenprint will feature art from “I Love Mountains” AND a code redeemable for a free copy of the e-book.
screenshots courtesy of Forest Giant's website