In this day and age, 200 million YouTube hits can become a book deal.
The viral video, “What Does The Fox Say?” by the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis, will hit shelves Dec. 10 as a children’s book published by Simon & Schuster. The cover will be complete with a label “Based on the YouTube sensation,” probably one of the first to ever do so.
This generation is primed for the clash of new media with traditional formats. Toddlers are entertained with tablets instead of toys. Elementary school children walk around with smartphones. The fact that social media can influence literature nowadays shows the increasingly creative ways to engage children (and, let’s face it, adults as well — who doesn’t think it’s hilarious that two grown men sing seriously about animal sounds whilst wearing custom fox onesies?) while fostering a basic skill: reading.
Meeting consumers, even young ones, with products that interest them keeps a love of reading alive and fosters later critical thinking skills. The old TV show Reading Rainbow launched an app last year to appeal to younger generations playing on their parents’ iPads. As fond and familiar is the dusty smell of paper pages, it’s a good sign that the industry is branching out and creating a new generation of readers.
As LeVar Burton, the enigmatic host of Reading Rainbow, puts it: “Reading will never go out of style, but the tools used for learning are changing.”