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Pamela Brill

Toy Fair 2014, Take 1: Alicia Keys Storytelling App

February 18, 2014

Alicia KeysIt was a cold, but clear day in the Big Apple. With a fresh coating of snow on the ground, it was a fitting start to a trade show known for its brightness amidst the cold. We spent the day yesterday in NYC at the annual Toy Fair, checking out all the new playthings kids will be clamoring for later this year. With a comfortable pair of shoes (errr, make that snow boots), camera and trusty pad and pencil, we were ready to roll! To kick off the festivities, we attended a press conference spotlighting none other than Grammy award-winning artist Alicia Keys. (Yes, she's as stunning in person as you might imagine, if not more). She was on hand to talk about the release of her new story-telling app, Mookey, the second in The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee." If you haven't yet heard of this educational app, it's the continuing story of a young girl named LeeLee and her relationship with her grandmother, who is loosely based on Alicia's experience with her own grandmother. The app was created with the intent to expose kids ages 4 and up to different cultures, animals and, of course, music and storytelling. Keys likened the series to going on "a worldwide journey where kids can appreciate the similarities and differences of other kids." Kids can draw along with app, journal their own thoughts and even try their hands at making music. All the while, they will be able to relate to such universal childhood themes as making friends and managing their emotions. "We all experience the same things, and the stories will help kids relate to what they are going through themselves," said Keys. She also recognizes it as a way to encourage interaction between parents, kids and grandparents. "It gives them a dialog, something to talk about," adds Keys. Add some music to the conversation, and you've got the makings of a rich storytelling experience.

In a Nutshell: Alicia Keys lends her music talent to a storytelling app that aims to bridge the gap between generations. Both the first two books in the series, Blue Moon and Mookey, are now available for a free download at mamamae.com.