Have you ever dreamed about writing a children’s book? Sure, you have. You’ve been to a bookstore (with or without your children), wandered into the children’s section (with or without your children) looked at the books on display and thought to yourself, how hard can it be to write a children’s book? Well, it’s not that easy at all. Even if you have a great idea, you need to be able to write to appeal to children, you need an illustrator and, if you get that far, a publisher! All in all, not an easy task for the faint of heart!
Storybird.com changes all that. This wonderfully rich site is fun and easy to use. Storybird.com provides you with the space and the illustrations to get your idea engine oiled and running smoothly. Storybird.com describes itself as “a service that uses collaborative storytelling to connect kids and families. Two (or more) people author a Storybird—one with words, one with pictures—and then share it with their network. The final product can be printed (coming soon), watched on screen, played with like a toy, or shared through a worldwide library.”
Starting out, the user can pick a theme to write about or an illustrator which will give a number of professionally created illustrations to base your story around. From there you are taken to the “Storymaker” area, which is basically a white canvass with images around it. To use the images, you simply slide them onto the canvass. You then add the words to your story while Storybird automatically adds a cover. When you are ready, you can choose either to publish your story or share it with a friend. Sharing your story will allow you to send a link to your story to a friend. Your friend can then edit the story or continue thus adding a collaborative aspect to the storywriting process.
As the site is fairly new, they are still adding features to the site. At this point, you can only publish your stories on the storybird site or embed them into your website. They are adding book publishing features, the ability to add your own images and other premium features later on. Storybird states, however, that the main purpose of the site, creating stories, will continue to be free.
Two main things that I love about this site are that it is totally simple to use. I have had Grade 2 students creating these stories at home and school with no problems. The site has a great, intuitive feel and while the idea behind the concept is complex, the creators manage to contain that complexity within a simple and easy to use design. Finally, the site is created with children in mind which means that the sites creators are very conscious of the safety and well-being of the children using the site. All stories are moderated before being published to the world and are very careful to make sure that the content of the books is appropriate.
All in all, this is a great site to stretch your writing muscles. I myself am crazy about the site and the possibilities it has for teachers and students. I love it and think you will too. There are tons of features that I can’t fit into this space. Give them a try by going to Storybird.com.