Caribu (free for iOS) is a video-calling app that allows parents and kids to read picture books together, even if they are miles apart. It came about after four university students saw a viral picture in 2012 of a soldier trying to use the webcam on his computer and a physical book to read his child a story.
To get started, you set up an account, and you can invite people to join. Video calls can then start – there is a screen for each participant, plus a bookshelf with books. The apps comes with a free book, after which each one costs around $1.99.
What the developers say
*Caribu requires iOS 7 or later**
• 1 FREE book to get you started
• More books available to purchase in our store
• A shared pointer allows you to follow the story together
• Synchronised page turning
• Video-only mode
• Offline reading: read the books when you’re together
This app is like the storytelling version of Skype and Facetime, and it’s easy to use. I love that you can see kids’ reactions while you’re reading to them – I think it might take a while for them to get familiar with the concept, unless they’re versed in Skype or Facetime. Although the cost of each book can add up, there’s a good selection, and the titles were all new to me – I particularly liked The Fearsome Beastie.