Tales of Mello App: A Safe & Educational Path to the Digital World

Lauren Simmonds

tales of mello app

June the 27th, 2024 – The brand new Tales of Mello app was presented to the business, technological and educational community at the University of Algebra in Zagreb recently.

The main goals of the application are to re-popularise reading among children and to make the time that children today inevitably spend in front of the screen of higher quality and more educational. The face of the new Tales of Mello app is a little chameleon named Mello, with whom children can create over 250,000 different stories, read existing ones actively written by four authors, or listen to them as audio books.

The Tales of Mello app comes from Croatian start-up Daidream, which is based in Vukovar. The author of the idea for Mello is a young man from Vukovar who has been living for a long time in Frankfurt, Nevio Burić. Nevio escaped to Germany with his parents as a child during the Homeland War.

After a successful career working for Silicon Valley companies, all while reading classic fairy tales before bedtime to his children (aged 11, 6 and 1), he came up with the idea of ​​developing an application.

He founded his company in his hometown with developers Dominik Kajba and Zvonimir Kišurek, and the founding team was joined by Jan de Jong, a Dutch-Croatian entrepreneur, the initiator of the digital nomad visa, and a father of four who recognised the app’s potential even in the idea phase. There’s also chief designer German Johann Schrer, who worked for major automotive brands such as BMW and Audi in his career.

the tales of mello app: an answer to the parental dilemmas posed by kids and screens

“The Tales of Mello app was created as a parental answer to the question of whether time children spend in front of screens today can be safe for their development, useful and educational. I started this project with the inspiration and motivation to do something good for my children. Today, technology is an integral part of all of our lives, and for young generations, it’s right there in front of them from a very early age. Our goal isn’t to encourage children to use phones, but when the time comes for children to enter the digital world, then Tales of Mello provides a quality and useful alternative to hyperstimulating video and gaming content.

When children have already passed the stage of reading traditional fairy tales, the Tales of Mello app can be their safe entry into the digital world so that parents don’t have to worry about whether it will harm them or whether they will be presented with something adequate and inappropriate,” said Nevio Burić. As a refugee from Vukovar, Nevio had far from the happiest childhood. In creating this application, he has actively tried to create a more beautiful and fairy-tale-like world for new generations.

Mello the chameleon motivates children to research, he teaches them about numerous topics and encourages them to be creative. Instead of children being passive consumers of content, the Tales of Mello app encourages them to be actively involved in shaping it.

Mello talks to children in a very special way about the natural world, ecology and sustainable development, as well as other interesting topics. Just like Netflix provides personalised content and Wikipedia provides access to infinite knowledge, Mello offers kids a combination of education and entertainment through creating, reading and listening to digital fairy tales that makes it unique in the market.

In addition to the stories told by Mello the chameleon, of which over 20 new ones arrive every week, “Mello’s library” also includes stories about great minds such as Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein.

first place among 2000 startups

The Tales of Mello app recently won first place in a competition of 2000 start-ups organised by Bayern Media Lab, after which Nevio Burić was called the “Robin Hood of books” by the German media.

“The Tales of Mello app enables every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographical location, to access high-quality educational content. That democratises their access to knowledge and raises their level of awareness of important current topics. Mello is a little digital friend for children and their teacher outside the classroom. He promotes the love of reading, and provides support to parents in their education, enabling them to spend quality time with their children through playing and learning. The most interesting thing of all is that children can be the authors and make their family members the heroes of completely personalised stories”, explained Nevio Burić.

the tales of mello app was tested in croatia and germany

Before the launch, the application was tested by over a hundred families from Germany and Croatia. In the development of the app, experts in the field of pedagogy and education were consulted, including the German women Felicitas Blumenthal and Rabea Wiese. Croatian experts in child education and development also gave their opinion during the app’s presentation in Zagreb.

“My position is that the time children spend on the screen should have a limit. Additionally, their very first contact with a screen should be delayed as much as possible. It’s incredibly important to know what children are doing while they are on their phones, and from that point of view, it’s great that the Tales of Mello app is marked as safe for children.

Parents should be the storytellers of fairy tales to their children in as much as is possible, but it’s certainly better for children to be spending time on an educational app like this than who knows where. We need apps like this. It’s clear that as a generation, we’re increasingly leaning in the direction of the screen and we shouldn’t run away from it. Instead, what I constantly emphasise is that we need to have some balance”, said Duško Ilijević, an experienced educator with many years of experience working with children of preschool age. He also emphasised the importance of balanced access to technology in an educational context.

for kids aged from 3 to 12

The Tales of Mello app is intended for children from 3 to 12 years of age, and for independent use after the age of 4. In the first phase, it will be available in Croatian, German and English, and by the end of the year it will be updated with several more European languages. In the future, the goal is to make it available in both Mandarin Chinese and Hindi.

My four children are between the ages of 4 and 11, and I see the Tales of Mello app as an opportunity for them to hang out together, for my eldest son to show my youngest daughter how to create fairy tales, and to accompany her in this learning and creative process. My second oldest daughter, for example, isn’t the biggest fan of reading and I think this is an ideal way to get her interested in it. I’m happy that my children’s time is mostly occupied by activities outside the home and off the screen, but when they use their phones for that one short part of the day, then it’s good that they’ll be doing something useful and imaginative through the Tales of Mello app Of course, it also makes it easier for us as parents and gives us a bit of time for ourselves and our responsibilities, while we know that our children are safe in the digital world,” said Slavica de Jong, mother of four.

partnership with daidream

The partnership with the Daidream company includes many others who recognised the uniqueness of this idea, including Impact Hero, an organisation dedicated to creating a positive social impact through innovative projects and collaborations. The collaboration with WWF Adria, the regional branch of the largest non-profit world organisation for environmental protection, also speaks volumes.

“I’m glad that we could be here today and support the ideas of the excellent young people behind this app. Our colleagues from our international office noticed it and liked it. They liked the presentation of topics that are important to WWF, and so together we started to think about how we might offer our stories, because we have a lot of content, but we need it to be presentated in a simple and receptive way.

Over the next period, we’ll place our 20 stories on the Tales of Mello app, and then these wonderful people will present them in an innovative way. We scientists sometimes don’t know how to present things in a nice way, so we need storytellers like Daidream and this app,” said Dunja Mazocco Drvar, the director of environmental protection at WWF Adria.

The headquarters of the Daidream company are in the very heart Vukovar. Last week, the Tales of Mello app was presented for the first time in front of Vukovar’s children and the local community. Naturally, there were very positive reactions from the schoolchildren and the primary school teaching staff alike.

european publishing houses are involved

Long before the launch of the Tales of Mello app, numerous business contacts and agreed collaborations were made, among others with the largest European publishing houses. The names of said institutions will be revealed soon.

“Finally, our goal isn’t for printed books to lose their charm and importance in the upbringing and development of children, but to connect the digital world with the children’s world of imagination and fairy tales. We want one of the world’s top stories to bear a Croatian signature. We want to have healthy expansion and growth, we want to employ dozens more young people from Vukovar. We want to offer many more useful, educational and fun children’s products in the future through the Mello brand”, concluded Nevio Burić.

The Tales of Mello appwill be available to download from the Play Store for Android devices from July the 1st. A version for iOS devices will also be launched in the coming period.


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