Sunday, February 17, 2013

Brush of Truth - an Interactive Storybook App Tailored to Your Child's Needs

Brush of Truth, developed by Story Bayou, Inc., is an extremely clever interactive book app. It can be customized for the needs of the reader by the reader. In Brush of Truth, two tweens discover an enchanted paintbrush created by a medieval sorcerer. The paintbrush is magical – whatever you paint with it comes to life! There are many adventures included in Brush of Truth. Some of these adventures include helping a sea goddess find the key to the oceans dying sea life, exploring dark tunnels under the earth, and fleeing talking vultures.

What makes Brush of Truth a great storybook app?  According to my son who is twelve and a bit of a reluctant reader, there is something about Brush of Truth which sets it apart from other interactive storybook apps. In fact, it puts the user in the perspective of the character in the story; the story is told in second person. This specific app allows the user to choose how the story will actually unfold. Throughout the story, there are 65 checkpoints, which are opportunities in which the reader is faced with a decision to make. The reader never knows what will happen next – it all depends on the choice that he/she makes. The book features twenty possible endings and the user has the ability to go back in the story and make new choices which will yield new characters and new endings. Note: there are 65 decision points!  In order for the user to finish reading the story, he/she has to find all twenty endings. Upon finding all twenty endings, the app provides the user with a reward. With so many adventures and so much built in creativity, I witnessed my son becoming totally immersed in the story himself. The user is actually the main character of the story. Brush of Truth is an engaging tale for tweens eight – twelve years old, including reluctant readers. It also includes illustrations as visual aids for the user. The app is native and therefore is saved on the device and does not require an internet connection in order to use it. Brush of Truth is a wonderful interactive storybook app – we are eagerly looking forward to its sequel, titled Brush of Secrets!

When selecting books for youngsters to read, there are many important points to consider. We want our students and children not only to enjoy reading the stories, but we want them to be completely immersed within the story. A good book is  one you do not want to put down. Obviously, the content and vocabulary of the book need to be at the reading level of the child. If a child is delayed in language skills, it is likely that his or her vocabulary and comprehension skills will not be up to grade level as well. All of the above applies to choosing interactive storybook apps as well. Educators and parents need to choose and use the technology that suits the needs of the audience.

When we corresponded with Julie Laviolette she gave us this quote, “As a mom, I’ll do anything to get my kids to read. That’s why I developed Brush of Truth as a longer-text app. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but for this age group, I wanted more reading and less game. So I designed it to engage kids through the choices they make in the story. If you give kids a compelling story, they will stick with it.” And about marketing the app- “I’ve found through marketing this app that parents and teachers like Brush of Truth because it gets kids to spend more time reading. Teachers have used it in class to inspire creative writing exercises and to get kids excited about reading. I now have Common Core StateStandards-aligned lesson plans on my website,, that work with the app, and I’m in the process of developing more.”
This app is available on other platforms, including iPhone,  Kindle Fire, Android and Windows 7.  
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