Behind the soundscapes

A team of world-class composers, musicians, sound designers, writers, and voice actors thoughtfully create the interactive music, sounds, & character voices for each book in our library.

A team of world-class composers, musicians, sound designers, writers, and voice actors thoughtfully create the interactive music, sounds, & character voices for each book in our library.

Every soundscape is a unique work of art made up of many individual elements that create a rich, immersive experience when you read aloud with Novel Effect. Our soundscape designers carefully source character voices and sound effects, and compose interactive music to bring your favorite stories to life!

Interactive Music

Nearly all the music you hear on Novel Effect is original. Our team of composers writes and records music that has been carefully crafted to lift up each scene, help children better understand the emotional subtext of the stories, and promote further empathy with the characters.

Sound Effects

Each Novel Effect soundscape contains dozens of sound effects. Sometimes these sounds are made electronically using synthesizers. Other times soundscape designers spend time in nature or around town with a portable field recorder and microphones, trying to capture that perfect recording of a train whistle, babbling brook, or wildlife.

But in many cases, simply capturing real sounds is not enough. Sometimes, the book demands that we find creative ways to make the sounds of creatures that don’t exist (or at least haven’t existed for millions of years).

Character Voices

In order to bring the characters on the page to life, we work with professional writers to craft dialog that feels authentic to the characters and moves the story forward. We then record actors, singers, and children to perform the lines.

Engineering an interactive soundscape

What is interactive audio?

In video games, when a character jumps, we hear a jump sound. When they enter a new environment, we hear new music and environmental ambiance. This is called interactive audio because you, the player, control the actions, or inputs, that make various sounds play and change. Instead of inputs from a handheld controller, our soundscapes use input from your voice through the microphone on your phone or tablet to control our interactive audio.

Our soundscape design Process

Just like in video games, an interactive soundscape isn’t a single piece of music. We borrow techniques pioneered by video game makers in our design process, using many elements to create the rich, immersive experience you enjoy while reading aloud with Novel Effect. Every story we choose has a light, and we do everything we can to help it shine. If it’s a funny book, we laugh while we’re creating the soundscape. If it has a more serious tone, we feel introspective and curious about the heart of the story.

The Final Product​

The music, sound effects, and character voices, that make up a soundscape are individually composed, recorded, and designed to work together and complement the story. Then each audio element is brought together in Novel Effect’s Soundscape Studio software to react to your voice at just the right moment. Finally, they’re shared with you on the Novel Effect mobile app where the soundscape seamlessly integrates with your read aloud to create magical books and memorable moments for parents, teachers, librarians and kids.

Meet the artists who bring the story to life!

Many of our talented team members have written music and created sound effects for feature films and video games. Some of them are touring musicians and recording artists. No matter the area of expertise, they all share a passion for children’s books and telling stories through sound.

Matt Boerner

Matt Boerner

Director of Production

Hey! I’m Matt Boerner, I help make sure that every piece of content we release is a little world made of pure magic. In addition to creating my own soundscapes, I lead a large team of world-class composers, sound designers, and voice actors in the audio creation process.

In an effort to fill the world with stories, I’m also a songwriter/bandleader, author, pianist, actor, and video editor. 

First soundscape

Bear Snores On
by Karma Wilson

Favorite soundscape

Have You Ever Seen a Flower?
by Shawn Harris.

María José Felix Vega

Soundscape Designer

Hi! I’m Maria, I create music and sounds for the books and help make sure each of our soundscapes is filled with magic! I have experience as a composer for film, videogames, and other media. 

When I was little, I fell in love with music and reading. I love bringing stories to life with my music and helping kids around the world immerse themselves in these worlds and stories.

First soundscape

Favorite soundscape

How to Catch an Elf
by Adam Wallace

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It's a dream come true to help a whole new generation of kids fall in love with reading and music!

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Working on this newest evolution of story with Novel Effect is nothing short of amazing!

Landon Ashby

Soundscape Designer

Hi, y’all! My name is Landon, my goal with every soundscape I work on is to help bring the magic of the story off of the page and into the readers’ hearts and minds.

I’m a sucker for a good story! It’s this love of tall tales that led me to write music in the first place. I believe that every piece of music can help tell a story and I believe there’s power in a story. Stories can make us laugh, make us cry, make us love, and make us question. I enjoy working with stories in many different mediums, including films, video games, and musicals.

First soundscape

Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown

Favorite soundscape

The Day You Begin
by Jaqueline Woodson.

Our creative vision

We believe every soundscape on Novel Effect should delight listeners, by responding to the reader with bold creative choices that serve the story. A soundscape designer’s mission is to complement and enhance the emotions that the author and illustrator have created so each story is felt more deeply.

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Which book deserves a bit of magic next?

Join the thousands of other parents and educators who receive tips and tricks on how to get the most out of Novel Effect and resources to increase your child’s love of reading and let us know!