Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Digital (and Portable) Olivia

©2011 Chorion via Kidscreen

I've been reading a lot of news (in the media industry press) about Olivia lately, some of which is pretty relevant to this week's readings/discussion. Recent (and upcoming) developments around Olivia-based e-books and multimedia "books" are of particular interest in this regard. Check it out:
Picture book character Olivia is headlining Simon & Schuster UK’s foray into the illustrated eBook space. Olivia, who last year had a number-one iPhone app, is the star of a new six-book launch with the Apple iBookstore.
Read more:
You can read additional details about the books and surrounding transmedia/cross-promotional campaign in an earlier Kidscreen article that came out back in Feb (here).

And/or read more about Olivia's first iPhone app, OLIVIA Paints, on the official iTunes site here (note the complaints in the customer review section), or by reading this very short review by Sara Haley (via the examiner).

©2011 SomaCreates Inc./Chorion

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hey everyone,
Just a heads up that the second annual InPlay conference held by Interactive Ontario is going to be held on May 17th and 18th, 2011 in Toronto. This is the description on their website (

"INplay is a unique, international event that connects kids creative industries with insights and opportunities in the interactive space.

From the video game business to the broadcast industry, from toys to toons, the INplay conference brings together leaders in the kids space to learn, network and be inspired by the future of kids interactive digital media.

The conference will feature 3 major streams each covering a different dimension of working with properties for kids aged 2-12:

• Inspiration - creativity and content stream
• Investment - business stream
• Insights - research and e-learning stream

Over two days in downtown Toronto, the INplay conference will feature presentations, panel discussions, case studies, technology ‘show and tells’, keynotes and a good dose of fun!"

It is pretty expensive to register, but easy to volunteer if you want to meet some people, gain new insights, and get in for free. I signed up as a volunteer last year, but I had to cancel my shift at the last minute because I was offered a summer position which didn't match up well with the time of the conference. I hope to get to attend as a volunteer this year!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Interesting Read

Orenstein, P. (2011). Cinderella ate my daughter: Dispatches from the front lines of the new girlie-girl culture. New York: HarperCollins.

I just finished reading Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girly-Girl Culture, after our classmate Jackie Flowers brought it to my attention. I thought this was a good place to discuss it briefly since it covered many topics from our class. The book was published this year (2011), so the examples are very current, and the recent statistics are intense.

Orenstein’s prose strikes a seamless balance between academic and anecdotal. Her authority as a scholar is often complicated and problematized by her position as a mother of a young girl. This really adds to the appeal of the book, as she never preaches an “Answer” but offers a variety of suggestions, research, and profit margins to inform. The topics are varied, but all come back to the issue of raising strong, confident females in an age where princess culture abounds. The book is incredibly readable, covering everything from Bettelheim to Barbie, restricting website coding to toy store colour coding. I was really interested by some of the phenomena I had not heard of yet, like “new” Dora. -->

University of Toronto Libraries doesn’t have this book in the catalogue yet, but here is a link to Orenstein’s 1994 book, Schoolgirls: young women, self-esteem, and the confidence gap.

The Toronto Public Library has 17 copies on order but there are 105 holds already.

**I got the book cover photo on and the Dora photo on