San Francisco Ballet launches Nutcracker app, illustrated and written by Kate Garchinsky

Kate/ December 2, 2013/ illustration, news, writing

SAN FRANCISCO, CA Monday, December 2, 2013–San Francisco Ballet, the country’s oldest professional company and the first to perform the full-length Nutcracker in America, today announced the launch of a Nutcracker interactive storybook application. Designed for children ages 6-10 and their families, the animated iPad app allows users to not only experience SF Ballet’s production of Nutcracker through original illustrations and storytelling, but to explore and engage with the world of classical dance and music through groundbreaking new interactive technology.

Key features of the app, now available on the App Store for $4.99, include original artwork by Kate Garchinsky; audio clips of Tchaikovsky’s renowned Nutcracker score that accompany each scene; as well as playful animations, and pop-up information pages featuring fun facts about ballet,Nutcracker, and SF Ballet’s production. In addition, the app offers videos and photos that take young readers behind the scenes. Users have the option of reading the story themselves or listening to a narration while they tilt and tap their iPad to uncover surprises along the way.

In addition, the app includes an in-depth, informative microsite, “Discover SF Ballet,” which can be accessed through the “Discover” button on the app homepage, as well as throughout the storybook and online by clicking here. The microsite features a host of photos and videos, interactive movement tutorials, background information on SF Ballet and its School, a history of ballet and dance, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Company, including its production of Nutcracker. Throughout this playful and educational app, children can hone their reading skills, while learning about ballet, dance, music, and more.

“As the company who started this beloved holiday tradition in America in 1944, we are thrilled to share our appreciation of Nutcracker, dance, and music with the widest possible audience through this unique app,” said SF Ballet Education Director Charles Chip McNeal. “Through the app’s fun and interactive content, our goal is to offer a rich educational experience for children and their families alike.”

To see the Nutcracker Interactive Storybook app trailer visit:

To Download
SF Ballet’s Nutcracker Interactive Storybook app is available for download on the App Store for $4.99. To access the app, click here.  This app is optimized for iOS6 or later and is optimized for iPad. A version for Android tablets will be released at a later date.

For reviewing media members only: contact Kyra Jablonsky or Lauren White for to access a free download of the app.

Nutcracker Interactive Storybook:
Illustrations and story by Kate Garchinsky
Narration by Eileen Brady
Design and development by Night Kitchen Interactive in collaboration with the artists, musicians, students, and staff of San Francisco Ballet.

The Nutcracker Interactive Storybook was made possible by a grant from the James F. Irvine Foundation’s Arts Innovation Fund.

San Francisco Ballet
United States, San Francisco Ballet, under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. For more information, visit For more information about SF Ballet’s Nutcracker, visit

Kate Garchinsky
Philadelphia, Award-winning illustrator and author, Kate Garchinsky,  is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. For more information about her and to view her work, visit

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About Kate

Kate Garchinsky illustrates and writes children’s books and educational media in her studio in the woodlands near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her debut picture book, The Secret Life of the Red Fox, written by acclaimed wildlife author, Laurence Pringle, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Kate Garchinsky received a grant from the Eckelberry Fellowship at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she has been researching and illustrating extinction stories about North American birds such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. Prior to creating children’s books, Kate designed lots of fun things like toys, birdbaths and trail maps. She lives with her husband Brian, Julia and Spencer the cats, and her one-eyed beagle, Maggie May. Kate recently signed on to illustrate two more “Secret Life” narrative non-fiction picture books with Boyds Mills Press—The Secret Life the Little Brown Bat (2018) and The Secret Life of the Skunk (2019). While drawing foxes and bats, Kate also began work on Belle’s Journey, a middle-grade non-fiction chapter book by ornithologist and osprey expert, Rob Bierregaard (Charlesbridge 2018). Get to know more about Kate Garchinsky at (aka