In a year when so much has moved online, Michelle Glorieux still believes children can benefit from nonscreen options.
Through her company TA-DA! Language Productions, Glorieux is creating paper “talking books” to help kids learn new languages. When readers touch the images on the page, they hear the word spoken aloud.
TA-DA! went to market with its first set of books last month, which are now for sale in Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. The company plans to roll out more books in the future.
According to Glorieux,
TA-DA! is one of the few companies in the EdTech, or Education Technology, space that’s advocating for paper products. TA-DA! also sells e-books, and Glorieux said she believes there is a place for digital options, but she added that screens can be too much for the youngest kids.
“We’re not preaching to be a certain way,” Glorieux said. “There are different families that believe in different things – we just want to offer nonscreen as well.”
In the initial couple weeks after going to market April 6, the first set of six books in the “Language Adventures” series nearly sold out, Glorieux said.
“We’re working around the clock,” she said. “I’ve never been so exhausted in all my life, but at the same time so exhilarated.”
The company is also currently aiming to raise $1 million to $2 million in a seed funding round. TA-DA! already generated over $400,000 in a “friends and family” round, according to Glorieux.
Beyond the growth of the company, the past year also has been one of change on a personal level for Glorieux and her family.
She had been living with her husband and son in a Los Altos condo, but the family ended up moving to Luxembourg during the pandemic, and setting up a European headquarters.
TA-DA! continues to also maintain its Los Altos base.
When the pandemic hit and schools closed, Glorieux said it was a “nightmare” switching fully online for school and work. Her son, in kindergarten at the time, was expected to take all his classes online, and Glorieux said he started having breakdowns.
“It was just insane – all three of us, day and night, on screens trying to work,” Glorieux said.
With no family in the area and school online, the family moved to Luxembourg, where she and her husband had lived previously. There, her son was able to attend school in person.
For the company, setting up a European headquarters in Luxembourg was a natural transition, Glorieux said, adding that most people in the country speak at least four languages. Having headquarters in both Luxembourg and Silicon Valley is the “best of both worlds,” she said.
“Silicon Valley, Los Altos, will always be our first headquarters,” Glorieux said. “It’s our main base – part of our team is still there.”
Now that the first set of books is launched, TA-DA! is looking to the future. Upcoming projects include creating talking dictionaries and grammar cookbooks, among other offerings.
The company recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund its English talking dictionary, which would feature 1,000 words. Since kicking off the Kickstarter May 10, TA-DA! has already reached its initial $12,000 goal but is still accepting donations.
For more information on TA-DA!, visit tadalp.com. To find the Kickstarter, visit kickstarter.com/projects/tadalanguages/childrens-talking-dictionary.