Skybrary – Kids Books & Videos

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Skybrary – Kids Books & Videos App Poster Image
Classic reborn as fee-based e-library with great selection.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the joys of reading -- in an encouraging and nurturing environment.There's a wide selection of books to appeal to a variety of interests as well as videos that will also appeal to a wide audience. There are imperfections (such as the app not highlighting words as they're read aloud by the narrator), but those can be corrected. 

Ease of Play

The app offers a small library of books to users broken down into categories that are easy for kids to grasp. Video and other extras are easily accessible, and there are well-done tutorials scattered throughout the app to explain how to use features. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

The app is free and comes with a free one-month trial, but to truly experience all the books (and upcoming promised additions) it has to offer, users must pay $4.99 per month for a recurring subscription or $39.99 for a one-year subscription. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary is an app (and a site) that offers a library of books to users, themed according to a child's interests (action adventures, magical tales, etc.). Kids can choose to have a book read aloud to them or to read the book themselves. To use it beyond the one-month free trial, however, you'll have to subscribe to the app: about $5 for one month, or $40 for a year -- all on a recurring basis. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4-year-old Written byMamakeleeh April 10, 2014

My impression of Reading Rainbow

Reading Rainbow offers a large variety of book in different subjects for different age groups for a subscription price of $9.99 a month or 6 months for $ 29.99... Continue reading
Adult Written byfamilybusyness October 17, 2018

content is decent, but cancelling is a nightmare

the online book library was fairly good and the interface was easy to use on a laptop and on our ipads. unfortunately, our kinds weren't very interested... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

With LEVAR BURTON KIDS SKYBRARY, children can select up to five ebooks at any time (from a library of more than 300 titles) to keep in their app's backpack. As with most ebooks, kids can read the books themselves or have them read by a narrator. Books are categorized by a series of floating islands, which have a sliding list of titles. Finishing a book earns kids a sticker reward. The app also features mini-films covering a wide range of educational topics, and has a dashboard to help parents track what their kid is reading (and the time spent on each book).

Is it any good?

This app is a nostalgic touchstone for many of today's parents, so there's bound to be some concerns that the app can't live up to the landmark television program. In this case, those fears are unfounded, as LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary keeps the focus strictly on education and the joy of learning. Host LeVar Burton returns as a guide through the app, but lets the books and the users be the star. And the promised future enhancements, such as the "book report" feature that played heavily in the show, are another reason to get excited. Stickers help keep kids motivated, and parents can monitor how often their kids use the app.

There are a few downsides. First, the monthly subscription fee is steep. Given the large collection of books available, it's not unreasonable, but it will be a deterrent to some. Second, we'd like to see more interest areas to choose from when setting up profiles -- some kids will struggle to select three of the presented topics. And finally, we'd like to see the narration highlight words as they're read, but that's a minor quibble.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents can talk about the different subjects of each episode in LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary -- and use them as launching points for trips to the library or real-world locations.

  • Ask kids which stories they enjoy most, and find out why. Does the app make them more interested in reading?

  • Check out Reading Rainbow DVDs at your local library. How is reading a story different from watching it? How often do the images match the pictures you made in your mind while reading?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (one month free trial, then $4.99/month or $39.99/year)
  • Release date: June 19, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 174.00 MB
  • Publisher: RRKidz, Inc.
  • Version: 1.01
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 3.0 and up
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to read and tell stories

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