Once Upon an App – Dust or Magic – Highlights Foundation We arrived in Boyds Mill, PA. this afternoon to celebrate spring, and excellence in interactive literacy – more specifically apps, this eclectic group has gathered for very intense few days to share insights into the digital world of books. This rural retreat, held at the Highlights Foundation Compound, is beyond pristine and is the original home of the children’s magazine: Highlights that has been in print for over 65 years. After a warm welcome and introductions at the barn, we had a wonderful dinner with Kent Brown a second/third generation Highlighter and dove into the difference between an app that screams magic and one that dissolves to dust. And the winner of the 2015 Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award is My Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Storybooks Apps. One of the runner ups is Spot by Houghton Mifflin, the dust bunnies and all were critiqued. We were exposed to what makes an app magical and what lacking features or over-zealous component’s render an app into the category of dust. To recap the evening we had many many demos and discussions surrounding the of the art of what makes a magical app and a few sorted samples of what it takes for an app to be an epic fail, all facilitated by Warren Buckleitner. We ended the evening by following the tradition of all Dust or Magic events by the ritual of getting rid of our egos (in this case we metaphorically burned them in a roaring fireplace) and discussed our direction for tomorrow. Speaking of which is already here, I need to get a tad of sleep….