Melissa Northway

We provide app and book reviews as well as feature individuals, companies and products in the tech & book industry. I am a children's picture book author and mom. Lilsugar of Popsugar chose my storybook, Penelope the Purple Pirate, as a...

melissa is a winner of Top 25 Tech Moms - 2013

What's your favorite kid-friendly app?

Over the past year I have reviewed quite a number of apps so it is hard to pinpoint just one! Of course, I am bias to my own storybook apps - Penelope the Purple Pirate and Gerry the Giraffe - but I really enjoy the apps that developer's Toca Boca, PicPocket Books, and Oceanhouse Media put out. They all offer something unique. PicPocket Books has a huge selection of storybook apps, Toca Boca have such great games and Oceanhouse Media offers many of the classic tales such as Dr. Seuss and The Bernstain Bears. We also love anything to do with pirates and/or treasure hunting so we are fans of Treasure Kai and The Day I Became a Pirate.

What tips would you give a mom who wants to become more tech savvy?

I always tell my friends who claim to not be very tech savvy that I started in this industry over 2 years ago not really understanding the whole app business and have had a huge learning curve since then! I claim that if I can learn about it - they can! There are so many great sites out there that provide updates on the newest technology, apps and eBooks. All you have to do is google certain topics about the Tech Industry and you will be a well-informed parent. You've got to love the ability of having so much information at our fingertips via the Internet!

What's the most innovative gadget for children you've seen?

I think for our family and for many families, the iPad has opened wide so many doors. My six year old can't believe it when I tell her that I didn't grow up with an iPad or even iPhone. As with many young children today, they have grown up with these devices that have provided them with many opportunities to learn so much more than what we were exposed to. It really is mind-boggling to think what the iPad has done for many families. I have heard first-hand from families with special needs children that the iPad changed their lives and heard from one woman how it gave her child a voice. That is pretty powerful!

Can you suggest a fun summer activity like berry picking that helps kids learn where food comes from? Please link to a picture we can use if you have one.

Melissa Northway

Through her preschool last year we went to the local strawberry farm. We rode in a wagon and they went from patch to patch where various vegetables were being grown such as fresh carrots, onions, and of course strawberries! What was so wonderful is that the entire wagon filled with preschoolers were able to taste these fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the ground (after being cleaned off in a bucket of fresh water), but it really honed in to the kids where food comes from and how it is grown.
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