Star-Bulletin Features

John Paul Arcayna and Sabrina Gibson, both 6, played with the "Record your Voice" book last week.

Audio book can read
its own tales

By Nancy Arcayna

Some young children feel insecure when separated from their parents. Others have questions about their great-grandparents or other relatives that have died. Now family members who are no longer part of the household can still maintain a presence. A new record-your-voice book allows an opportunity to create family heirlooms that may be passed from generation to generation.

Debra Giampapa Kirwan, author of "Oh, Please Help Me Save the Tree," intended to create a multipurpose book. "The story teaches children to count, share, care about each other and how to work together," she said. "The storyteller is promoting good manners and morals."

The story of Buford the Bull, Tom the Toad and friends is an enchanting account of all that we can accomplish through cooperation. Pressing buttons give voice to the text. A place for a photo of the storyteller and a special message button are also included. "The book is for the young and young at heart, ages 1 to 101," said Kirwan.

After studying the problem of illiteracy, Kirwan decided to develop a method that helps parents teach children to read by combining stories and audio technology.

"It's interactive, educational, developmental and fun," she said.

The audio technology is included in the book, so no cassette, CD or additional equipment is required to play or record a person's voice. Great-grandma can record her voice to create an heirloom that will last after she's gone.

"It's also great for divorced parents who may not be able to read to their children all the time," Kirwan said. Anxiety separation may also be lessened this way.

Grandparents who live in other states are buying the book so their grandchildren can hear their voices on a regular basis, she said.

"When a child learns to read, much more than just learning occurs: The child's horizons broaden, and the child is inspired to read more. A child's language skills and memory development improve, which also helps build self-esteem."

Books are available on the Web site; or call 888-FUN-WORD. Cost per book is $39.99.

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