The Internet of Mysterious Things is probably one of the nerdiest children’s books. I like to say it’s a children’s book with a touch of technology because you can tap on the hidden creatures on each page to launch more information about the story.
I’m Lisa Seacat DeLuca and I’m an inventor and software engineer. As a parent, I am constantly reminding myself (and my husband) to put down our phones to give our children our full attention. Sometimes I feel like we’re missing out on life because we’re consumed with our digital lives. The idea for my second children’s book was born.
The Internet of Mysterious Things.
The story uses mysterious creatures to explain common technologies we use in our everyday lives. Press an app to turn on a light on, it’s really a leprechaun dashing across the wall. Ask a question to a personal agent, and it’s answered by a tiny fairy inside, a wearable activity tracker counts steps with the help of an alien hovering nearby. Coffee is brewed by a colorful dragon, and an invisible man helps to warm up our homes. The story ends by giving us a glimpse into the future and encouraging everyone to look up from our devices so we don’t miss out on these amazing creatures right in front of our eyes.
But not all children are satisfied with this answer to questions like “how do things work?” or my children’s favorite… “but WHY?” Which is why I included the NFC tags. Tap the page, and more information about each technology launches. You choose as a parent how deep you want to dive with your child. And because the content is on the internet, the book becomes a living thing. As technologies evolve, the content will too.
I’m so excited to share with you my book. Even though it seems counterintuitive, it has helped our family use technology to bring us closer while satisfying the curiosity of even the most curious young readers.
I'm excited to announce that the companion Amazon Alexa Skill for parents is now available on the Amazon Alexa Skill store. If you have an echo device, simply say "Alexa, enable the Internet of Mysterious Things skill".
You can hear the story by asking Alexa to read the book and even keep up with how this Kickstarter is doing by saying "Kickstarter".
The talented Adam Record illustrated The Internet of Mysterious Things and Constantine Petkun helped bring the art to life with his animations. The book itself features 26 pages (13 spreads) in full color as a hardcover book. Ten of the pages include a hidden "creature" that can be tapped to launch a website that includes an animated version of the page along with additional information about the technology.
Please head over to http://internetofmysteriousthings.com to view the artwork and animations.
Lisa Seacat DeLuca
Author Lisa is a technology strategist and the most prolific female inventor at IBM, having filed over 600 patent applications. She was named in the list of the 25 Most Influential Women in IoT. She's an MIT 35 Under 35, Fast Company 100 Most Creative People, LinkedIn NextWave, and a TED speaker. This is Lisa's second self-published book. The first, A Robot Story: Learn to Count to Ten in Binary, was funded through Kickstarter in 2013.
Illustrator Adam Record is an illustrator and designer from sunny Southern Utah. He's been professionally illustrating for over 10 years and has 3 amazing kids and a spectacular wife! Record, has illustrated over 50 children's books and has worked with companies like Disney, Fisher Price, Chick Fil A, Scholastic, Penguin Books, Harper Collins and more. Lisa found Adam because he also happens to be the Illustrator for Lisa's sister's book, Even Superheroes Have to Sleep (coming to bookstores in 2017).
Animator Constantine Petkun is an incredibly talented freelance illustrator and animator from Latvia. He was the illustrator for Lisa's first children's book, A Robot Story. His characters have been described as "quirky", "cute" and "whimsical". He is passionate about character design.
I've decided to bundle my first self-published book, A Robot Story: Learn to Count to Ten in Binary, in a few of the reward levels. It was printed thanks to the pledges from my first Kickstarter campaign ran in 2013 (Thank you previous backers!!).
The book includes 10 Near Field Communication (NFC) tags. The tags are 25mm round with adhesive backing, a 13.56 MHz frequency, NTAG213, and custom printed on the front to blend in as a hidden creature on each page. Yes, that means I'll be manually putting ten stickers on each book!
Each tag is encoded with a URL, that when tapped, will launch a website with more information about the page it was on. Each page goes into more details about how the technology works and more fun facts. As a parent, you choose how deep you want to dive with your children. The best part is the content can change as the technology evolves.
You must have an NFC-enabled device to scan the NFC tags. Keep in mind that Apple has not yet opened up support for developers to their NFC apis. Only Android devices will be able to read the NFC tags. However, the main website for The Internet of Mysterious Things will link to each of the child pages. I've added a QR code that can be scanned from the dedication page that launches the main website. Once Apple can claim support, however, the tags will work by default. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they play nice soon!