Encouraging self-confidence and self-acceptance in our teens and tweens is probably one of the greatest challenges we face as parents and teachers. Parents often feel helpless when a child is struggling with insecurity. Educators recognize that students need to feel safe and secure in order for real learning to take place. But in spite of our best efforts, elementary and middle school students are regularly faced with bullying, peer pressure, and self-doubt. Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential Graphic Novel, is a wonderful new app for the iPad that offers a fun, fresh approach to addressing these difficult issues with children ages 8 – 14.
Based on the award-winning Middle School Confidential series by Annie Fox, M.Ed., this app uses the popularity of the graphic novel and the magic of the iPad to address sensitive topics such as teasing, peer pressure, body image, relationships and insecurity. It’s exactly the kind of message we want to reach our kids.
The illustrations by Harvey award winner Matt Kindt are incredible. Every page is detailed and colorful. I find myself scrolling pages over and over just to admire the art. And David and Annie Fox of Electric Eggplant have done a magnificent job of bringing the graphic novel to life on the iPad. Viewers can interact with the novel by zooming in and out of frames, revealing detailed illustrations and sound effects. I especially like the way pages can be viewed either in their entirety, or by swiping from frame to frame in a close-up view. Pages are bookmarked, so when the app is re-opened there is an option to pick up where you left off, or return to the beginning. I really appreciate the digital format of this graphic novel. Each page is a joy to explore.
So, Be Confident scores high marks with this parent, but how does it hold up with the kids? Fortunately, I have several of my own who were perfectly willing to test it out. I shared it with three of our children, ages 12-16. They all absolutely love the illustrations and digital effects. While the high-schooler admitted she was too old for the topics, she thought it was still worth reading in order to interact with each page. She really appreciated the art and detailed views. My middle school daughter replied that it reminds her of “those videos they show you in school”, but I watched her interact with the app for quite a long time, carefully reading each page. The fact that it is a “teaching” app did not escape them, but they were more than willing to read it cover to cover anyway because of the engaging presentation on the iPad. It provided a perfect opportunity to discuss some of the subjects with them in more detail and hear their thoughts. I would love to see the Be Confident app in the hands of teachers and counselors in elementary and middle school classrooms. Many of the chapters could be great discussion starters and using the iPad would be “way cooler” than watching one of “those videos” in class!
This app does for our kids just what moms do all the time. We hide the spinach in the spaghetti sauce, we cover the broccoli in cheese, and now we can broach difficult subjects with our teens and tweens using engaging characters, fun sound effects, stunning illustrations, and the iPad. How cool is that?
A promotional code was provided for review purposes.