Interactive Book for Children on ITunes: Breakfast On Planet Obiedo - Interview With Author and Artist Jody Wright
It happened twice in one day. I was waiting for an appointment in a local VA clinic when the young parents of two small children arrived. The father, a recently returned soldier and his wife who had also been deployed were waiting for his appointment, which is not the best place for young children. The youngest began to cry, and the oldest, who couldn’t have been more than five years old began to whine. But like a good soldier, this mom was prepared. She whipped out her IPad and soon those two beautiful children were so engrossed in the interactive children’s story. Both delighted in hearing mom read the story and then being allowed to also hear the story in the characters own words and to “turn” the pages. They laughed, they cooed, and it was clearly fun for all, including all the other veterans crowding the waiting room.
Later that same day, I was at the AT&T store where was there was a long waiting line to talk to a customer representative. There they have benches for customers, simply because there is always a line at this phone store. A grandmother, mother, and two grade school aged children walked in. The grandmother gave the oldest one her IPhone and the two of them enjoyed an interactive book, discussing in great detail “what will happen next?” After signing in, the mother settled the younger one down with her IPad and they were having their own moment of family reading with still another interactive children’s story.
Watching those two families really made me think and explore what’s happening with children and reading today? I was floored by the stats. Here in the US and also in other countries, specifically in the UK, educators are alarmed at how many children are entering schools with inadequate language and communication skills. This sad state of affairs is happening largely because parents are not talking or reading to their children like they did in past generations. In their defense, it has a lot to do with the level of busyness many parents are experiencing in a difficult global economy. The consequences are that children are arriving at school with poor communication skills which in turn affects their ability to learn, reading comprehension, ability to make friends and self esteem.
An astounding fifty percent of children are not up to reading and readiness for learning. One in ten parents have never read to their children at bedtime. An estimated thirteen percent never have read to their children at all.
However, we live in an exciting world where technologies are bringing reading back into the home and back into the family dynamics of parents reading to and with their children, while simultaneously developing a learning experience that prepares them for a future world that many can’t even imagine. And that was what I was witnessing in the brave new world of parenting.
Then, shortly afterwards I had the privilege of reading one of those interactive children’s books the other day and I was blown away with excitement with author Jody Wright’s Breakfast On Planet Obiedo. She’s not your everyday children’s book author, but a multi-talented artist, author, animator, and designer. I predict this one interactive children’s book will soon be on its way to being a best seller.
Interview With The Author
Why did you write Breakfast on Planet Obiedo?
I love stories that aren't so predictable. I wanted to write a storybook that was a combination of O'Henry, Where the Wild Things Are, and Dreamworks. I dreamed of writing an animated storybook where everything didn't always go as planned!
Also, I grew up with my Grandma Daisy who was a very fun influence. When my mom insisted that we all had a proper breakfast before we went off to school, my grandmother came up with fruit. Which on first blush sounds good, right? But she made us pies for breakfast. The most delicious homemade lemon, apple, and chocolate you ever tasted. So she had a fun sense of what was possible (with a twist) and she passed that on to me.
She also read me an old story about a pancake, which I researched and found was actually a Norwegian folk and fairy tale published in 1881, titled, "Pannekaken" or "Pancake". I liked the fairy tale and it inspired me to write a book with a breakfast food that got away. I was animating some other characters at the time and thought, "Wouldn't be fun to have a whole alien planet?!"
How much of the book did you do yourself?
I did all of it except the male character's voice over. My husband, Carl Wright, did that and he brought the Kookienock character to life. We had a great time with that.
Then I animated the whole thing. I learned how to use different software and purchased an Apple so I could develop my own books and get them up on their bookstore. (My books can be viewed by anyone with an iPad, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iBooks and on your computer with iTunes. Books must be read on an IOS device.) It was several years to get to the point where I had enough skills, software and hardware to do it all but it was worth it. In the end, I think it's a book that will make kids laugh and use their imaginations.
How did you dream up all the characters like Kookienocks, Obiedoes, and Dooglebarks?
Well it sounds odd but I created the 3D characters and then their names sort of occurred to me. About a year or so ago, we rescued a dog from a shelter and named him Obie so I already loved that name and the dog is actually a very fun quirky guy. Why not have planets full of delightful spirits?
My favorite character was Pantaka. I’ll never look at pancakes the same again with its image engrained in my mind.. Do you have a favorite character?
Yes. I love the Kookienock.
Is Breakfast on Planet Obiedo your first book?
No, "50 Secrets Humans Should Know" was my first published book (it's in print and digital form). It combined my fine art paintings of dogs with tips that animals offer. It sold over 38,000 copies and continues to do well.
If You'd Like to Know More About Jody Wright's Art...
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