Our Story

Our mission is to encourage our children’s social, emotional, and cognitive growth by inspiring kids and grown-ups to read aloud together more consistently. 

The story of Novel Effect began with Melissa and Matt Hammersley. Melissa was a visual designer with a growing passion for children’s books and Matt was an engineer working on the edges of voice recognition.

As a married couple preparing for their first child, they came up with the idea for Novel Effect at a baby shower. Matt watched a friend read aloud with a young child while adding her own silly voices and sound effects. The child laughed and begged to read more books. It was magical and stuck with them as parenthood approached.

With a desire to experience the same magic while reading with their own child and leveraging their backgrounds, they built a prototype. It worked! With that, Novel Effect was born to empower grown-ups to share magical story times with their kids, instill a love of reading, develop early literacy skills, and ensure everyone looks forward to reading together again, and again.

Celebrate the wonder of childhood.
Honor the power of story time.
Boost the magic of real books.

Novel Effect participated in the 2017 Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, and has patented technology that was featured on Shark Tank. Our flagship app of the same name has received numerous awards including Webby, Cynopsis, Parents’ Choice, Mom’s Choice awards, and 2022’s Best Digital App from the American Association of School Librarians.

Today, Novel Effect is the only app which combines children’s story books and powerful speech recognition. The result plays layers of interactive music and sound effects that respond as you read aloud from your print book during your regular story time routine.

  • Teachers love that we offer soundscapes for the books they already use in their curriculum and have in their libraries.
  • Parents agree that Novel Effect engages and delights their little ones and inspires them to a lifelong love of reading.
  • Finally, kids rave that story time is more fun with Novel Effect.

Story time will never be the same. Happy Reading!

Melissa & Matt
reading together as a family
Melissa & Matt
reading together as a family

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