Interactive Fiction Storybooks for Kids

I am in the midst of creating an app library with Interactive Fiction storybooks for children. As a teacher, I have seen how much more engaged many of my third-grade students are when I present stories to them where they can make choices. I assume it makes it feel more like a game to them.

Would you like to -

  1. Share other perspectives about how the page layout should look. I locked into this kind of format from the beginning, but I know that there are probably better ways to do it.

Any suggestions would be hugely appreciated. (Ignore the icons around the edges.)


  1. Let me know if you think the attached map schematic could work to keep readers interested? When I grew up, I would just put my fingers in the pages and go back to them. But I realized that even ‘bookmarking’ pages to return to is going to take too long. So I thought maybe have an interactive progress map where they could just click and return to the pages/rooms where they can make other choices…

Thanks again! Progress Map Schematic

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It’s probably waaay outside the scope, but my kids have read books (including a VR experience ‘played’ through an iphone which my son really liked despite it being a very very obvious morality tale & ad from the company that made it) that had minor animations on the page, eg if you clicked on a tiger it would roar.

They could also click on any word and have it read back to them, which even in Year 3 would be great for those kids struggling with reading. (Other Year 3 kids are reading novels, I know.)

My oldest is in Year 3, with minor special needs (inattentive ADHD and autism). She instantly dismissed the map as “too complicated” because it looks complicated and overwhelming (she has played some of my “Fine Felines” game with my help). However, my son who is in Year 1 and a computer-game completionist (who also has autism, and it has caused him to be years ahead of his age group in maths, reading, and gaming) would love it, especially if shapes were filled in with colour to shows where he has and has not been.

excuse my poor language, not braining well today


Just my opinion here, but I dislike those with small fonts. Hard to read. I try to limit number of characters to 40 per line for easy reading, at least ever since I wear glasses.

40 characters per line is good advice (which reminds me that I need to supply a format option that actually does this in Budacanta).

Small fonts are useful if the game is expected to be played with noses close to the screen on a big monitor, but there should be the option to have larger fonts as well (I recommend allowing at least 32 point-text for the largest permitted size. Perhaps even 48 points if you think the teacher might run the game on a computer at the front with whole-class debate over which option to select). If your students are emerging readers, also consider having only 2 lines per box in 32-point mode - semi-fluent readers (Year 3 is the youngest year where that’s typical) will be able to handle the third line, but children who find reading itself a challenge may not. TV subtitles are a good source of guidance for this, because they’ve been wrestling with similar issues for a few decades.

Your font choice is good and I’m pleased to see you have good contrast between the font and background colours - you’d be amazed how many expensive games get that wrong.

I recommend putting the options and the main text on the same half of the screen, to reduce eyeline movement. In this instance, you can either move the text downwards and the background image’s focus area (those cute jaguars) upwards, or move the options upwards so they are under where the text is now, shifting the logo and navigation bar to the bottom of the screen. The former is the more common way of doing it, but the latter will require a lot less work from the “art department” (I suspect you’d be able to move elements without overlapping the jaguars). Make sure that change is consistent across your entire game, though most game construction engines these days will do so automatically.

Do you have an option that allows your students to switch between that mode and just looking at the background image? If so, I recommend documenting it somewhere the teacher can see it. They may want to use it if presenting to the class to show off that gorgeous artwork - and be aware of it for the students-exploring-by-themselves in case students spend too long staring at the pictures instead of reading the text.

I assume the numbers are references to page numbers, to make it feel more like a choose-your-adventure paper book. If so, that’s a good answer - and I’d advise documenting the official reason, because some teachers will get asked about it by curious students.

Unfortunately Google doesn’t like my computer, so I cannot advise on the progress map.

You have an attractive layout, so what I’m suggesting are tweaks rather than show-stopping matters. I hope your students enjoy the app you are creating for them!