National Techies Day

At Novel Effect, we’re celebrating National Techies Day by talking to some of our Techies – these awesome people we get to work with daily to create magic – and asked them why they opted for a career in technology.

Today, October 3rd, is National Techies Day!! Celebrated annually since its origin in 1998, National Techies Day is set aside to encourage students to consider a career in technology, a career sector predicted to grow 22% by 2020.

At Novel Effect, we’re celebrating by talking to some of our Techies – these awesome people we get to work with daily to create magic – and asking them why they opted for a career in technology.

Here’s what they had to say:

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Zhi Li, CTO

“I came to the U.S. with the dream of becoming a physicist but landed at the center of Silicon Valley. I was shocked by the heydays of the dotcom boom! In just two months, I decided to drop out and pursue a whole new world of computers.”

 

 

 

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Eric Goetz, VP Content

“I’ve been combining music and technology ever since I was writing music in BASIC on my TI-99a at age 10. I love working in the tech industry, because I enjoy hanging out with smart and creative people.”

 

 

 

 

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Grace Jang, Developer

“My favorite classes growing up were math, physics, wood shop and history. Each involves solving problems with a bit of creativity, and making stuff. Later, an older friend of mine suggested I take a computer science course, and behold! It was the best and most fun course I had taken throughout my time in college because I got to problem solve creatively all the time and make stuff digitally! So I changed my major to purse a tech related field. At that time, mobile apps and phones started becoming a huge hype. I became fascinated by how they can dramatically change the way we do things in life and give new opportunities to people. Now, I am in utter bliss making mobile apps and I only enjoy it more and more the more I problem solve and make new things!”

 

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Ryan Lane, Developer

“I started writing games in BASIC when I was a kid on my Apple IIe. I was lucky to get into developing for the web back in the early 90s using the Spry version of the NCSA Mosaic browser. I was hooked ever since.”

 

 

 

 

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Ju Namkung, Developer

“I studied linguistics in college and graduate school, which is great training for how to observe what’s happening in the world and how to reason about it analytically. In the 1990s, I fell in love with the World Wide Web when it was first starting out. That was an exciting time to get involved with a brand-new medium for sharing information, connecting with others, and getting things done. That excitement
continues to this day.”

 

We hope you enjoy celebrating #NationalTechiesDay!

3 Fun Activities for Community Story Times

Between the heat and vacation, we know the challenges of coming up with new ideas to add interactivity into routine story times. This blog, we’re focusing a bit on resources for community storytellers.

Greetings Story Tellers!

At Novel Effect we’ve been having fun at our local libraries and bookstores reading stories with our app and doing activities with little readers from Seattle to Charleston. Between the heat and vacation, we know the challenges of coming up with new ideas to add interactivity into routine story times.

Teacher At Montessori School Reading To Children At Story Time

This blog, we’re focusing a bit on resources for community storytellers. These special story times can take place in community centers, at libraries and parks, in the children’s section of your favorite local bookstore, or wherever you find a group of children who are willing to listen and ready to have fun.

With Novel Effect, all you need is a device and a blue-tooth speaker (if you have a bigger group) and you instantly have an immersive story time that will keep kids focused and attentive. But, what are some other ways to get the children involved and interacting with the story? Here are 3 suggestions we’ve come up with at our events (all the books, of course, have soundscapes in the Novel Effect app). Try them at your next story time and see your story time crowds grow and grow.

 

1. Everybody dance now!

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Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance is an adorable excuse to dance some sillies out and learn animal sounds. Let everyone pick a plastic animal (or picture) from a bucket. Gather the group in a circle and read the story once with Novel Effect. On the 2nd reading everyone stands up and dances to their parts in time with the music. It’s sure to be a baa, moo and a cock-a-doodle-doo, hoedown!

 

2. Bon appetit!

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Mouse and Minka share quite a few summer treats in Mouse’s First Summer by Laurent Thompson. Why not increase the flavor (sorry, wince) with some treats from the story? Serve sweet lemonade, watermelon and have children make their own PB&Js just like those adorable mice siblings.

 

3. Near, far, wherever you are!

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In “Duck and Goose Go to the Beach,” Duck and Goose are not quite on the same page about a summer excursion. After reading this story use this element as a springboard to discuss distant versus near places children might visit (or already have this summer). Then you can have the children draw two pictures: one of a nearby place to visit and one of a faraway place to visit.

 

What have you done at your story time events to keep families returning? Share your ideas be tweeting us @Novel_Effect!

And, as always Happy Reading!

Novel Effect Takes New York!

If you love books, then the place to be last week was BookCon at New York City’s Javits Center. Since Novel Effect LOVES books, we set up shop at the heart of the action.

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BookCon is the event where storytelling and pop culture collide. Attendees can experience the origin of the story in all its forms by interacting with the authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything you read, hear and see.

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As one of these creators, Novel Effect let attendees in on the action. We set up an interactive recording space where kids of all ages (and we mean ALL ages) could spin a wheel, hear a demo of a wrong sound effect, and then take their shot at voicing their own version. We can’t wait to share the results in our new Novel Effect Original story, “At the Stroke of Storytime,” coming Friday to your Novel Effect app!

Be sure to download Novel Effect today and to check the app on June 8th for “At the Stroke of Storytime.” If you recorded one of the sounds for us at BookCon, be sure to let us know what you think of the end result!

Red Carpet Ready

The Webby Awards are the Internet’s highest honor, with categories for everything from Mobile Apps to Podcasts to Digital Streaming. Novel Effect took home the Webby for Best Mobile Integrated Experience:

The Novel Effect Team celebrated with the best and the brightest from across the Internet Monday night at the 22nd Annual Webby Awards. The Webby Awards are the Internet’s highest honor, with categories for everything from Mobile Apps to Podcasts to Digital Streaming. Novel Effect took home the Webby for Best Mobile Integrated Experience:

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After practicing how to hold the Webby,

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and walking the red carpet,

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Novel Effect shared in the celebration with fellow winners Adam Sandler, Jimmy O Yang, David Letterman, and Jesse Williams. Hosted by Amber Ruffin, the entire show can be found on The Webby Award’s YouTube Channel here: https://youtu.be/jiq-n3lopZw

 

The Webby Awards are known for the 5-word acceptance speeches. Novel Effect showed the power of voice by creating a 5 word story using only onomatopoeia, accompanied by voice interactive sound effects and music. We hope you enjoy:

 

Thank you for making magic with us! It’s been an incredible journey so far and it’s only just beginning!

4 Literary Themed Holidays in April

The Month of April showers us with all the things for book lovers.! All month long, there are special celebrations and events that you and your little wordsmiths can enjoy together. Look for these celebrations locally to find shared experiences that will help build lasting memories and lasting love of reading for your family.

 

1. National Poetry Month

April is a month for poetry! We’ve celebrated at Novel Effect by adding free children’s poetry to the app, complete with the text, so you can enjoy some immersive poems right away. Additionally, if you’re looking for a fun poetry-related activity to do together, why not create your own black-out poetry using magazines or newspapers you have around the house?

 

2. National Library Week

April 8th-14th is National Library Week! Since 1958, this established event has been a big deal in the library world. It features micro-celebrations for everyone from school librarians to bookmobiles, with special activities for readers both big and small. The best way to celebrate is to support your local library – stop by and check a book out, attend a story time, and don’t forget to mention Novel Effect while you’re there. If you can’t make it in, little things like following/liking posts on their social media channels can go a long way to help their visibility in the community.

 

3. World Book Day, April 23rd

World Book Day is an UNESCO organized event celebrating all things related to reading, publishing, and copyright. First celebrated in 1995, the date April 23rd was chosen as it is the birth or death day for Cervantes, Shakespeare, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Vladimir Nabokov, and many other notable writers. April 23rd also happens to be St. George’s Day. In some cultures, books are given as a gift to a love interest St. George’s Day, not unlike the gift exchanges on Valentine’s Day here in the US, so feel free to pass along the gift of reading to someone you love on this day.

 

4. Independent Bookstore Day

Indie bookstores are community centers run by passionate book people. The last Saturday in April (this year, April 28th) is a day to celebrate these special places that make a neighborhood unique. Every store (and every Independent Bookstore Day party) is different, but it’s not uncommon to find authors, live music, kids events, art tables, contests, and fun exclusives that can’t be found anywhere else. Seattle bookstores have a passport program to encourage you to hit the wide variety of bookstores across the city. Novel Effect will be participating in several celebrations across the countries, so if you don’t see us, be sure to let the bookstore know that you would like to!

 

April is a big month for Novel Effect in another way – we were nominated for 2 Webby Awards! The Webbys, according to The New York Times, are the “internet’s highest honor.” As a nominee we have the possibility of winning the Webby chosen by the academy or the People’s Choice Webby, chosen by popular vote. We’d love your vote in each of the two categories where we were nominated:

Mobile Sites & Apps: Family & Kids: https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2018/mobile-sites-apps/general/family-kids

Mobils Sites & Apps: Integrated Mobile Experience: https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2018/mobile-sites-apps/features/integrated-mobile-experience

Bedtime Stories for Read Across America Day

Every year, on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, parents, teachers, librarians, kids, and lovers of children’s books celebrate all things reading! We here at Novel Effect enjoyed the day, literally reading across America (in classrooms from Washington state to South Carolina) volunteering and sharing our magical story time experience.

After a busy day of fun reading experiences, we thought we would share some of our favorite bedtime stories so you can keep the celebration going right up to the point the sandman arrives.

 

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson

Harold is the perfect story to unwind to after a day full of imagination. Harold himself uses his purple crayon to draw out his own adventures before falling asleep in his bed, crayon (almost) in hand. I particularly love the dragon roars and the boat scene in the middle of the book – the music and sound effects are spot on!

 

DREAM ANIMALS by Emily Winfield Martin

The whimsical and nostalgic imagery of “Dream Animals” beautifully demonstrates the power of books and how they can help children develop their imaginations. Plus, there are some great, unexpected character voices that really set the mood of the story.

 

 

GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Gentle rhymes and gentle music help prepare busy minds and busy construction sites off to sleep for the day. After a day full of busy hands and fun activities, this is the perfect story to help unwind the chaos and get settled in for bed.

 

OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO by Dr. Seuss

Ok, so this isn’t a bed time store, per se! But we couldn’t have a list for Read Across America Day and NOT have a book from the birthday boy himself. Plus, dreams are where…well…dreams are born. Why not send your child off to sleep with visions of all the things the places they can!

Storytime at Mary’s Place

Some of the Novel Effect team had the honor of joining the residents of Seattle’s Mary’s Place for a storytime! After reading a few stories with magic of the Novel Effect app, the team joined the kids in making their own reindeer antlers.

We had a great time reading and making magic together and look forward to returning! If you are interested in having the Novel Effect team do a charitable reading for your non-profit, please contact Lucas at lucas@noveleffect.com.

Want to try the reindeer activity for yourself? Here’s the instructions. Enjoy! (Warning: there’s glitter!)