Libélula Books Promotes Value of Read-Along Content for Children Onboard


Pictured (left to right): Libélula Books CEO and writer of “Bella’s Big Hair: A Birthday Adventure” Bethany McAllister; and the English cover of the book illustrated by Francesca De Luca. Images via Libélula Books

APEX Insights chats with the CEO of Libélula Books Bethany McAllister about why she believes her company’s “Bella’s World” series of read-along audiobooks and videobooks for children aged five to eight are a great addition to an airlines’ in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering. 

Based in Michigan in the US, startup company Libélula Books has created a series of read-along audiobooks and videobooks, “Bella’s World,” to appeal to young travelers. McAllister explained, “We currently have one story available as an audiobook in six languages, about a girl who magically flies around the world and visits five countries. The second story introduces Bella’s cat, Stella, and they travel to new destinations as well as back in time.”

Lorenzo Morselli, the audio engineer behind the first book, “Bella’s Big Hair: A Birthday Adventure,” won the 2023 award for “Best Sound Design” from the Society of Voice Arts & Scientists (SOVAS) for his work on the project. The book features 79 sound effects and original compositions that help children follow the storyline in multiple languages and discover new words in each.   

The company’s illustrator Francesca De Luca, who has worked on animated films for Warner Bros. and Zecchino D’oro, Italy’s longest-running children’s show, is currently finishing up the artwork for the videobooks. 

“Airlines have requested additional languages, and we are hiring translators and casting voice talent.”

Bethany McAllister, Libélula Books

The audiobooks are already set to be rolled out across a US school with a bilingual population. The school “requested 500 English and Spanish audiobooks to enhance bilingual education.” McAllister noted, “Inner-city schools are exposing their students to the idea of flying to another country when their parents cannot offer the experience.”

But she also argues that Bella’s World, in both audiobook and videobook format, are a valuable asset for airlines looking to cater to young flyers for a number of reasons. “Our audiobooks and videobooks make entertainment accessible for blind and hearing-impaired children, and we feel that offering inclusive content for little ones is something that differentiates an airline because parents will remember it.

“Because we produce the content and own the licensing rights, we can also customize new content according to the airlines’ needs,” McAllister continues. “We know that airlines prefer short lead times when it comes to onboarding new content, and fortunately we can produce audiobooks in a few months, depending on the number of languages and whether an airline requests original music compositions,” she continued. “Video books require more time due to the illustrations and their animated elements.”

As a new member of APEX, Libélula Books attended the most recent APEX TECH and APEX Content Market, said the company is happy to work with airlines and content service providers alike, and is now in discussion with multiple airlines about featuring “Bella’s World” in their IFE catalogs. McAllister stated, “Airlines have requested additional languages, and we are hiring translators and casting voice talent.”