Librarian-Selected Apps for Kids Ages 5-12

A young Darien Library patron using an iPad
A young Darien Library patron using an iPad

The Children's Library staff constantly comes across great apps for kids of all ages, and we realized that we usually only publicize our favorite Early Literacy Apps. There's a world of great apps available for older kids, and we would like to share our expertise and knowledge of educational (and fun!) iPad apps for kids ages 5-12. The list below is comprised of apps, games, and eBooks that we selected for their stellar content and unique presentation.

Non-Fiction Apps

These apps all feature factual content either in educational or game form.

Bobo Explores Light: For kids reluctant to learn about science or math, this app will open their eyes to a new world of amazing science concepts with humor and whimsy. Ages 8+

Stack the States: A matching game that teaches geography about the U.S. states and their capitals. Ages 8+

AstroApp: Space Shuttle Crew: For space enthusiasts yearning to learn more about NASA's space explorations from 1981 to the present. Ages 7+

Weird but True: Based on the popular section in National Geographic Kids magazine, this app features wacky facts and images that are sure to enthrall kids and adults alike. Ages 7+

BrainPop Jr. Movie of the Week: App features short videos on different topics (think: science, social studies, reading, writing, math, health, arts and technology) to help peak interest in the processes and theories that support them. Ages 5+

Journey into the Deep: For aspiring ocean explorers interested in learning about the ocean and it's varied inhabitants. Ages 10+

Khan Academy: A great app for all kids (K-12) interested in learning about any topic! App features over 3,200 videos on a variety of subjects. Ages 6+

Ultimate Dinopedia: Another National Geographic app, this time with a focus on dinosaurs. Be forewarned: some of the dinosaurs can be a tad scary! Ages 7+

Kronopedia - Visual Arts: This app offers a chronological timeline of when and where famous artists lived. A great supplement and aid for middle- and high-schoolers learning about art, history, or artists. Ages 12+

American Presidents for iPad: This app is a great source for older students learning about presidents and presidential history. Learn about each president's policies, history during their tenure, and also view a photo gallery associated with each. Ages 12+

Zachy the Robot: Quest for the Museum Treasures: While traveling the globe with robot pals, children will discover facts about minerals, fossils, and dinosaurs. Ages 6+

Britannica Kids Apps: The creator of the famous encyclopedia sets now has apps on Dinosaurs, Solar Systems, Knights & Castles, Rainforest, Egypt, Ancient Rome, Volcanoes, Snakes, Aztecs, and Endangered species. App: Over 2,000,000 definitions, synonyms, and antonyms in this dictionary/thesaurus, also includes audio pronunciation and word origins.

Barefoot World Atlas: World atlas that allows users to explore regions, people, and animals. Provides a rich experience in learning about the natural world, history, and general facts about earth. Kid-friendly illustrations and animation of a 3D globe.

Flashcards*: Create and share flashcards to help study for tests or prepare for presentations.  Cards can be organized.

Haiku Desk: Use this app to create simple slideshows. This app lets you search for copyright-free images and limits the amount of text per slide.

Brian Cox's Wonder of the Universe: Explore the universe from tiny particles to distant galaxies in 3D.  Includes hundreds of articles, images, and hours of video.

Puzzlemaster Deck: Brain teasers and word twisters created by NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. For kids who love a real challenge.

Creation Apps

This list includes apps that encourage creative play but are more advanced than the apps on our Early Literacy iPads.

Art in Motion: This is a standout amongst apps that bridge the technology and art gap. Users select from pre-chosen themes and swirl their fingers to edit and move imagery on the screen. Ages 5+

Pirate Scribblebeard's Treasure with Oscar and Josephine: This app is a hybrid book/creativity app. Kids read a story featuring Pirate Scribblebeard, but also get to contribute their own illustrations to the tale. Intuitive, easy, and fun, the app also supports development of fine motor skills. Ages 3+

Super Hero Comic Book Maker: Created by stand-out app studio Duck Duck Moose, this app allows users to make their own comic book heroes and comic book layouts. Ages 7+

Doodlecast for Kids: Kids who like to draw (or trace!) will enjoy this app, which records your voice as you create a drawing on the screen. Play back your video drawing, and even send it to an email address to share your creations. Ages 6+

Sock Puppets: Users pick out sock puppet characters and backgrounds, and record a story using their own voice. The app warps voices to make them sound funny. Friends can create hilarious conversations between themselves and their sock puppets. Ages 8+

Photogene: This app helps older kids edit, change, and merge photos. Great for kids interesting in photography and content creation. Ages 8+

Color Uncovered: Explore the world of color with this fun app that uses illusions created by the Exploratorium museum. Ages 8+

Pic Collage: Create collages, scrapbooks, and posters using photos, stickers, and text.  Easy to use.



A short list of some of our favorite games.

Bad Piggies: From the same creators of Angry Birds, this game allows users to make various crafts that enable the green piggies to accomplish goals like flying, jumping, or moving objects. Slightly more difficult and engaging than the original and beloved Angry Birds, but a great accompaniment app for older kids that love Angry Birds. Ages 7+

Wings Earth: A flight simulator that can be relaxing or challenging depending on settings. Great for car rides or long waits. Ages 5+

Highlights Hidden Pictures: Kids will love the app version of the classic hidden pictures puzzles from Highlights Magazine. Simple and satisfying gameplay. Ages 6+

Roxie's A-Maze-ing Vacation Adventure: This hybrid puzzle, maze, and look-and-search adventure will keep kids occupied and engaged for hours at a time. Similar to the beloved "Where's Waldo?" book series. Ages 6+

Left Right Pup: For kids learning the concept of left and right, this game will keep them on track and help to develop their concentration and focus. Ages 4+

Fiction eBooks

These eBook apps feature stories that are longer and more complex than our favorite storybook eBooks.

Grimm's Sleeping Beauty is an eBook app version of the classic fairy tale, shows readers a fresh new take on a familiar story. Princess enthusiasts and story-book readers alike will delight in this fun and explorative eBook app.

The Hugless Douglas eBook app (based on the book of the same name by David Melling) includes well-thought functions and discoverable features that will keep readers of all ages engaged and amused.

Bottom of the Ninth by Ryan Woodward: A truly amazing "never-seen-before" app of an interactive graphic novel which tells a baseball story set 200 years in the future. A must for all baseball fans! Ages 8+

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen: This retelling of the classic children's book deserves a nod on our list, simply because the interactive illustrations are astoundingly beautiful. Ages 9+

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce: An Oscar-winning short film and award-winning book, this app version intentionally blurs the line between picture books and animated films. Ages 7+

Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day by Amy de la Haye: Fashion-oriented readers and history buffs will greatly enjoy this book adventure, which features famed British museum the Victoria & Albert and it's selection of clothing and artifacts. Ages 7+

Do you have a great app recommendation? Let us know in the comments below or send us an email at

American Revolution

Here are a few books to help you when you are studying about the American Revolution!

Star Wars Reads Day Photos

We put Darth Vader to work at the Welcome Desk so he wouldn't cause any trouble.  It didn't work.
We put Darth Vader to work at the Welcome Desk so he wouldn't cause any trouble. It didn't work.

Thank you to our many young Jedis and light saber-wielding kids who kept the Library safe from Darth Vader and his forces on Star Wars Reads Day!

We had a great turnout and everyone had fun, check out our Flickr photos for proof.

What other Star Wars-themed programs are we holding?  Read our Star Wars Programs post to find out.

Review: Super by Matthew Cody

Super is a book about a young boy named Daniel and his friends*,  His friends have super powers.  In the previous book, Powerless, they defeat the Shroud...or do they? Daniel now thinks he is becoming the Shroud and there is a new Plunket in town.  There are also new villains, called Shades.  Read Super to find out if Daniel and his friends defeat the Shades and give Noble Green's powers back.

I think this is a great book and I would definitely recommend it.  It is suitable for ages 9-12 and I think it is more of a boy book.  It is a great fantasy book.  So, if you like fantasy, this is a good choice.  If you want a book full of adventure, excitement, super pwoers, and Shades, read Super.

-George H.

*by Matthew Cody

Tween Gaming Tabs Are in the House!

Tween Tabs have pre-loaded game apps like Angry Birds Space and Fruit Ninja. For ages 8 to 12.
Tween Tabs have pre-loaded game apps like Angry Birds Space and Fruit Ninja. For ages 8 to 12.

Kids ages 8 to 12 can now play with a Tween Tab while in the Children's Library. These Android tablet computers are pre-loaded with fun apps like Angry Birds Space, Temple Run, Doodle Jump, and Word Mix. The Tabs may be borrowed within the Children's Library for a period of up to two hours.

Do you have a favorite app that is not on the Tween Tab? Let us know- we are always on the lookout for apps to add! 

LIFE Magazine: 1961 Yankees Photos

Mickey Mantle in a photo by his teammate, Tony Kubek
Mickey Mantle in a photo by his teammate, Tony Kubek

Whether you're a Yankees fan, sports fan, or just a history buff, you'll get a kick out of these photos from LIFE Magazine. 

In 1961, the year that Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's homerun record, LIFE asked Yankees shortstop, Tony Kubek, to take photos of his teammates, including Maris, Mantle, and Yogi Berra.  The photos were never published, but are now available to view online, along with Kubek's remembrances of his teammates.

Yankees:  Rare Photos from Spring Training 1961

2012 Booktalking Flyers

We love visiting the schools for booktalking and we hope you have as much fun as we do!  The books we shared with your class are available in the Children's Library right after school.  If you don't see the book you're looking for, just ask a friendly librarian we can help you find it or put a hold on it for you.

Click on the links below to view our booktalking flyers to choose the next great book you're going to read.

Grades K & 1 Flyer

Grades 2 & 3 Flyer

Grades 4 & 5 Flyer

Middle School Flyer


Book Review of The Dead Gentleman

The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody
The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody

2013 Nutmeg Nominee author Matthew Cody has a brand new book on the shelves. One of the Kids Galley Bloggers decided to share their thoughts.

The Dead Gentleman is a great book. There are many things I like about this book. One is that the author always keeps you on the edge of your seat. There is a ton of action. the main characters are Tommy and Jezebel. Tommy is a 20th century homeless kid who gets involved in the secret explorers society. The explorers travel through portals to different worlds and times. Jezebel lives in the apartment complex that Tommy got trapped in a hundred years earlier. There she gets a message from Tommy. The message is: to beware of the dead gentleman. That is when the adventure starts for both Tommy and Jezebel. This book is very well written. Not too much action, but just enough to keep you reading.


Crow by Barbara Wright

Crow by Barbara Wright
Crow by Barbara Wright

The Darien Kid Bloggers bring you two new book reviews this month.

by Barbara Wright

This historical fiction book is about a boy named Moses around the year of 1900. His father works at the local newspaper company, and he makes a decent living. Moses is teaching his grandmother named Boo Nanny to read. She is also finally telling the stories of when she was a slave. African Americans are finally somewhat getting the respect and positions of power in Wilmington, North Carolina. But not everyone is happy with the situation. Some of them will do anything, including a violent plot, to maintain what they are comfortable with.

I, personally, like the style of Christopher Paul Curtis better about the same topics. With grandma’s stories jumping back and forth, it is hard to keep track and easy to get confused for me. But I do think it is a good book and most kids will enjoy this story.


If you are interested in becoming a Darien Kid Blogger, email the Children's Library at for further details. Kid Bloggers are given ARCs (advanced reader's copies) of soon to be published books and asked to write a review for the Library's website.

Attention, World Travelers!


Psst! Are you a kid planning on traveling to a big city? Or are you kid who would like to someday travel to a big city? Then we have some books written just for you - The Lonely Planet Not-For-Parents Guides to London, Rome, Paris, and New York City are now available in the Children's Library!

And if you're interested in traveling to even more exoctic locations, we have The Lonely Planet Not-For-Parents Travel Book, featuring "cool stuff to know about every country in the world!"

 To learn more, click on the link below!


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