12 Huia Birds by Yoozoo Limited is an amazing interactive storybook that centers on the Huia Bird and its gradual extinction from New Zealand. It is rich in the culture and history of the land of New Zealand, and can even be listened to in the lyrical Maori native language. The story progresses through a child’s interaction with the elements on each page. Learning to refine their ability to target, point, and follow directions is part of the process. Each page displays the results of human inhabitation and its consequences. Tip: as a teacher, parent, or clinician avoid any frustration by making sure you review and play before handing the story to a child so you know how to proceed through the story. Chances are, however, the child will show you if you both should be stuck! This is a story to read and play with Bluebee, as not only does it address how recklessness may impart consequences, but also sounds out the importance of our precious resources. Dogs, cats, and rats, as well as humans, prey upon the beautiful and Royal Huia Birds with dire consequences. After the story, the app provides interactive features to learn more about the Huia Bird. You can get up close with a 3D surround of a Huia, read more about the Huia in the Field Guide, Play Games, and learn 12 ways that you can help birds. Giving kids the tools they need to help will provide the future generation with a sense of how to be responsible and respect others. And that is one of the most valuable lessons of all.
I love how this story conveys a sense of space with its environmental sounds. The sounds convey a sense of the here and now by scaffolding the sound all around. And by doing so, this teaches young children the sense of personal space, near space, and space that is far away. These are important spatial constructs that kids need for both being able to attend to their environments, but also to learn to habituate and filter extraneous sounds. It is also what gives the environment form and keeps us safe. For children that are particularly auditory sensitive, having a variety of sounds coming from Bluebee may be comforting as he/she speaks in a deliberate (albeit-straight from the book) way. For if you are stressed, there’s nothing like a story and a friend to hug you tight.