Bookaroo! Share Kids Stories

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Bookaroo! Share Kids Stories App Poster Image
Record your reading to share, but preview stories first.

Parents say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

If kids read, they can practice their reading skills. If they make up their own narrative, they'll stretch their imagination and express themselves through story characters. Sharing stories with family and friends can also be a valuable bonding experience and encourage an appreciation for books.

Ease of Play

Setting up stories to share requires a few steps that may be confusing at first. Once users get the hang of it all, reading, recording, and sharing stories is a pretty smooth process.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language

At least one story is entirely about poop.

Consumerism

To fully use the app's features, multiple users need to have their own paid subscription. Some digital books also include a link to purchase a hard copy.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bookaroo! Share Kids Stories is a subscription-based digital library that allows kids and other family members to record their voices reading stories. All of the digital picture books are original works made for the app and span a range of early reading levels. Parents may want to preview stories before sharing with their kids. Though there's nothing of major concern, some parents may find some stories not quite right for their kids, such as the story about the black widow spider who eats her "husband." There's also a story about poop. Parents must provide an email address and create an account to access the app. None of the app's content is available without a subscription. Users can record stories with multiple people -- such as far-away relatives -- though anyone recording on a separate device will also need their own subscription. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

After signing up for an account and a subscription, users can create user profiles and browse through the stories in BOOKAROO! SHARE KIDS STORIES. Stories are organized by reading level; tap on one to preview it or add it to your bookshelf. Once a story is in your bookshelf, it's ready for you to record your voice. Start by assigning user profiles to each of the story's characters. "Guest" readers (e.g., Grandpa using the app from his own device) can be invited to join your book club using a special code, and then you can assign them a reading role. Tap and hold Record as you read your lines, or make up your own. Once finished, kids can replay the story.

Is it any good?

This digital library makes it easy to record keepsake stories with the voices of kids' loved ones, near and far -- though the quality of those stories varies greatly. It takes a little poking around at first, but once everyone gets the hang of it, it's a lot of fun getting different family and friends together to record their voices reading stories. And kids will treasure being able to listen to the voices of people they know reading to them. Both prereaders and kids who know how to read can also contribute their voice reading words or making up their own.

One major downside is that to get everyone on board, each user with their own device needs to also have their own subscription, which could get pricey. At the time of this review, the library was pretty limited, and some stories were more than a little odd. Some may find the stories about the male seahorse struggling through a pregnancy, the dung beetle on a date, or the black widow spider that eats her husband funny. Others might be turned off. On the other hand, the open-ended stories that leave space for readers to fill in the gaps with their own words is a nice way to encourage everyone to get creative.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the stories in Bookaroo! Share Kids Stories. Which ones do you like best? Why? Which would you like to share with family and friends?

  • Read the open-ended stories and encourage kids to get creative as they fill in narration and dialogue.

  • Is it appealing to listen to stories read by people you love? Why or why not? What's it like to read a story together?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reading and co-use apps

Themes & Topics

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