The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian 2o+ Favorite iPad Apps

So, how many of you found yourself cluttered in iPad apps? iPhone apps? Accidentally synced your platforms so that you have apps loaded in multiple sources when you only wanted them on one? I learned how cluttered I really was when I purchased my new mini-iPad. I purchased a 64gb mini so that I wouldn’t be limited with music selection, photo storage, or apps, but quickly realized that I appreciated apps much more when I had less of them. It doesn’t help that I follow a fantastic FreeAppsforKids and SmartAppsforKids pages on Facebook that shows me all of these new only for a day free apps!

As a teacher librarian and a mom, I know I look at iPad apps in a quirky way. I purchase many apps wildly on my personal iPad and then promote them with all my students along with enjoying them with my son. I also purchase apps to see if they’re worth investing in for my school’s iPads. Here’s some categories I’ve organized my iPad into (I’ve probably removed 500 apps in the switch over, but I can go to purchased apps and add them back if I’m missing them!)

Here is my all time favorite and most expensive app category! I have over 100 eBooks I’ve bought through the years, here are the ones that topped my favorites recently:

1. How Rocket Learned to Read – my favorite, never tire of sharing this book with children, they love it!

2. Oceans – Magic School Bus – I love how the book is there accompanied by videos, games, and audio- the book really does come to life.

3. The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore – how much I love this book, app, movie. I have been a huge fan for a few years and also enjoy the other resources the production company creates!

4. Rikki Tikki Tavi – the movie, not the book but I was thrilled to purchase!

5. Animalia – when I want to visit and get lost searching! Love this gorgeous book, was thrilled with the app!

6. Wild About Books – Judy Sierra and Marc Brown partnerships lead to my favorite books, really liked this eBook adaptation.

7. Press Here – although I was disappointed that this app really wasn’t the book online, my son loves all the games he can play with it and I love the celebration of creativity!

8. Dinopedia – excellent dinosaur resource.

9. Marcel the Shell – quite humorous, haven’t had much time for this one but happy I have it when I do have time!

10. Rockin Three Billy Goats– love Diane de las Casas’s adaptation of The Three Billy Goats Gruff and so do all my students I’ve shared this with- hilarious and entertaining. Catchy tunes lead the listener to sing along and laugh simultaneously.

11. Mad Libs– love that I can do a Mad Lib at a moment’s notice and redo without having to worry about scribbling out past responses or using up a book…

12. Pete the Cat app – happiness ensues when I share this app with my students, they love composing music and playing games connected with Pete…

13. Snow White – I was shocked how much my son loved this story! It led me to share with him the book The Land of Stories The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer which he adored.

14. Tumblebooks – my school has a subscription to Tumblebooks, happy that most of the books are now available on the iPad.

15. Weird but True– fun facts to randomly enjoy, thanks National Geographic!

16. I Wonder– a friend shared this recently, I enjoyed exploring it and thinking about developing student curiosity skills.

17. UNHCR Refugee– this has nothing to do with books, not sure why I popped it in there, app was used with my Year 6 students to experience the life of a refugee.

18. The 3 Pandas– Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears but precious with a little girl and pandas leading you through the story. Well done app!

19. Dragon Brush – terrifically interactive and excellent folktale as well.

20. A Troop is a Group of Monkeys by Julie Hedlund – I just love this eBook. It is the perfect introduction to have a discussion with students about animal group names and also cross-platform stories. My students liked reading through the book and the interactive nature of the app but my only sad moment was realizing that I couldn’t flip through the book listening to the music, it just played at the end of reading the story. There is a terrific parent and teacher guide that accompanies the story which I also recommend using.


Folk Tale apps I’ve appreciated consistently through the years:

1. Aesop’s Wheel – spin the wheel and listen to an Aesop fable.

2. Wild Fables – Another terrific resource for fable reading!

3. Little Pigs Pop Up – my absolute favorite fairytale to share with students, when you touch glasses you can see the “inside” pop up features to see how the gadget works.

4. Pecos Bill- Rabbit Ears – I’m quite fond of Rabbit Ears videos, I used to share them when my classes learned about Tall Tales and was thrilled to see how they adapted to the iPad.


Science Apps:

1. Star Walk– Love getting lost in this app with my son!

2. Human Atlas– fascinating, perfect when my Y4 teachers are studying Human Systems

3. NASA – Excellent!

4. Bobo Explores Light– Look out, light experiments and loads of pictures can pile up.

5. Handy Level– Yes, I tuck my leveler app on here when I need to hang something, mathematic more, but I can find it!

6. Triceratops – eBook- excellent, one of my son’s favorites!

7. Discovery Sharks – eBook – I love the interactive nature of this app and how my son can enjoy reading about sharks for over an hour and keep rattling off fascinating facts!

8. Explain Everything – screencasting and interactive whiteboard tool…


The delicate balance between playing with toys or playing on the iPAD, reading a book or reading an iPAD app book, finding new styles of writing but also celebrating the traditional styles are always challenging our lives now.  Personally, I have a preference for a happy medium.  I personally have many iPAD apps that I adore and was also disappointed with some apps that seemed less invested in.  I find having an iPAD is fascinating and well worth the investment since they are updated and edited for quality and changes over time. Providing a limit and time for regular reading, building with real life objects, and having down time to just be quiet are also part of my normal practice with my son…

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2 comments on “Styling Librarian 2o+ Favorite iPad Apps

  1. jgibsonmillis
    April 6, 2013

    Awesome list! Can’t wait to try and share. Best wishes for a safe journey back to Hong Kong!

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