The world of augmented reality education books is well-established by this point, and it’s abundantly clear that kids love them. Seeing their favorite characters spring into motion is a magical moment to the young reader, and kids simply can’t get enough of it.
One of the greatest things about kids’ books as a business is that there is always, always room for more. Children need a constant influx of new titles, and parents are always willing to try something new.
Below, we’ve compiled 11 of the best AR educational books to recently hit stores. Whether you’re shopping for yourself and your family, or researching for your own venture, these titles are a great place to start.
The Dragon Brothers (series)
Link: Amazon (book 1)
The Dragon Brothers, comprised of The Dragon Hunters, The Dragon Tamers, and The Dragon Riders, is a high fantasy series for children aged 4-8 years. In a media world saturated with fantasy novels and movies for older kids, it’s refreshing to see a quality, well-written series for very young readers.
The best part of Flynn and Paddy’s adventures is the magical map included with each volume. Use the AR Reads app on Android or Apple devices, and the book leaps into motion with flying dragons, swirling seas, and more. It brings the books to life, sparking the imagination of the reader without overpowering them with stimuli.
Curious Pearl Identifies the Reason for Seasons
Another series, Curious Pearl, Science Girl is a great callback to the classic Magic School Bus. In each book, girl genius Pearl explores another aspect of science, from physics to animal behavior and more. In the latest edition, Pearl learns all about the seasons and how they affect everything from the weather to when the sun rises and sets.
The books are built on the existing Capstone 4D platform, giving readers access to videos and AR objects on multiple pages. AR is a great learning tool, and Curious Pearl represents a genuinely great implementation of the concepts pioneered in other augmented reality education books. It’s iterative, not transformative, but it deserves a place in any parent’s library.
An Elephant in our Garden
This adorable educational storybook features Isabella as she investigates what kind of animal is eating her father’s vegetable garden. She wonders if it’s a penguin, a bear, and so on, before deciding it must have been an elephant. As she thinks about each animal, the reader learns about their habitat and behavior.
Several pages in the book are enhanced with AR drawings that come to life when viewed through an Android or Apple device. They’re strategically placed to keep readers’ interest, making a splash without stealing the spotlight from the words and art.
iStorm: Wild Weather and Other Forces of Nature brings its AR features front and center, more so than other books on this list. A collection of natural disasters ranging from tornados to volcanos, floods, and avalanches, each one can be animated and explored through augmented reality.
Although light on information, iStorm is big on spectacle. The graphics and effects are extremely impressive, and young readers are sure to get a thrill out of seeing a tornado ripping across their table or desk.
World of Dinosaurs
Targeted at young children and banking on their near-universal fascination with dinosaurs, World of Dinosaurs features 30 pages full of everything from the Stegosaurus to Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Ten of the illustrations come to life with the help of an augmented reality app, available for Apple and Android. An animated dinosaur springs out of the page and hovers in mid-air, letting kids move around to view it from any angle.
Kids’ books full of dinosaurs are a dime a dozen, but few of them integrate high-tech features like AR. Author Leszek Tomczakowski has ensured that his book will stand out from the rest in a very crowded market, making in a splash in school, at home, and anywhere else children read to learn.
ARBI and the Fire Breathing Dragon
ARBI is a real treasure among augmented reality education books. It’s a great story with a strong central character and message. The AR is used to enhance the essential quality of the book, rather than as a crutch or to substitute for bad writing.
ARBI and the Fire Breathing Dragon is only one of a series of ARBI books, all of which take place in a gentle fantasy world where talking dogs and cats live alongside knights and wizards. Using an Apple or Android device, all of these characters dance and run across the page.
The attention to detail has earned the books rave reviews from parents, kids, and EdTech experts alike, all of whom say ARBI is leading the charge in this exciting new market.
Ernie’s Wish Trail
Voted one of the top 8 augmented reality children’s books of 2017, Ernie’s Wish Trail tells a sweet story and makes excellent use of the latest tech. Kids love reading about Ernie’s journey as he strive to become someone else, only to finally realize that he’s perfect the way he is.
The AR features, available through Apple and Android mobile devices, is a step above many of the book’s competitors. Going beyond simple animations and 3D models, Ernie’s Wish Trail is packed with minigames and true interactive elements. Readers can change the color of flowers by tapping them, earn accolades by counting pinecones, and more. Nearly every page has a new AR element, ensuring kids will be along for the whole ride.
ABC Animals Alphabet in Motion
The time-honored alphabet book gets an upgrade with ABC Animals in Motion. Students are becoming tech-savvy from a very young age these days, and educators can use that to enhance their early learning experiences both at home and in a classroom setting.
This book features beautiful animal illustrations to go with each letter, and they come to life when viewed through an Android or Apple device. Unlike similar books, ABC Animals Alphabet in Motion goes the extra mile and includes facts and knowledge about the animals, helping children take in a little information about animals while they learn the alphabet.
Bugs: Interact with Augmented Reality Creepy Crawlies
With Bugs, aspiring entomologists can satisfy all their insect curiosities without bringing a single cricket or beetle into the house. The book features 11 insects, any of which can be animated using the free Apple or Android apps. The included bugs tend towards the exotic, from the Giant Wetapunga Cricket to the Goliath tarantula.
What the book lacks in scope, it makes up for in detail. The bugs that are featured can be examined up close, viewed at life-size or scaled up, and come with exhaustive profiles that teach kids about their diet, habitat, and behavior.
Horrible Hauntings: An Augmented Reality Collection of Ghosts and Ghouls
History comes alive in this innovative book that uses augmented reality to insert interactions and minigames into famous ghost stories. Using an Apple or Android device, images rise above the book in a suitably spooky style, inviting readers to play ball with the ghosts of children killed by Richard III, dodge the Headless Horseman’s charge, or cringe in fear from a pack of spectral hounds.
Each page comes complete with moody music and startling sound effects. Best of all, there’s no indication of what will happen when you turn on the app. The pages that include the animations look like empty hallways and castles, until app reveals the hidden specters.
And finally, there’s Goodnight Lad: An Augmented Reality Book. This is one of the early classics of this new genre. While it’s not exactly an educational book, it does instill the kind of lifelong love of reading that every child needs.
The story of the little boy who simply will not go to sleep no matter how hard his parents try to tire him out will ring true in any family, and the AR animations, objects, and interactions that fill each page will help keep young minds engaged. At least, until they finally go to sleep themselves, dreaming about tiny cars, monsters, and kings.
The Publishing Parade Continues
Budding authors and tech entrepreneurs alike should pay close attention to AR, especially now that the barrier to entry is so low. New SDKs from Apple and Google have made it feasible for any size company to enter the AR space, especially with the help of affordable outsourced development houses.
And most importantly, the kids really do love it. There’s no reason not to include AR in any new children’s book.