Novel Effect’s 2019 Reading List

Here is a list of our recommended titles to read out loud this year! Packed with fun sound effects and lively music from Novel Effect, these popular books are sure to keep your little one engaged for the entire story, whether they are reading themselves or just listening.

Make a resolution to read aloud more and join in on our pursuit to get every child to love reading in 2019!

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Continue reading “Novel Effect’s 2019 Reading List”

Happy Holidays, Novel Effect Educators!

As you are Fa-La-La-ing your way to…V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N, we thought you might like to ease some of that countdown-to-holiday-break craziness with titles that explore different seasonal cultures and traditions. Good news, there’s a little elfish-luck in your corner, all the titles below are available in the Novel Effect app!

Continue reading “Happy Holidays, Novel Effect Educators!”

Behind the Soundscape: Baseball Saved Us

We sat down with composer Ian Silver and Audio Lead Matthew Boerner, two of the talents behind some of your favorite Novel Effect soundscapes, to ask them about creating the soundscape for Baseball Saved Us, a story about a Japanese American boy and his family finding identity in baseball during WWII internment camps.

Novel Effect syncs theme music and sound effects to stories as you read them aloud. By now, you may have explored some of the many titles available on the app. What you may not know is that Novel Effect works with award winning composers from film and gaming to custom create each and every soundscape.

We sat down with composer Ian Silver and Audio Lead Matthew Boerner, two of the talents behind some of your favorite Novel Effect soundscapes, to ask them about creating the soundscape for Baseball Saved Us, a story about a Japanese American boy and his family finding identity in baseball during WWII internment camps.

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Ian Silver started his composing for Baseball Saved Us with this text itself. For him, the story drove home that being an American “is more of cerebral idea and an emotional ideal than a location” which is an idea he wanted to support with his musical composition.  

“It felt to me as if there were two distinct phases to the story,” Silver explained. “There is first, the wrongful imprisonment, and the second, the triumph of the human, which in this case was also the triumph of the American spirit.”  He then captured those two phases in the music.

Accompanying the protagonist as he faces his new reality in the harsh internment camp, Silver focused the music in the first phase on that emotion journey, saying, “I made sure the melodies were leaping, they were jumping and reaching beyond the fences that surrounded them.”

Audio Lead Matt Boerner added, “Ian uses a reverberant acoustic guitar and open string harmonies to describe the desolation of the camp. In the very first musical cue of the story, there are the long pauses between the guitar phrases, which sets the scene well, but it also allows the reader huge freedom of pacing.”

 

“For the second phase, the triumphant spirit,” continued Silver, “I went with early Americana orchestral music, heavily inspired by Aaron Copland.” For those of you with musical vocabularies, you might recognize what Boerner describes as “an underlying 8th note propulsion in the strings to capture the excitement and nerves in the narrator’s head, while the woodwinds weave in and out of the melody.”

 

The composer wanted to “conjure images of families setting off on an adventure into the unknown, hoping for something better. This is the story of every immigrant who has settled in America, now and then. I wanted to draw attention to their heroism. At the height of each victory was the sense of sameness and the sense of belonging. In the face of adversity, fear and discrimination they persisted and innovated.”

Baseball Saved Us is available now in the Novel Effect app, so download the app and grab your copy of the book off your shelf to read this amazing story aloud for its 25th Anniversary. Now that you know the story behind the music, see if you can identify some of the things Silver and Boerner point out as you read, or start a discussion with your students about the music.

You can download Novel Effect free here. If you want to have first access to our Android app, email droid@noveleffect.com.

 

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 Matt Boerner is a composer, interactive audio designer, and songwriter. As the Audio Lead at Novel Effect, he collaborates with a team of composers to design soundscapes that explore and challenge the limits of the voice-driven platform.

 

Ian Silver is a composer from Oklahoma with a passion for animation. He believes that books are stories you animate internally, with some help from the illustrations and soundscapes.

Books to Read This Earth Day

Earth Day is this weekend! Depending on where you are, you may be stuck inside watching another beautiful snow storm or out enjoying a hike to celebrate. Whatever you do, be sure to add in some story time! We’ve got some suggestions on books to get you in the Earth Day spirit:

 

I Stink by Kate & Jim McMullan
All the things we use create waste. Find out about all the hard work garbage trucks do in “I Stink” and then try to find one thing you can do to reduce the work garbage trucks have to do to keep our cities clean.

 

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Robinowitz
Helping animals can be incredibly rewarding, as the young boy in “A Boy and a Jaguar” discovers. Overcoming his stutter, he finds a way to use his passion to protect his favorite animals. Start a conversation with your little ones to find out what their passions are!

 

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Conney
Plants do more than provide oxygen for us to breathe. They also make the world a beautiful place! Join Miss Rumphius on her world-beautification project and plant your own favorite plants as a family.

 

The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson
Yes, this planet is pretty stellar. But….the MOON! The moon is quite awesome as well. You can read Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem about Earth’s favorite little sister with the free ebook provided in the Novel Effect app!

 

The Earth Book by Todd Parr
Here’s a whole book devoted to our home planet! It’s full of great ideas and simple ways that even the littlest of humans can chip in and make the world a greener, better place.

 

The best way to celebrate Earth Day is to make EVERY day Earth Day! We hope some of these books (and one poem) on the Novel Effect app inspire your family to find little ways every day to make our shared home the best it can be.

National Book Month

October is National Book Month, and we’re celebrating all month long on Facebook! We’re featuring a different title from our library every day with video previews, demos, and more. Take a look at just two of our awesome videos we’ve shared so far:

 

And here’s the best part – at the end of the month, we’re giving away a book bundle with all the books we feature for National Book Month! So check it out and share away for your chance to win.