Night or Day? is an interactive iPad book with a powerful and impacting message. Night or Day? is based on the historical accounts of a 12-year-old Jewish girl named Edith. Rejected, confused and uncertain about a changing world she has no control over, Edith travels alone from Nazi Germany in 1938 to her new American home, where she is greeted with much of the same.
The Night or Day? story is based on the real life events of Edith Westerfeld Schumer, the main character of this compelling story. This iPad Books app is an edited version of the award-winning Is It Night or Day? novel written by Edith’s daughter, Fern Schumer Chapman. The main topics in this interactive book cover the Holocaust experience, experience as an immigrant, and bullying.
This interactive iPad book is different from most other books I’ve come across, but somewhat similar in educational style as the Disneys American Presidents, Education app. Night or Day? has a unique learning format and has been dubbed “Literactivity.” This app is an excellent educational learning tool, especially good for teachers, and as a classroom discussion topic. In addition to this iPad app, there is web version available for anyone with a browser. Night or Day? combines many forms of interactive media to deliver an intelligent, engaging and interesting learning experience.
Readers will have an opportunity to watch short video clips on each page of the story. These opportunities (Author’s Notes, Edith’s Memories) add more insight into the simplified version of the original book. Readers will hear Fern’s perspective, as well as Edith speak in her own words about her memories. The interview format of question and answer add to the realism of events. There are even professionally narrated case study questions that provide thought-provoking moral questions, scenarios and responses for critical thinking by the reader (Case Studies).
Night or Day? not only has a worthwhile story to tell, but there are other things to like about this educational book as well. The nostalgic paper doll graphics are appropriate for the era and add a touch of whimsy to the heartbreaking storyline. The music is moving. The animations are interesting and also add a touch of whimsy at times. On many pages you can tap on the paper doll character to hear his or her expected response, or tap the twinkling stars to see an animation. The female narrator is professional and pleasant to listen to. Simply stop and start narration with a button in upper left. But once you stop audio narration it replays from the beginning of that page.
Night or Day? is a wonderful and educational iPad book, but there are a few things that could be improved. The audio quality of the recorded video (with the interviewer and author, and the interviewer and Edith) could be better quality, and is hard to hear at times. Unfortunately, my user experience with this iPad app wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I did experience the app closing on me repeatedly when I tried to activate the different interactions, and had to reopen the app.
However, when I just listened to the story and swiped pages, things worked fine. The “bugginess” of the app is a shame because the story and content are so worthy of a download. The Night or Day? iPad app is free right now for a limited time, so if you’re looking for an intelligent and thought provoking book (for older kids), you and your kids may want to check this iPad app out. It’s still relevant to today’s social issues.