This has been a hard week for South Africans, our beloved Madiba – everybody’s favourite grandfather – has passed away. He was an extraordinary man with an extraordinary vision, he knew how to inspire instilling hope, love and understanding and created a much more caring and engaged society in South Africa.
“You know if I was not kept in jail for 27 years, I don’t know whether I would be so kind to children, but for 27 years without ever seeing children, that was a terrible experience. And when I came out I tried to make up for those 27 years.” – Nelson Mandela (2003).
In our country there is still a huge discrepancy between the haves and have nots. This project to create books for disadvantaged deaf children is my contribution to try and make things a little better.
Picsterbooks is nearing completion of the the iDeaf project to create 6 interactive book apps for the Transoranje School for the Deaf. We have built the apps in both Afrikaans and Afrikaans Sign Language, as well as translated to English and South African Sign Language (SASL). Demibooks Composer was chosen as the development platform. The book apps will all be available in the App Store by the end of this year of early January 2014, and in Demibooks Storytime shortly thereafter.
When we started the project we weren’t sure how the children would react and interact with interactive storybooks, so we played it safe using classic tales like The Three Little Pigs and The Gingerbread Man. We are excited about the next three tales written for South African children by local teachers using their curriculum to inspire our storybooks. Our first South African story is The Clever Plan. This is a story about how a mom and a little girl make a plan. Mom and Thuba plants mielies (maze) and sells the maze to make enough money to buy Thuba a red bicycle, within the story we tell the tale of sowing seeds, taking care of crops and harvesting the maze. Illustrations for this book is by Sandy Mitchell, a Kalkbay, Western Cape based illustrator and artist with a witty sense of humour.
Our Second book the Big Carrot written in Afrikaans, English and South African Sign Language tell the tale of an enormous carrot, that ends up feeding the whole farmyard from the farmer and his family to the sheep, the pigs, and the very naughty goat. Our illustrator for this book is Natalie Murrow of Demibooks. It was quite an interesting task to acquaint Natalie with our local architectural style and landscape, as we really wanted a local feel for the book.
Then the last of the three curriculum based books The Kings Questions is a tale set in a distant land. The Kings Question teaches the lesson of humility. The illustrations for this book were also done by San Francisco based Natalie Murrow. She created a wonderful world foreign to our local landscape inspired by the tale of a King surrounded by people who think they are better than others.
About the Author
Karen Hart is the Publisher at Picsterbooks, an independant creator and publisher of interactive applications in South Africa. Karen focuses the conversion of truely South African stories into interactive book applications for children. Earlier in 2013 she presented the iDeaf design using Demibooks Compsoser at the 2013 Interaction Design and Children conference. Karen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org