In a world where kids know how to unlock a cell phone before they even know how to write, the Novel Effect app is breaking ground. Designed to be a perfect marriage of old-fashioned books and modern technology (namely, the cell phone), Novel Effect brings books to life in a new way — and the response has been simply magical.

The concept for Novel Effect came to Matt and Melissa Hammersley in 2015, when their daughter Eleanor’s birth was right around the corner. For their little girl’s baby shower, friends and family brought children’s book to fill her new library. When a friend did a theatrical reading of On The Night You Were Born by Nany Tillman, complete with character voices and sound effects, the entire room of adults was captivated. The Hammersley’s believed that if traditional books, read aloud, could have that effect on every child in the world, that reading might have the power to out-magic TV, smartphones, and tablets. So, they set to work.

Novel Effect makes reading books fun, engaging, and a little more magical by incorporating timely sound effects and music to the reading experience. The app is simple to download and uses the reader’s voice to time its playback. It’s a smart device that is totally in-tune with a reader’s voice, so even if the kids want to hear the same part over and over again, Novel Effect can keep up, replaying the silly sounds or spooky music as many times as they like.

It’s a simple concept that took months of development and investment to bring to life. The Hammersley’s quit their jobs and sold their home to pursue their novel dream — of creating a “voice-first” storytelling concept to make reading fun in this digital age. All this, with baby Eleanor still on the way! It was a daring dream for the two, but one that has already taken them down a path to success.

Novel Effect’s mission is to bring the joy of reading to children everywhere, regardless of reading level, experience, or age. Kids today receive more screen time than ever, and some parents find it difficult to instill a deep joy for reading in their kids. With Novel Effect, Melissa and Matt Hammersley sought to make that a possibility, while incorporating built-in family time in the process. Parents may read a childhood favorite book to their kids aloud, while the kids enjoy a cinematic experience complete with background music, sound effects, and character voices.

With over 100 available titles to read-along with, Novel Effect is quickly becoming a home run for parents and kids alike. It’s even suitable for educators, who want to take story time to a new level in the classroom. Novel Effect has been featured in GeekWire, Crunchbase, The Bookseller, Book Business Magazine, and more. With their unique partnership with publishers who sell copies of children’s classics through the Hammersley’s app, Novel Effect is already in the hands of thousands of readers around the world.

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