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Evolved Mommy | July 21, 2019

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The Cool Aunt Who Makes Apps | Red Piggy Press - Evolved Mommy

The Cool Aunt Who Makes Apps | Red Piggy Press

Y’all know I love my online friends. Well recently, I’ve gotten to know an amazing woman named Shelly Bowen who is children’s book author and app developer along with her friend and illustrator Sara Jane Franklin. I asked Shelly to tell me what inspired her to start creating her own children’s book apps and the following is the response I got from Shelly.

All Fixed up interactive iPad children's book app cover

About a year and a half ago, I introduced my three nephews to interactive children’s book apps and simple educational games on my iPhone, then on my iPad. About six month later, my young niece got in on the game, so to speak. My sister and sister-in-law hadn’t taken the leap just yet; they hadn’t put a $500 piece of technology into the (often sticky) hands of a 4, 5, 7 or 1 year old.

“…children’s book apps turned out to have a hidden benefit; a new and novel connection with my nephews.”

I loved being the first to introduce them to swipe and tap. And their responses were well worth the risk of stickiness. (Except for my 1 year old niece, who wanted to take her new digital device and practice walking with it anywhere I wasn’t.)

My nephews’ responses were fascinating. I admit that I downloaded the children’s book apps at first to check out what was possible. I started my career as a children’s book editor (for print), moved on to digital content strategy, and wanted to play with mobile app strategy. Children’s books just happened to be something I knew about. But children’s book apps turned out to have a hidden benefit; a new and novel connection with my nephews.

Sara Jane Franklin illustrator "All Fixed Up" by Red Piggy Press

Illustrator Sara Jane Frankilin

Whenever I see them, we are often waiting for something: breakfast to be served at a restaurant, in a long line for a rollercoaster ror museum, sitting in the backseat together in traffic. How often do I, their aunt, have a book or a toy in my pocket? Aun Shelly’s “I Spy” games only last so long. But an interactive book? It’s a close connection that I get to share with my nephews and niece. They cuddle up close and we read and explore together. The apps cost only $4 or $5 a pop, and the experience — for this aunt — is priceless.

I know screen time is controversial. When my nephew sees me and immediately asks, “Can I play with your phone?” I watch my sister cringe. But I think, like pretty much everything fun, iPhone time is great in moderation for kids… and adults.

Children’s book apps — or digital children’s book experiences — are in their infancy, and I’m excited that my experiment with them has turned into not only a stronger connection with my family, but also a full-fledged startup.

Sara and Shelly from Red Piggy PressShelly Bowen is the founder of Red Piggy Press, LLC, a children’s book app publisher focused on creating Smart Books for Even Smarter Kids. All Fixed Up, their first book app for kids whose parents travel a lot, runs on Kickstarter July 11-August 10, 2012. For more information visit

MUST READ: Red Piggy Press has the best “Our Story” page ever written.

So what’s your favorite digital children’s book? What do you think about Sara & Shelly’s book?