Phone Book Gets Literal

The merging of digital technologies and traditional storytelling took another leap forward recently when Japan’s Mobile Arts Lab announced the PhoneBook, which works by inserting the Apple iPhone into the pages of a story book, allowing the child reader to interact with the changing background, or to change the background of the story by tilting the book. The creators of the book claim that most iPhone apps are targeted at adults, while this is an opportunity for parents to connect with their children through the age-old art of storytelling with a modern technological twist. The combination of print and visual media is yet again forcing us to re-think our familiar and  once discrete worlds of books, pictures, films and music, as well as blurring the edges between the processes of reading, watching and creating. What strikes me when watching the film clip is that while the book would seem to lend itself to rich discussion and the beginnings of a growing vocabulary so vital for literacy development in the early years, it’s the quality of the dialogue between the parent and the child which will determine that – the technology, as always, only provides a richer context.


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