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Digital media book

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 6 months ago

Children's book that incorporates a digital media


Post a bibliography and summary of your book and discuss the other medium (IM, video game, email, webpages, etc) that is used in your text. How is the other medium introduced? Is it a small or large part of the book/ critical to the text or just a minor occurance? Does it seem like a natural fit in the book? Will the reference or usage make the book obsolete? Why do you think the author decided to include that particular medium or reference that medium in her book? Does it enhance the story, how? Or does it destract the reader from the story, why? This post should be at least 250 words excluding the bibliography.

Rubric: Out of 25

Lack of bibliography – minus 5

Underdeveloped summary or does not fulfil length requirement– minus 1 to minus 5

Underdeveloped discussion of other medium - minus 1 to minus 5

Left questions unanswered or questions are not fully answered - minus 1 to minus 10



Jennifer Hunt- Berenstain, Stan and Jan. The Berenstain Bears Lost in Cyberspace. New York: Random House, 1999.

The Berenstain Bears books are well-known for teaching various lessons ranging from good manners to recycling. In "Lost in Cyberspace", Wealthy Squire Grizzly gives each student in Teacher Bob's class a computer to do with as they will, and soon the cubs go crazy. Consequently, their grades drop and they spend less time away from the computer as well. Digital media is this book's focus. The bears cruise chat rooms, email one another, check out websites, and become completely lost in the cyber world. The book is centered around digital media in order to teach a lesson. While the internet can be an information jackpot, it can also teach children (or in this case, bears) that it can teach a false sort of reality. References to digital media are very limited in children's books, highlighting the obvious concern of adults over the level of exposure children have to the internet, video games, etc. This book brings up some of the unsafe internet activities available to children as well. For example, internet dating is explored. Some children could easily miss this lesson, however, and see references such as this as appropriate. This is unlikely though as the lessons in the book are well laid out. On the Berenstain Bears website, there is a separate space devoted to internet safety. When children click on this link, listed rules such as "Do not ever meet a stranger alone that you meet on the internet" appear. So while the book has a fun side, the obvious underlying message is clear: be careful on the internet.

Lydel Matthews - Rand, Johnathan. "American Chillers: #13 Virtual Vampires of Vermont". Topinabee Island: AudioCraft Publishing, Inc. 2003

Mike and Hayley are pulled into a computer game called, “Return of the Vampire” by the friendly vampire Ivan, a desperate resident of 'Virtuality World'. They must combat giant worms (computer viruses), deranged cats, robotic wolves, and mutated vampires in the castle/dungeon that contains the portal leading to the inside of the computer. The mutated vampires survive off energy and if they get too much they can enter into the real world; the mission is to put enough garlic in the coffins to absorb and destroy all evil the energy. Once Mike and Hayley find the entrance to the inside of the computer, they realize there is a mess of soda pop on top of disconnected wires. They work together with the help of Ivan and his dog to win the game and fix the computer, only to find out that Mike's dad is ultimately responsible for the mess and circuitry malfunctioning. The children's experience in Virtuality is similar to playing a video game because on their quest they have the random help of side characters, they walk through dark corridors and push on secret stones, they must be wary of their 'energy' and that of others, all while avoiding death by enemies. Plenty of computer vocabulary was incorporated into the text like icons, 'freezing up', copper fibers, panel connections, activation buttons, and power strip. The medium of video gaming is essential to the enhancement of this story's plot. Impossible things keep happening to the victims and they must decipher connections between virtual reality and reality; this parallels children's reactions to video games in that they must draw from actual experience in order to survive a simulated 3-D environment.

Amanda Schafer- Brashares, Ann. "The Second Summer of the Sisterhood." New York: Delacorte Press, 2003.


The book that I chose is the sequel to the series of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In the second summer of the sisterhood, the girls face more troubles in their lives in almost four seperate stories, but all intertwined by the power of the pants. Tibby, Lena, Bridget, and Carmen all take turns with the pants that magically fit all of them. Tibby goes off to college, Bridget goes to Alabama to retrace her roots after her mother's death, Lena has to work through her dramatic relationship with Kostos, and Carmen has to learn how to accept and support her mother in her new happiness with David. All in all, the story has a lot of drama packed into just one summer. The girls depend on the pants to keep them close together even though they are far apart.


In the text, the girls use many different forms of communication, which include various digital media. The girls Instant Message (IM) each other over the computer, they also talk to each other on the telephone in the book. There is also reference to the playing of video games (Brian and Dragon Master). Finally, there is are references to the computer that Tibby uses quite frequently. The author included the IM, but in very minimal and unobtrusive amounts. At most there is a three or four sentance conversation, and always between just two people. The text is very affective in getting straight to the point, as the girls are already comfortable with each other, this gives a means to address something quickly in their hectic lives. The author doesn't make the IM a major part of the book, but together with the other mediums, it shows just how close the girls are and just how many different ways they find to keep in touch with each other. I think that this inclusion of the different medias was very helpful to the book and wasn't a distraction. It shows that the girls are normal teenagers that enjoy talking frequently. It made the book more realistic because most children or adolescents use these very things as a means of communication.


Lauren Blatter


von Ziegesar, Cecily. Would I Lie To You, A Gossip Girl Novel: Little, Brown and Company, 2006.

In the tenth installment of the Gossip Girl series, the reader is introduced to the five main characters of the story. These five are the well to do of New York City and have more money and fame than they deserve. They have just graduated from high school and are all planning to go off to college in the fall, but they are living up their summer in the City and in the Hampton’s. Throughout the book there is love, heartbreak, sex, drinking, and gossip which make this book so unique. The narrator of the story is an unknown teen socialite that has a website that she/ he posts on during each couple of chapters to update the reader on different sightings of the characters, to answer emails, and to give different tips on how to enjoy life. The website begins the book with an update from the last book and to tell of the exciting goings on happening in their world. The website then ends the book asking questions that will set up for the next part of the series. The website is a large part of the book and creates another way to spy on the main characters of the story. The different posts on the website fit very naturally into the book and make it flow and have an edge. I believe the author decided to use this particular medium in the book to make the book more excitement. The reader is not just learning about the different lives of the characters of Gossip Girl, but the narrator is one the characters and chooses to hide who she is. Being involved in the group and then writing about them on her website is very deceiving and makes the entire idea of Gossip Girl much more intriguing. The book could survive without the website entries, however it is more appealing and fun to read what the true Gossip Girl has to say.

Chelsey Campbell


Harrington, Jane. Lucy's (Completely Cool and Totally True) E-Journal. New York: Scholastic Inc, 2001.


Lucy's E-Journal chronicles the adventures of a ten-year-old girl who is going through many changes in her life. In a single summer, her Alzheimer's-stricken grandmother moves into her home, her school nemesis, Billy, plans to move in next door, and she goes to sleep-away camp for the first time. To help her deal with all of these things, Lucy keeps a diary on her computer which compromises the book's text. She is also very fond of ferrets and dreams of having one of her own, although her parents will not agree to it. Many different events take place through the summer that frustrate Lucy, such as Billy sending annoying e-mails, a fight with her best friend Taylor, and her grandmother using the family's dishes to feed the cat. Throughout the book, Lucy uses the journal as a way to express her feelings when things are both pleasing and upsetting, as well as to chronicle daily events and her web searches. In the end, all of the things that Lucy thought would be horrible turn out okay, and she finally gets the pet ferret she always wanted.


Digital media is definitely an integral part of this book. The main character communicates the entire story to the reader as if they were the audience to which her journal is written, so Lucy's computer is the principle medium through which the story is told. The book also makes use of e-mail, the Internet, and instant messenger as well. Lucy's E-Journal could also be seen as a technology education book because many of Lucy's entries involve learning how to perform new computer tasks such as searching the Internet, using a computer thesaurus, and decoding a secret message. Lucy also makes use of emoticons and "Net-Yak", giving readers a crash course in computer lingo. Finally, the book serves a parental safety role by having Lucy tell about how she keeps herself safe while on the web by not talking to strangers, leaving her bedroom door open while she is surfing the Internet, etc. This would be an excellent book for a girl who was just learning to use the computer and wanted an interesting and informative novel to enjoy.


Danielle Ernst- Sloppy Firsts


McCafferty, Megan. Sloppy Firsts. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001.

Sloppy Firsts is about a sixteen year old girl named Jessica Darling. Jess’s best friend has just moved away, and she finds it hard to fit in with everyone at her school. Things at home are not that good either; her mother is infatuated with her sister’s wedding, and her father is only cares about her running career. Basically, this book contains all the hardships that every teenage girl faces at one point or another. The digital media used in this novel is IM and email. This medium is introduced casually, to exemplify that it is a part of everyday life for the characters. The author does not make any reference to the media being good or bad; it just seems to be a nice accent to the story. Even though it is not critical to the plot, it still plays an important role. Since her best friend, Hope now lives in another state, the best and easiest way to communicate with her is through the computer. Jess writes a letter to her in the beginning stating that they must IM/email each other everyday (unless of course she doesn’t want to.) There is also another passage from the book in which Jess describes how obsessed with computers her father is and how she is completely opposite of him in that respect. She explains that she “just doesn’t trust technology” (7). This reference of digital media is quite appropriate since this book was written to appeal to today’s youths, and with the IMs and emails, the readers are able to relate to this story more.



Kara Adler - ttyl

Myracle, Lauren. ttyl. New York: Amulet Books, 2004.


ttyl is an innovative book formatted completely in IM recording one month of the sassy lives of three teenage girls. Angela (SnowAngel), Maddie (mad maddie), and Zoe (zoegirl) are just entering tenth grade and the start of the school year takes them for a whirl. Angela is crazy about a boy in her French class, Maddie deals with insecurity issues and is especially intimidated by a particular popular girl, and Zoe the “perfect one” forms an iffy relationship with a teacher. With peer pressure and feminine issues, the girls deal with a lot, but ultimately work through their conflicts and remain friends. The book immediately opens with an IM conversation and stays consistent with this form through its entirety. This makes the book creatively different than most because the reader is completely limited to information only from the conversations. However, this seems like the perfect fit to describe the lives of three high school girls. Each girl has a different screen name and font style, which helps convey their disparate personalities and tones. Each page has a screen in the background to enhance the technological atmosphere. As we advance technologically as a society the book might become obsolete as people change the way in which they communicate. The language in the IMS also might become outdated because the diction is so distinct with IMs such as, “JK, BFF, and Hiyas.” To include variation within the story the author emphasizes language with hyphens, capitalization, smiley faces, abbreviations, and inserts put inside stars to create a visual picture of what the character is doing (ex: *stomps on picture of crissy*). The author most likely selected this style because it allows for immediate response and IM technology is a prominent and pervasive medium in many young girls’ lives. It is compelling because the book is in an intimate format which can make the reader feel like they are getting exclusive information. It improves the story by setting a certain girly quality and is catchy in its uniqueness, however it can sometimes feel incomplete because the reader is only given one setting and the conversations change very quickly. Usually while reading a book, the reader creates a mental picture of the text, and for the majority of the novel, the reader pictures a teeny bopper sitting at a desk. Overall, ttyl is a revealing and inventive novel about three girls growing up, and truly portrays teen communication an enhancing format.

Laura Feezor-Girls in Pants

Brashares, Ann. Girls in Pants. New York: Delacorte Press, 2005.


I chose the third installment of the Traveling Pants series, Girls in Pants. The medium used in this book is Instant Messaging. IM’s are used by the girls but even more interestingly by Lena’s grandmother Valia, who is stuck with her son’s family after the death of her husband. The medium is found sporadically through the story, only about five times, as the primary mode of communication is through letters unless they are at home in Maryland. However, it contributes to the story by easily explaining and describing ongoing events in their lives. The inclusion of instant messaging is perfectly natural for this book, as its age demographic is teenage girls who use instant messaging daily with their friends. While not necessary to the plot of the story, it furthers the perception of the four girls as normal teenagers. Their screenames are also according with their personalities and are just another way the author contributes to the development of the characters. I particularly liked how Valia used IM to talk to her friends all the way back home in Greece. She is described as being very efficient in using IM, which is unique as most elderly people are unfamiliar with such technology. Valia’s capability in this medium displays her desperation in communicating with her homeland and her desire to return there. The translation of her IM’s from Greek into English also displays the global reaches of technology and demonstrate its ability to connect people. The use of IM in Girls in Pants enhanced the story by making the girls more relatable and real to their readers and by displaying the prevalence of the medium, stretching from America to Greece.


Leslie Scott- The Power of Un

Etchemendy, Nancy. "The Power of Un". New York: Scholastic Inc, 2000.

The Power of Un is a story about a boy, Gib, who is given a machine called an unner that can make him travel back in time to ‘undo’ his mistakes. The person who gives him this machine is an old man with a limp in the woods. When going to the Carnival, Gib is put in charge of his younger sister, Roxy. One of Gib’s friends wants to go on a ride that Roxy is too scared to go on, so the boys leave her at the entrance of the ride. From the top of the ride, they see Roxy chase a stray dog right into the middle of the street and get hit by a truck. Everything is bad now, but Gib remembers the unner. He goes back in time to earlier that day in school and when evening rolls around, he does things differently. Roxy has a babysitter to watch her at the fair that night and Gib prewarns the babysitter to keep a close watch on her. At the Carnival all is well and Gib and his friend decide to go on that scary ride again. They had been looking for Roxy and her babysitter all night, but didn’t spot them until they were on the top of the ride once again. From there, they see almost the same scene unfold. Roxy begins to chase the stray dog, so the babysitter runs after her and to prevent Roxy from being hit, the babysitter is hit by the truck. Gib and his friend get off the ride and do the unner back, but only for fifteen minutes. It takes them back to when they are standing in line for the scary ride. Gib tells his friend what is going to unfold, so they get out of line to go to Roxy and the babysitter. The stray dog appears for the third time and Roxy begins chasing it. This time all three of them are running after her and the only one who is hurt is Gib- he gets a broken leg. He realizes later that the old man in the woods who gave him the unner in the first place was really himself in old age. The technology in this book, the unner, was the central part of the story. I think the author chose to write about this because it satisfies some of the imaginations wonderings about time travel.


Melissa Mattson - Confessions of a Boyfriend Stealer {A Blog}

Clairday, Robynn. "Confressions of a Boyfriend Stealer {A Blog}". New York: Delacorte Press, 2005.


Patrick Lynn - The Computer Nut

Byars, Betsy. The Computer Nut. New York: Penguin Books, 1984.


The Computer Nut revolves around a young girl, Kate, who plays on her father's computer. Kate, while visiting her father's office, proceeds to draw a self portrait in order to complete a homework assignment. Kate completes the drawing, prints it, and begins to close down the computer by request if Miss Mackham, a lady who works in her father's office. However, she discovers strange writing on the screen. It asks to speak with "The Computer Nut." Kate, extremely surprised, becomes interested when the message appears again. Miss Mackham, running late for a date, shuffles Kate out of the office. Before Kate leaves, she replies, "Tomorrow." Kate returns the next day and begins her conversation with the strange figure who calls himself BB-9. Puzzled for a while, Kate finally discovers the true identity of the mysterious BB-9. She concludes BB-9's identity to be that of an alien because he wants to visit Earth and meet "The Computer Nut." He requests to meet Kate in human form at a restaurant. Kate is excited at first, but soon realizes the weight of the situation. She knows the true identity of BB-9, but how to convince those around her this fact.


Betsy Byars' foresight revealed the possibilities of computer technology. She realized that computers would control the future. So that children at least knew what the future holds, she created a story which revolves around technology. The computer plays an absolute, pivotal role in the book. Without it, the story would fall flat. Although the story digresses away from the medium, it returns later almost like thread stitched into a shirt. Of course, one remembers the date of publication. In 1984, the computer could not "instant message" like in Byars book. Kate never could create such a drawing on the computer. Mainly for programmers, graphics programs feature complex coding and script. Yes, the technology makes this book absolute on a detail scale, but the ideas transfer over the decades. Kate represents all boys and girls who use technology to discover the mysteries of the world. The computer enhances the story by providing a "vehicle" through which children may imagine.


Adam Amir

Brian, Kate. Invitation Only: A Private Novel. New York: Simon Pulse, 2006.

In Kate Brian’s Invitation Only: A Private Novel the protagonist Reed Brennan has just been accepted to Billings, a posh and prestigious boarding school. Life in New York City is just as glamorous as she though it would be. However, Natasha, her roommate, has decided that Reed’s new status would not come for free. She takes many compromising photos of Reed at the exclusive Billings parties in the woods and blackmails her.

Reed, a new sophomore at Billings, must dig up the deepest dirt on her elite new friends or risk expulsion by her psychotic roommate. Reed’s mother and father helped shape a miserable homelife and Reed will do anything to stay in Billings. Adding to the plotline, Reed has to go to the “Legacy,” an exclusive Halloween party downtown, and her ex-boyfriend is in town just that week. She is eventually able to get the guy and stay at the school, but not without her own dark web of lies. Her ability to bend backward to cater her over privileged friends is unbelievable, but entertaining. This book reads like an episode of Laguna Beach: replete with backstabbing, hooking-up, expensive clothing and yes — cell phones.

The book alludes to the use of social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook when it talks about “Reed’s profile.” Even the inclusion of online pettiness becomes central to the happenings in the novel. Also, the author mentions that some of the more popular girls have “sleek new phones.” Status, wealth and technology become part of Reed’s drama. She feels like she won’t be accepted to the cliques of her new school; she feels like she’ll never be able to escape the melodramatic treachery that these teens become a part of.

While there is little dialogue that is played out in technological mediums, they are mentioned in conversation. This makes it more natural. When you include the IM window in the book, or start showing the discussions that were actually online, they don’t flow. I think Brian’s stylistic choice works here because there is a difference between the way people speak, the way they speak online and the language of the author’s description.

Jodi Schneider

Briggs, Raymond. The Snowman. New York: Random House, 1978.


Upon first glance at The Snowman I did not see the significance of technology. However, after a closer look I began to notice that although the technology does not have a major role in the storyline, it does hold significance. The Snowman is a picture book, illustrating a tale about a snowman that comes to life. The pictures illustrate the adventures which the snowman and the boy who created him go on. The snowman is fascinated by lights and other technological innovations such as television and cars. This might not seem significant at first; however the book was published in 1978. I found this to be interesting because I would have expected it to be a much more recent publication. We are now in the technological age, however when The Snowman was published, technology was not nearly as big of a focus. I find it significant that the things which The Snowman finds entertaining are greatly technologically based. I think that the fascination with technology might be symbolic for the era which the story was written in. It shows a greater appreciation for what we now consider mundane objects such as cars and television sets. However, when this story was written those objects were just beginning to become common to nearly every household. By the late 70's and early 80's nearly every house had a television set, however growing up those people did not necessarily have those luxuries. I think that this story is significant because it reminds us that technology has not always been at our fingertips as it is today.


Daniel Goldin - Simon, Seymour. Einstein Anderson, Science Detective - The Online Spaceman and Other Cases. New York: Avon Books, 1997.


Einstein Anderson is a child genius. This book is a collection of short stories in which Einstein Anderson uses his reasoning skills to solve a mystery. The first mystery in this book is the On-line spaceman. Einstein is very smart and actually hangs out with another nerd that is twice his age, his name is Stanley. The two nerds try to do scientific things together. Einstein goes to Stanley's house where there is a small 'labaratory' with a computer. Stanley has apparently found an extraterrestrial that has crash landed on Earth and needs money to fix his spaceship. This alein posted this infro on a website that Stanley found. Einstein sees the website and realizes that it is a hoax.


The use of the computer is fundemental to this story. Without the computer, the story couldn't exist. I think the author included computers because he knows a large amount of his audience his computer savy. The computer definitely enhances the story because going online and finding this info seems a lot cooler to the reader than if the characters merely found it in a newspaper.



Crystal Frawley – The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV


Berenstain, Stan and Jan. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV. New York: Random House, 1984.


The Berenstain Bears books are a set of books where each individual book normally teaches a lesson or discusses an issue that children may have to deal with. The medium used in my book is television. It is not just randomly thrown into the story, the text as a whole deals with the issue of the family watching too much television. Mama Bear begins to notice that all her two children do is come home from school and run to the TV. Even when Papa Bear comes home from his shop he is immediately glued to the television. As a result, Mama Bear decides that the family is not going to watch any television for a week. Instead, the family talks amongst one-another, the children play outside and ride bikes, they go on nature walks, and go shopping at the mall. One night, the whole family even goes outside to watch the stars come out and they decide that it was “more special than anything they’d ever seen on TV” and a “much bigger screen.” By the end of the week, the family doesn’t even feel the need to watch as much TV as they had previously. Mama Bear’s idea worked.

I think the author decided to discuss the issue of watching too much television because many people are guilty of this, adults and children alike. I think it was great how the book showed all the different activities that the bears had been missing out on because they had been so distracted from television because those activities are a lot of fun too. The medium (television) made the story, so it definitely does not distract the reader.


Alejandra Klorig

Goldschmidt, Judy. The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez. 2005. New York: Penguin Group


The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez, is of course a book about the very same thing. Raisin is a (soon-to-be) seventh grader who just moved from Berkley, CA to Philadelphia, PA. She moved because her mother and father got a divorce and her mother remarried. Raisin's parents decided that she would move with her mom, little sister Lola and her new step-family; Horace, Samantha (Horace's daughter) and Countess (Sam's "female" poodle) and start the seventh grade in a new school. She was upset that she had to leave her two best friends, Claudia and Pia so she decided to start a secret blog to keep them informed (since her new, older stepsister always was on the phone). This seemed like a good idea. Pia and Claudia were able to read her every thought and be a part of her new life and even comment on things she wrote, and she wrote everything! She wrote all her secrets and even everyone else's secrets in the blog, after all she never thought that anyone would discover them. Mainly she wrote about her quest to become friends with the popular girls, her crush on a quiet boy in her class, getting her period...ect. ect. One day though she forgot to log out of her blog from the computer lab as she was hurrying to class and someone found it. What did this awful little seventh grade boy do? Well he printed off copies and distributed them around her school and everyone was able to read her(and other's) secrets. This did not go over well but eventually things worked themselves out. The book is formatted entirely in blog entry style. There is the date and time and then her blog and if her friends respond their responses are in bold after their screen names. I did not find this format hard to read and at times it was funny because Raisin would sometimes log in more than once in a span of ten minutes with different thoughts about what she had just written. It was a bit unrealistic though that she would use her blog as the only way of communicating with her friends and as they got used to responding they even would wait to share something that had happened to them until they could write it on the blog for the other two.

Jeff Biezunski

Carrick, Carol. Patrick's Dinosaurs on the Internet. 1999. New York: Clarion Books


Patrick’s Dinosaurs on the Internet is a tale of a young boy Patrick who clicks on an Internet link that leads him into a chat with a dinosaur in space. In the prequel to this book Patrick’s dinosaurs left him on a spaceship and now he has found them. While Patrick’s brother falls asleep, Patrick cannot as he is captivated by the chat. Soon a dinosaur appears on the screen and tells Patrick he will come see him soon. Sure enough, a spaceship arrives at Patrick’s house to pick him up. Patrick is taken away to a new land and lives among his large friends for a short time. While there, Patrick engages in fun activities such as a soccer game and also responds to questions about dinosaurs. Eventually, a t-rex comes and ruins the fun as Patrick is rushed home in the spaceship. The internet medium is introduced almost immediately as young Patrick is searching the web for information on dinosaurs. Although the internet is not in the story for long it is quite critical because without it Patrick would never have found his dinosaurs and been able to spend some time with them. I think the author chose this reference to show how powerful the internet can be as a research tool and how helpful it is. Also, it shows that people from the entire world can link up together and share information at high speeds. I suppose the appearance of the internet enhances the story as it allows Patrick to explore a whole new world and encounter a journey that would have otherwise been impossible.

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