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February 21, 2017 Bologna Italy. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair today announced the results of the 6th BolognaRagazzi Digital Award –a global prize for excellence and innovation in digital content for a young audience..

“It is clear from the increasing number of VR and AR related entries this year that a marriage between books and technology has occurred. Publishers understand that nearly every child now has a connected, camera-enabled smart device in their pocket or home.” said Warren Buckleitner, chairman of the Jurors. “This has created a new business model — You can buy a print book and have the option to download a free app that can unlock rich additional experiences. The book is still at the heart of that engagement, and works independently of the technology, but the two components come together to deliver an enhanced reading experience.”

Four jurors considered 152 entries from 32 countries, choosing three winners, selecting six titles for special mention, and with a further short-list of six products. This year the jurors added a special new category for AR/VR products, with one winner and one special mention. Each chosen title represents an important contribution to children’s publishing by realising the potential of emerging technologies for the benefit of children.

  • A new special category for AR/VR (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality)
  • 152 entries from 32 countries.
  • Selections were made by four independent jurors from different countries.
  • Three winners, six special mentions and six short-list mentions.

The two winning titles both exemplify an emerging trend for the best apps to put children in the driving seat, handing them creative control of their interactive experience.

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Oh! (Cinno Star) by Louis Rigaud Productions - France
This magical drawing playground charmed the jury for its playful wit, serenity and good use of the medium. From the margin of the screen you choose from a range of colored shapes and drag them into the white canvas. When you let go, drawings appear surrounding each shape and suggesting stories: A circle turns into a sun or a snowman, but once moved to another part of the screen it might shape-shift into a wheel of a car. Accordingly, worlds of cities, people and trees become playful elements at a child’s fingertips. Rotating the orientation of the tablet, different drawings appear. You can capture your drawings and share them easily. Oh! Mon chapeau by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud, published by helium, France (UK : “That’s my hat!”, Thames & Hudson). iOS, Android
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Toontastic 3D by Toontastic - USA
Jurors appreciated how this intuitive and technically impressive storytelling app puts a child into the creative driving-seat. You can easily draw, animate, and narrate almost anything you can imagine. As you move objects on the screen, your voice and the motion of the characters are automatically captured to provide the narrative for the show. It is possible to import your own face or other images, using the built-in camera, to be overlaid on any of the characters. Rich sound effects and music can be added. Videos are saved in your photo library, so you can decide if you want to share them or not. Cleverly this app make 3D renderings of line drawings of your own characters which can be combined with off-the-peg styles pre-programmed into the app. iOS, Android
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Mur by Step In Books - Denmark
One of the best AR (Augmented Reality) entries judged in this year’s contest, this app/book combination is about a playful bear who doesn’t want to hibernate. Each page serves as a portal to a virtual playground where you can become the bear, with illustrations that are triggered by your motions and the bird which leaves the pages of the book only to turn up on your screen for more story.. Step In Books (Denmark); based on the book by Kaisa Happonen and Anne Vasko, published by Tammi Publishers, a division of Bonnier).
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Artie's Magic Pencil by Minilab Studios - England
By tracing the outlines of triangles, squares and circles, you help to save a town from a monster. Your shapes morph into the windmills, houses or helicopters that are part of the illustrations. The jurors appreciated the well designed tutorial. iOS, Android
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Con Le Orecchie Di Lupo - An Interactive Children's Sounds App by Small Bytes Digital - Italy
Everyday sounds come to life by way of beautiful hand-cut paper illustrations. The entire experience captures a child’s attention with sounds like the buzzing of bees, water drops, musical instruments and more. iOS, Android, Amazon
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Copain? by Albin Michel Jeunesse - France
Beauty meets (AR) Augmented Reality with this well printed book, design specifically with white space on the pages, to assist the AR experience. This is one of a series, and each is an excellent example of how AR can shine. Jurors also appreciated the other books in the Histoires Animées series: Choutte!, Il est l’heure d’allar maintenant! and Peur du noir, moi?
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Een Verre Reis (A Distant Journey) by YipYip - The Netherlands
Een Verre Reis, translated as a distant journey is a wonderful digital adaptation of a story by writer Toon Tellegen. The work represents an important collaboration between illustrator and musicians, while breaking away from the page structure that usually limits the design of so many story apps. iOS, Android
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Eric Carle’s Brown Bear Animal Parade by StoryToys - Ireland
Jurors were enchanted by this beautiful, gentle experience that will make a great first app for any child. Unlike the BRDA winner of two years ago My Very Hungry Caterpillar, this app is presented in 3D, meaning the bear and his companions can move in front of or behind objects and scenery. If you want to skip a scene and hurry to the ending, that’s OK. In the last scene, all the animals sing together in a mashup of music, and it is possible to mix in your own sounds. iOS
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Infinite Arcade, The by Tinybop by Tinybop, Inc. - USA
This app turns a tablet inside out, empowering children to create their own games. Jurors appreciated the open-ended nature of the problem solving, and the opportunities it presents to help children become a game designer, rather than just a game consumer. The app provides a playground for learning serious coding skills and encouraging problem-solving. iOS

The jurors also gave the following entries a special commendation, for making a unique contribution to children’s digital publishing.

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Busy Shapes 2 by Edoki Academy - Canada
Here’s a clever set of 3D sliding platform puzzles with trap doors, time bombs and switches that require some logical thinking, plus trial and error, in order to solve. The app uses multi-touch, so that children can work cooperatively on the levels.
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Fiete Sports by Ahoiii Entertainment UG - Germany
Part of a series, the highly regarded Fiete series features a funny German sailor, who entertains and delights through good game mechanics and quality illustrations. Jurors appreciated this studios continued contribution to the children’s technology space. iOS, Android
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Hop on Pop: Read & Learn Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media - USA
This well-designed “read and learn” apps mixes classic Dr. Seuss illustrations with solid reading pedagogy. As with other Oceanhouse titles, you can easily jump to any page, and a set of parental controls lets you customize the experience for a child. iOS, Android
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Sago Mini Planes by Sago Mini - Canada
Crisp, highly responsive illustrations deliver a successful first experience for even the youngest child. Jurors appreciated this studios continued contribution to the children’s technology space. iOS
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Tara's Locket by Big Motive - Ireland
This excellent example of VR (Virtual Reality) applied to storytelling lets you help Tara as she explores a richly illustrated interactive landscape, in an effort to find her last parents. iOS
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Thinkrolls Kings & Queens by Avokiddo - England
This year’s jurors couldn’t stop rolling through this clever series of puzzles, loaded with simple machines, spells, spiders and an occasional dragon. Missing are the sales gimmicks or time limits. iOS, Android, Amazon

Warren Buckleitner has been reviewing children’s interactive media since the 1980s. He teaches Interactive Design at The College of New Jersey, and is the editor of Children’s Technology Review and creator of the Dust or Magic Institute and the Mediatech Foundation. He’s covered children’s tech for The New York Times for a decade, and is a former preschool and elementary school classroom teacher who holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Since 1994 Paulien Dresscher is working as an independent curator, researcher, writer and educator in the field of culture and digital media. The past 6 years she has been in charge of the Cinekid MediaLab in Amsterdam. Currently she curates the Interactive program at the Nederlands Film Festival and the art program of Into The Great Wide Open, is part of the Advisory Board of the Dutch Literature Fund and is visiting lecturer at the University of Utrecht. Paulien Dresscher is living with her husband and daughter on a sailing ship in the center of Amsterdam. Paulien Dresscher holds a Bachelor degree of Media and Fine Arts from Minerva Academy in Groningen, as well as both Master degree in New Media and Research Master degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

Valeria Petrone lives between Milan and Rome, but she grew up professionally in London, where she started illustrating her first books for children. Since 1988, she has published over 40 titles in Italy, United States, France and Great Britain. Her works range from children’s literature to illustrations for advertising, newspapers and magazines, apps, animation, paintings and sculptures. She has exhibited in Italy and abroad. Her work has received recognition from Society of illustrators NY, American Illustration, Communication Arts, Original Art Show NY, Creatively Quarterly and Italian Illustration Annual. In 2008 and 2014 she was awarded the Gold Medal by 3×3 Pro Show Annual.

Max Whitby founded the app development company Touch Press with Theodore Gray in 2010. He was CEO for the first four years when Touch Press published many ground-breaking apps including The Elements, The Waste Land, The Orchestra and Disney Animated (named by Apple Best iPad App 2013). Max has a PhD in Chemistry and started his career at the BBC where he led an early collaboration with Apple. He co-led a management buy-out and subsequent IPO of the BBC’s pioneering Interactive Television Unit. Max has a lifelong interest in natural history, which now takes him filming around the world.

A GLOBAL REACH. Winners were selected in a face-to-face meeting by independent jurors selected for their proven expertise in digital media. Any publisher from any country can enter a product for any platform – the jurors make a conscious effort to be blind to the size and origin of the publisher.

For the 2017 edition, the jurors were Warren Buckleitner, Editor of Children’s Technology Review (USA); Paulien Dresscher, Head of the New Media Department, Cinekid (Holland); Valeria Petrone, Illustrator (Italy); and Max Whitby, Co-Founder, Touchpress (UK).

Since 1993, Children’s Technology Review (http://www.childrenstech.com) has provided objective product news about children’s interactive media to teachers, librarians and interactive publishers.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the most important international event dedicated to the children’s content industry. In Bologna, authors, illustrators, literary agents, licensors and licensees, packagers, distributors, printers, booksellers, and librarians meet to sell and buy copyright, find the very best of children’s publishing and interactive media production, generate and gather new contacts while strengthening professional relationships, discover new business opportunities, and discuss and debate the latest sector trends.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair – Piazza Costituzione, 6 – 40128 Bologna
Tel. 39 051-282242/282361 – Fax 39 051 6374011