Blogger Paige Bentley-Flannery

The Novel Effect App

Do you have a favorite book app?  

I love hearing about new ones. Last March,  I discovered Novel Effect – “a voice interactive storytelling app. Add music, sounds and even character voices simply by reading a book out loud with the app.”  Add the app to your tablet or smart phone and if needed use a wireless speaker – while your device is open, no screen time needed.   I was so excited and couldn’t wait to share the app with teachers, librarians and parents.  So many creative ways to use the app – even with poetry!

Wolfie The Bunny Novel Effect App photo by Paige

The books are separated by sections – Bedtime Stories, Winter + Winter Holidays, New Releases, Award Winners and more!

A selection of favorites:
Wolfie The Bunny by Ame Dyckman
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Be Who You Are by Todd Parr
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

I’ve enjoyed watching the app grow and spoke with Melody Furze, Director of Educational Development at Novel Effect, Inc. to hear more.

How many children’s books do you have currently and will you continue to add more books?
Our goal right now is ten titles per week. We started two years ago with a few titles and now we have over 80!  We want to add books that children enjoy and titles that storytellers love to read. We are always open to suggestions for titles. We aim to offer classics – new, exciting, titles and everything in between.

What is the next Novel Effect phase? You mentioned a recording feature and sharing within the app?  Will children have the opportunity to record their own sounds?
Yes!  We are very excited about expanding our offering as a groundbreaking startup in voice technology. In the coming months, we will be releasing our studio product which will allow anyone; users, and authors to create a voice interactive soundtrack for a story. We are also developing features that will ask users to record specific sound effects (i.e., a lion’s roar, a cow’s moo, a race car) and those will be populated into a soundscape as a sort of audio MadLibs and the sounds they provide will serve as the soundscape for the story. We also plan to let users create story playlists that teachers and parents can share with one another. So if you’re an educator and there’s a specific theme or lesson you’re working on, you can keep all those titles in one, easily accessible list and you can share it with other educators or even parents and really strengthen those home/school connections that we know are so important for young learners.

Will you add books for older readers – theater scripts?
Yes, the expansion of content comes with the roll out of the studio which will really increase what we’re able to do with our soundscapes. Be on the lookout for its release in the coming months.

Are you going to be at ALA Midwinter in Denver?  Yes! We will be featured in the Mobile Applications Pavilion. Visitors to our booth will be able to demo the app, check out our titles and chat with staff to see how they can use Novel Effect to enhance their storytimes and programs. The app is free to download in the App Store.  We are very excited to be at ALA. Librarians are some of our biggest fans and to be able to network with the literary world and demo our app to new users is a great opportunity.
Thank you Melody!  I’m looking forward to hearing more about Novel Effect at ALA, talking with your staff,and hearing about your expansion for older reader’s theater and the ability for children to record their owns sounds.  Quack! Moo! Beep! Beep!
Explore more at or contact Melody, Director of Educational Development at


  1. KathyK

    This post is an advertisement for an unproven commercial product. I think it unethical for ALSC to be doing this. The app is based on the idea that a parent reading to their child is insufficient. This is wrong. It assumes that by adding music the experience of reading is improved. It is not. I want ALSC to stop serving tech companies. Instead, be a champion of the print book because it is the best technology for early literacy and children deserve the best.

  2. Paige

    Thanks for your comment, Kathy. I really was just looking at it as a tool for library programming and sharing resources. I’ve been sharing apps and interviewing app creators on the ALSC Blog since 2012. (Member of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force). I love print books – especially, for early literacy. But I also, love using apps for programs and sharing digital content. This is an app I like using and I wanted to make sure librarians were aware. Especially, since they will be at ALA in the exhibit hall. They’ve teamed up with publishers and have an amazing list of diverse books on their app. You don’t have to buy the book or the app – it’s free. They will be at ALA, check it out and let me know what you think.

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