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  • Writer's pictureBethPollak

Current Project: Caribu!

Since April 2020, I have been working with an amazing family reading app called Caribu! Caribu is an app for families to read, play and draw together in an interactive video-call. It's an incredible tool for relatives and friends to connect from a distance with their loved ones, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. For grandparents and grandchildren especially, it offers a chance to disrupt isolation and maintain meaningful family relationships.

I personally have enjoyed a number of magical Caribu calls with my niece and nephew, and we've had a lot of fun reading books, coloring and doing word searches together! There are also video read-alouds, games, drawing pages, and other puzzles in the app.

In April, I began to manage the Caribu blog, writing and reposting articles about literacy, parenting, publishing, education and family topics to engage our users. I also began to assist with additional writing projects for the company, providing support for website and in-app editorial content, and occasional PR projects.

In June, I worked with the Caribu team to create the app's Summer Reading Challenge: #CampCaribu! It's the world’s first summer reading program that you can experience together with friends and family members in a video-call.

We launched our first week with 'Courageous Conversations,' featuring books and activities with anti-racist themes and topics for discussion. We have followed up each week since then with a weekly book and activity selection of interest to kids and families, from 'Animal Adventures' and 'Best Friends' to 'Magical Tales' and 'Superhero Week.'

Throughout #CampCaribu, I've had the chance to interview authors, illustrators, and organizations to learn how they developed children's books that brought powerful stories to life. I've enjoyed speaking with Jesse Byrd Jr., Lisa Bowes, B.K. Fulton, Kent Yoshimura, Richard Van Camp and Julie Flett. During Marine Mammal Week, I spoke with with experts at the South Carolina Aquarium and the Marine Mammal Center. For #CampCaribu's Dinosaur Day, I wrote about dinosaur discoveries and exhibits in Los Angeles, Chicago, Australia and Canada.

As summer winds to a close and schools prepare for a new academic reality, Caribu is launching a program to support teachers with free and unlimited access to its library of 1000s of titles. Teachers can now create their own accounts and share the books with their students in online lessons using Zoom and other video platforms. Please spread the word to educators so they can sign up and take advantage of this wonderful tool.

If you do not yet have the Caribu app, you can download it here to your tablet or phone. Follow the Caribu blog to see my stories, or check out my Twitter Account where I will post some of my favorite writing pieces. You can also follow Caribu's Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds to find out what's new!

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