Some people say that in this digital age of tablets and smartphones, storybooks are obsolete.
Me Books Asia begs to differ.
Children’s storybooks will always be appealing. If anything, the rise of technology will work for them rather than against them, as digital technology means there will be more ways to tell beloved stories.
This is the rationale behind the Me Books Asia app, a first-of-its-kind interactive storytelling app aimed at children ages two to nine.
The app was first developed in Britain, the brainchild of Britons James Huggins and Eric Huang, and introduced in Malaysia by locals Hao Jin (who is also the company’s CEO) and Dr Chatichai Chong.
The app was built by experts from a variety of fields, including education, medicine, psychology and finance, is aimed at providing children and parents with accessible, affordable and quality storytelling content.
“Our mission is grounded in our firm belief that every child deserves equal access to the best educational content, regardless of where they live,” said Hao Jin at the launch of the app in Petaling Jaya recently.
“There simply should not be such an enormous barrier to entry to reading and learning, because English literacy is one of the defining challenges facing South-East Asia for current and future generations.”
The MeBooks app contains over 400 children’s books from international publishers such as Oxford Reading Tree, Andersen Press, ELI Publishing, and local publishers Magicbird Publishing and Oyez. It has also been recommended by Britain’s National Literacy Trust.
The books on the app come with built-in narration by world-class readers – including actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir David Jason and Richard E. Grant! So if you’ve ever wanted the star of Sherlock and Dr Strange to read to you, this is the way to do it.
Me Books has also been working with Malaysian storytellers to create exclusive and original local content. Under its Me Books Creations arm, it produced Aesopica Series 1, a retelling of Aesop’s Fables spiced up with Asian flavour. Titles include The Lion And The Mouse Deer, The Bear That Whispered and The Boy Who Cried Snow Leopard. The second instalment is expected next year.
The app comes with immersive sound effects and a draw-and-record feature to allow both children and parents to engage with the stories. The company is also releasing the Me Books Theatre, a build-it-yourself craft theatre designed to work with the Me Books app.
For more information, visit mebooks.asia.
Correction: This post has been updated to credit James Huggins and Eric Huang for developing the app, not Hao Jin and Dr Chatichai Chong as originally reported.