Adventures in Writing summer camp

Dan KempBlog, English

We interviewed Hans and Jen Hartvickson, founders of Adventures in Writing Camp, a summer writing program in California and Nevada.

hans-and-jen-hartvicksonHans and Jen Hartvickson are children’s book authors, and the founders of Adventures in Writing Camp, a 25-location summer writing program for elementary school students in California and Nevada.

They have published four books under the pen name “Mister Lemur.” Jen is also a Book Creator Ambassador.

How did you come to use Book Creator?

In our work as authors, we visit 50-75 elementary schools per year to speak to students about the process of writing a book. A forward-thinking librarian at one of the schools we visited introduced us to Book Creator.

It is a powerful yet user-friendly creative tool, and the technology is “so easy even an adult can use it!”

In our writing camp we’ve mainly been using the Android version of Book Creator as the devices are cheaper, along with a few iPads too. But this summer we’re planning to use more iPads, as we found the Android tablets we bought were far inferior to the iPad.

Tell us about Adventures in Writing, and why Book Creator was a good fit

A school district in the San Francisco area invited us to create a program for their students talking about what it was like to be an author.

After struggling with a PC based ebook making program, we found Book Creator to be a much more user-friendly option. We’ve found that the simple act of being on a tablet makes writing more fun and exciting for many kids.

Girl with an iPad at the summer writing camp

The books created in our program are typically 10-20 pages of lightly illustrated books. Campers will draft their stories (on the iPad or on paper) and type it into the app. Then we have them draw illustrations for their stories on paper.

Using iPad 2 or higher, they then take photos of their illustrations and import them into their books. The ability to adjust layout quickly and intuitively has been really well received by students. They also love the ability to record themselves narrating their book.

Boy holding iPad at the summer reading camp

It has been exciting to see the pride of authorship that students take in their ebooks. We have now seen hundreds of students create ebooks using Book Creator, and the increased confidence in writing that comes from completing an ebook has been tremendous.

Jen Hartvickson with students at the summer writing camp

We also used Book Creator to teach an ebook making workshop to a group of ~30 alumni through the Stanford Alumni Association at a creativity retreat. The participants make an eJournal of their time at the retreat to help them “bring home” the new skills and habits they learned in the program. This was a great way to memorialise a weekend that was (for many alums) a powerful event.

Why would you recommend a summer writing camp for kids?

We’ve learned that a lot of kids who don’t necessarily think writing is “cool” think that making an ebook on an iPad or Android tablet is very cool. It has been a tremendous tool for drawing in reluctant writers!

Go to to find out more and register.

Dan Kemp is Red Jumper's Community Manager. He spends his time spreading the word about Book Creator and supporting people who use it.

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