Professor creates interactive children’s books


FIORELLA GUILLEN | Scroll Illustration

Russell Shaffer, a professor in the English department, is currently working on a few projects of his own in the world of literature.

“I am working on an interactive book right now,” Shaffer said.

He said the book will engage children on multiple levels. They will be able to interact with the story through their senses of sight, sound and touch.

Shaffer said this will provide kids with a new way of involvement into reading a story.

“It is something we have very rarely been able to do in the history of storytelling,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer said the inspiration to make an interactive children’s book came from a commercial he watched about an app called iBooks Author.

“iBooks Author is an amazing app that allows anyone to create beautiful iBooks Textbooks — and just about any other kind of book — for iPad and Mac,” according to Apple.

Shaffer said he had learned how to make interactive children’s books from a program but that they had a falling out.

“Now, I am looking for a program to put the images, and the text, and the music and the sounds all together,” Shaffer said. “That is something I don’t know how to do. But I know how to draw, I know how to write, I know how to play on the computer. So now I just need someone to take everything and put it together.”

Shaffer said he has now met with a man to put together a Kickstarter video that he hopes will help spread the word about his book.

“Hopefully by June 1 we’ll have a Kickstarter program going,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer said he hopes the app will be published by the end of the year.

“Writing a novel is really interesting,” Shaffer said. “Writing a children’s book is just fun and fulfilling. It’s just exciting. And I really like it for that reason.”

Shaffer said he is working on one about a pirate, one about the stars and one about a bedtime story.

Shaffer said he is currently working on an interactive book about a grandma putting her granddaughter to bed. The girl asks a lot of questions and the grandma answers them while she has flashbacks of her past. She then proceeds to imagine the answers in a whimsical way.

“It is about imagination and dreams,” Shaffer said. “It is meant for kids to go to bed.”

Shaffer said he hopes kids will enjoy reading the books just as much as he has enjoyed writing them.

“There is not really a moral lesson to it like Dr. Seuss or Berenstain Bears,” Shaffer said. “It’s just a fun bedtime story. It plays on imagination but there isn’t really a moral.”

Shaffer said that he read his book to children at the local library and received good feedback.

He said one of his colleagues was there with their child and they enjoyed the story.

Shaffer said he is excited to have his work published and hopes everyone will enjoy it.

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