App Helps Middle Schoolers Distinguish Real Friends from the Other Kind

in Education (E)

[] Minneapolis, Minnesota - Free Spirit Publishing and Electric Eggplant announce the release of their new iPad app Middle School Confidential(TM) 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, the sequel to their iPad app Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are. This continues the story of Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle - a tight-knit group of friends in middle school - and follows them as they work to strengthen friendships while navigating tough social situations.

Real Friends vs. the Other Kind is based on Book 2 of the award-winning Middle School Confidential series written by teen expert and anti-bullying activist Annie Fox, M.Ed., and illustrated by Harvey Award-winner Matt Kindt. Designed for 8- to 14-year-olds, the iPad app gives readers a look at how their peers handle making friends, resolve disputes, and deal with common hazards of the middle school social scene - like gossip, exclusion, peer pressure, and cyberbullying. The app puts decision-making power into the hands of readers, with interactive quizzes that let readers choose how they would handle these situations.

"We all want, need, and deserve friends who accept and respect us for who we are. In the emails I receive from teens, friendship comes up more than any other topic. The questions usually boil down to, 'My friend isn't being a friend. What do I do?'" says Annie Fox. "I wrote the book Real Friends vs. the Other Kind to empower tweens and teens to change the way they deal with feelings and situations - to show them that they are the key to creating the kind of relationships they want."

Real Friends vs. the Other Kind makes full use of iPad technology - containing richly layered audio with movie-like sound effects and music and featuring the option to zoom in for frame-by-frame reading or zoom out for a page-by-page view. Interactive quizzes test readers on what a real friend would do in sticky social situations. An auto-save feature recalls your place in the story and a menu page permits jumping to any of the eight chapters. "Meet the Cast" pages include insider information about the characters.

Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime said, "I thought Annie Fox's series of graphic novels was cutting-edge in print - Middle School Confidential is even more amazing on the iPad! I am delighted to see the quizzes from the book included in this second app. These interactive activities can help young people integrate the important lessons from the novels into their lives. Electric Eggplant has really perfected an otherwise near-perfect series with this additional interactive content."

Last year, Electric Eggplant released Be Confident in Who You Are, the first iPad app in the Middle School Confidential series, which has garnered praise from Common Sense Media, CNET, iPhone Life, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Digital Storytime, among others. The app is currently a finalist in the 2011 Cybils Awards in the book apps category. Be Confident in Who You Are is available on the iPad, NOOK Color, NOOK Tablet, Kindle Fire, and other Android tablets. Normally priced at $2.99, it's currently on sale for $.99 in iTunes.

About the Author:
Annie Fox, M.Ed., has been teaching, writing, and creating innovative content for kids for many decades. She's particularly proud of The InSite - a teen website she created to help young people with the challenges many face growing up. Since 1997, she's been answering online questions (as Hey Terra!) from tweens, teens, and parents around the world. In 2010, Annie founded Cruel's Not Cool!, a popular anti-bullying forum for students, parents, and teachers. Her Internet work has contributed to the publication of multiple books, including Too Stressed to Think? and the award-winning Middle School Confidential(TM) series. Annie currently is at work on her first parenting book and on launching a radio show for parents and teens. Annie enjoys hiking with her husband, David, their grown children, and Josie the dog.

About the Illustrator:
Matt Kindt was born in 1973 to a pair of artistically supportive parents. Living briefly in New York, Matt has spent most of his years in the Midwest, and the last 15 years in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. In middle school, he would often create mini-comics featuring the teachers, to the delight of his fellow classmates. Matt is the Harvey Award-winning writer and artist of the graphic novels Super Spy and 2 Sisters and co-creator of the Pistolwhip series. He has been nominated for four Eisner Awards and three Harvey Awards. In addition to graphic novels, Matt also works as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. When he is not working, Matt enjoys long trips to the playground with his wife and daughter.

About the Publisher:
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Free Spirit Publishing(R) is the leading publisher of learning tools that support young people's social-emotional health and educational needs. Founded by Judy Galbraith, a former classroom teacher and gifted-education specialist, Free Spirit has had the same mission for over 28 years: to help children and teens think for themselves, succeed in life, and make a difference in the world.

Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPad
* Requires iOS 4.0 or later
* 25.5 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind 1.1 is $2.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category. Promo codes available upon request. The app will soon be available for NOOK Color, NOOK Tablet, Kindle Fire, and other Android tablets.

Founded in 1992 by David and Annie Fox, Electric Eggplant has been on the forefront of multimedia design and production since its inception in 1992. Annie and David have partnered on dozens of projects in their 37 years of marriage, including cofounding the Marin Computer Center in 1977 - the world's first public-access microcomputer center. The Foxes have consistently garnered kudos for their work on games, educational software, Web design, emotional intelligence content, online communities, and emerging technologies, as well as for their books and apps for kids, tweens, and teens. David began his game design career in 1982 at Lucasfilm Games (now LucasArts). During his 10 years there, his credits included groundbreaking titles like Rescue on Fractalus!, Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure. Annie has codesigned many award-winning games for children. Copyright (C) 1992-2012 Electric Eggplant. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.


David Fox
Electric Eggplant, Cofounder, Director