Caribu lets adults and children read storybooks together from a distance, like a hybrid of Kindle and FaceTime. Best for children aged 0–7 and long distance parents or grandparents, Caribu has video chat and screen sharing capabilities, as well as a collection of digital storybooks and activities built into its app-based platform.
Caribu definitely fills a need for faraway parents or other loved ones to share stories and activities together. Not only is Caribu a useful tool to ensure children are getting their recommended daily reading in, but it also provides a great way for long distance relatives to spend quality time with their loved ones.
The app contains almost 200 books, a good number of which have been adapted from fairy tales and nursery rhymes, with publication, author, and age range information available for each. The library selection includes bilingual books in Spanish, French, and Chinese, which could be particularly helpful for multilingual families and older generations who want to communicate in their native language with younger ones. In addition to storybooks, Caribu also contains a selection of activity books that users can work through together, each able to see the changes the other has made on their own screen. These include books for drawing, writing letters and numbers, and sounding out words.
The selection of books could include more recognizable titles. The most well-known author included (and the only one I knew) was Beatrix Potter. Caribu might appeal to a wider audience if it included more books that children recognize, or if users could sync the app to their Kindle or other eReader and view purchased books on it. These suggestions would not only increase reading enjoyment, but would also make the pricing model more practical (currently $7 a month).
Caribu could also be improved if its search functions were more dynamic. While the app groups stories together by category, it would be helpful to search for books by title or age range as well.
Caribu is a great platform for children and their long distance loved ones to bond from afar in a meaningful, educational way. While the price and book selection could dissuade some users, the benefits outweigh the cons for families looking to read and connect while separated for substantial amounts of time.Image: via Caribu