Whether you have a Kindle, a Nook or an iPad, eReaders are inundated with great, good, and, let’s face it, not-so-good books for both adults and children. As a parent, I am appalled at some of the book choices that appear when my nine-year-old daughter hunts for a book to read on her Kindle. Some of them are clearly NOT intended for children – even after we’ve filtered our search accordingly.
Fortunately, there are budding eBook publishing companies like Lucky Penny Press that have a focused ideology of providing good quality books for children. “We want our books to have a message in them about culture, adventure, the environment – moral lessons” said Melissa Marsted, founder of Lucky Penny Press. Their books are targeted for children ages three to ten years old and are offered in several different languages, such as Spanish, French and Chinese as well as English. This is a great opportunity to expose your children to foreign languages, or reinforce one while learning about the myriad of messages each book has.
Even more exciting, they have a section of “eBooks by Children.” This surprisingly catchy trend of by-kids-for-kids publications not only encourages your child to read, but may even inspire your child to write and publish their own book for other youngsters to read. The illustrations attached to the ebooks within this section are all done by children as well, and many of them are incredibly creative.
Four years ago, Marsted watched her then-seventh-grade son work on a research paper about Ghana. “He put so much effort into this project, I thought it would make a great children’s book.” This sparked the idea of having the “eBooks by Children” section. “He worked with a senior in high school to help him illustrate his book before we published it.”
Michelle Dieterich, a Studio and Digital Arts Teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High in Park City, Utah, feels that the Lucky Penny Press is a “brilliant opportunity for my students to see their work in the real world [which] gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride.” Dieterich’s three classes each worked on an alliteration book for publication through Lucky Penny Press. She assigned each student a letter-page to produce and offered extra credit to her students if they found grammatical errors on other students’ pages. At the end of the class, Dieterich compiled all the pages for publication.
“It’s pretty cool to see your page printed in a book,” said Abi Kretschmar, one of Dieterich’s students. She was excited to learn her book would be offered in eReader format as well as print. “It was a lot of fun making this book and seeing it online will be great!” she exclaimed.
Ms. Dieterich’s previous classes have all been able to purchase a copy of their printed/hard bound books, but printing costs have skyrocketed. “Many of my students’ parents will purchase the book for their children to hopefully show their children when they grow up, but $35 for a printed copy is a pretty steep price.” Lucky Penny Press is offering that same book for $4.99, “which is much more reasonable for aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends to purchase and enjoy the students’ hard work.”
Even more impressive, Lucky Penny Press will be donating $1 of every ebook sold to Ms. Dieterich’s class for future projects. “As part of Lucky Penny Press’s cultural fabric, each book is connected to a non-profit organization which receives a portion of the proceeds,” explains Marsted.
When my daughter perused the selection available, not only did she find a few books she wanted to read, but she was inspired to start writing one of her own. ‘If they can do this, so can I’ was the prevalent thought in her head. I was 25 before I published my first book. My daughter may have me beat by a good 16 years, and I think that’s fantastic!