Episodes

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds (author of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, a Remix of the National Book Award-winning book by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.) They talk about what it was like working with 12 year old Irthan in Episode 10 “A Worm’s Worth” and growing his story seed about a worm that turns into a human on a full moon’s night.

    Jason also talks to Betsy about how he got his start as a writer and shares advice for keeping your imagination alive: go learn the thing you’re not interested in.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Additional Information

    Stories mentioned in this episode: Ghost, Look Both Ways, Long Way Down, Miles Morales: Spider-Man (A YA Marvel Novel), As Brave As You, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, a remix of the National Book Award-winning book by Dr. Ibram X Kendi by Jason Reynolds.

    Young Landlords by Walter Dean Myers. Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

    Calls to Action

    Kids:

    Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas for a chance to be on the show. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups:

    Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) Our zines offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    Support Us

    Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    Show credits

    The Story Seeds Podcast is Literary Safari production, created and executive produced by Sandhya Nankani. Scoring, mixing, and sound design of this bonus episode is by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    Visit us at www.storyseedspodcast.com

  • This week’s Story Seeds collaboration brings together 12 year old Irthan and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds (poet, storyteller, National Book Award finalist, Newbery Honoree, and New York Times best-selling author.) Jason's latest work is Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, a Remix of the National Book Award-winning book by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. As National Ambassador, he recently started the Grab the Mic platform which empowers young people to share their own personal stories.

    Jason sat down with 12 year old Irthan at Brooklyn Public Library to grow this story idea:

    A worm becomes human at the stroke of midnight. Kind of like werewolves, but the opposite. Why a worm? Because worms are the least popular. Barely anybody talks about worms. A worm would be interesting and it would put them on an equal status with all the other bugs.

    Join our host Betsy Bird as she introduces you to Jason and Irthan and sets the scene for an episode where:

    Irthan shows Jason his YouTube videos of him playing the drumsThey talk about Spongebob, Minecraft, and music that inspires themThey hash out some important details about Irthan's story seedThey connect over their common observations as young Black men in America todayJason chronicles his writing process and reflects on Irthan's story seed as a metaphor for social justice

    The episode concludes with this week’s storytime (25:15) where Jason reads the story, "Hoo and Wut," that he grew from Irthan’s story seed.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Additional Information

    Books mentioned in this episode: Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.

    Musicians mentioned in this episode: R David R, Jack White, Bob Marley

    Media mentioned in the episode: Write. Right. Rite. video series by Jason Reynolds for The Library of Congress. Minecraft. Spongebob Squarepants.

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Check back next Thursday to hear Betsy's bonus interview with Jason. You’ll get to hear about his approach to writing and he also shares his tips.

    Kids:

    Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups:

    Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) Our zines offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    Support Us

    Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    Show credits

    The Story Seeds Podcast is Literary Safari production, created and executive produced by Sandhya Nankani. This episode was produced and written by Anjali Sakhrani with Kayla Fedeson. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    The music at the start of Irthan and Jason's conversation is titled Brass Song and was composed by Irthan himself!

    Visit us at www.storyseedspodcast.com

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  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Bil Lepp (five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Competition and author of the 2014 PEN award-winning picture book, THE KING OF LITTLE THINGS.) They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like working with 11 year old Keshav in Episode 9 “Look Before You Eat” to grow his fractured fairytale of a story seed about a cow with an ice cream house, a bunny with a chocolate abode, a fox with a chili pepper den, and a big bad wolf hungry to eat them all!

    Bil also shares lots of valuable advice for young writers and our listeners. Among them is a quick way to get writing: reimagine a story you already know but from another character’s perspective, you'll find a new story born out of it.

    Stories mentioned in this episode: The King of Little Things by Bil Lepp. Three Billy Goats Gruff. Humpty Dumpty. Little Red Riding Hood.

    Cartoons and Movies: Looney Tunes and Lawrence of Arabia

    Bil’s Podshow: Click here

    Calls to Action

    Kids: Grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines! Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club.

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Support Us

    Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    Show credits

    Credit to Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Our theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • This week’s Story Seeds collaboration brings together 11 year old Keshav and Bil Lepp (professional storyteller, five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Competition and author of the 2014 PEN award-winning The King of Little Things.)

    Bil helps Keshav grow this story idea:

    Once there was a cow, a bunny and a fox. There was also a bad wolf who liked eating up people's houses. The cow made a house out of ice cream, the bunny made a chocolate egg house and the fox made his house out of red hot chilies. Now the wolf, being very greedy. Loved ice cream. So he went to the cows house and ate it all up and was now ready to eat the cow. The cow got away and ran to the bunny house. The wolf followed him there. And when he got to the bunny house, he said, mm hmm. Delicious chocolate. And so we went and ate at all. Now the bunny and the cow was scared half to death. So they ran to the fox’s house. The wolf was still hungry because he was a big bad wolf. So he, too, went to the foxes house. You took one bite out of the chilies, up out of the chili house and burned his mouth. He ran away, never to be seen again.

    Listen along to this Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as Keshav and Bil:

    Develop the backstories for their three main characters and discuss why they chose to build their houses out of ice cream, chocolates, and chilisGet inspired by their visit to Jacques Torres chocolate shop in NYC and sample a selection of their chocolate bon-bons for "research"Look at chilis of all shapes and sizes and ultimately decide there's no need to try any of those in order to grow this story seed!Cook up a quintessential fairytale but with a spicy kick, starring: a cow with a love for ice cream, a bunny with a sweet-tooth for chocolate, a fiery fox with a penchant for chilis, and a big bad wolf!

    The episode concludes with this week’s storytime (19:24) where Bil reads the story he grew from Keshav's story seed: Not By the Hare in My Chili Pepper Den .

    Stories mentioned in this episode: Three Little Pigs, Henny Penny, Chicken Little, Aesop’s Fables, Anansi Tales, Panchatantra, Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales, The King of Little Things by Bill Lepp

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Bil. You’ll get to hear what it’s like to be a 21st century storyteller and Bil also shares a few hilarious anecdotes, including one about his former life as a preacher.

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Support Us

    Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    Show credits

    Produced and written by Sandhya Nankani and Anjali Sakhrani. Our Associate Producer is Kayla Fedeson. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by Nathan Miller. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Susan Muaddi Darraj (author of the debut middle grade series Farah Rocks and a 2014 AWP Grace Paley Award, 2016 American Book Award, and 2016 Arab American Book Award winner). They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like working with 12 year old Sulaf on Episode 8 “A Girl Who Looks Like Me” and grow her story seed about a young Arab-American girl who finds herself at the center of a mystery at the theatre where she works.

    Susan talks about how Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe and her visit to the Riverside Theater inspired the story she grew. Sheds light on the contemporary authors she admires: Jarrett Lerner, Toni Morrison, Esmeralda Santiago. And, she shares two tips for young writers and our listeners:

    Reading makes you a better writerDon't write yourself into a tired state. End your day at an interesting point in your story so that you can pick up fresh where you left off the next day

    Books and media mentioned in this episode: Farah Rocks series by Susan Muaddi Darraj, Hercule Poirot Mysteries by Agatha Christie, Miss Marple Mysteries by Agatha Christie, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Netflix's Anne With an E, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

    Calls to Action

    Kids: Grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines! Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club.

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Support Us

    Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    Show credits

    Credit to Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Our theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari

    www.literarysafari.com

  • This week’s Story Seeds collaboration brings together 12 year old Sulaf and Susan Muaddi Darraj (author of the new middle grade series Farah Rocks and a 2014 AWP Grace Paley Award, 2016 American Book Award, and 2016 Arab American Book Award winner) on a field trip to the Riverside Theater in New York City.

    Susan helps Sulaf grow this story idea:

    A young girl who lives in New York City and works in the theater district realizes there is a very dark secret hidden at the show she's working on.

    Follow Sulaf and Susan's thrill-filled Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as:

    Sulaf tells Susan her wish of seeing a story about an Arab-American girl who looks like her and represents not only her cultural background but her love of the theatre tooThey talk about the Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop's metaphor on how children's books should be be mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors for readersThey geek out over their mutual love of Agatha Christie mysteries and Edgar Allen Poe's The RavenThey grow a story inspired by their back stage tour of the Riverside Theater

    The episode concludes with this week’s storytime (17:40) where Susan reads the story she grew from Sulaf’s story seed: Mystery at the Theatre

    Books and media mentioned in this episode: Farah Rocks series by Susan Muaddi Darraj, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

    Musicals and Plays: The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe.

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Susan where you'll get to find out whodunnit!

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Support Us

    Hey Listeners! Looking for ways to support our show? Well, now you can! Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    Show credits

    Produced and written by Kayla Fedeson, Sandhya Nankani, and Anjali Sakhrani. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari

    www.literarysafari.com

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Tracey Baptiste (New York Times bestselling author of MINECRAFT: THE CRASH, as well as the Caribbean adventure series THE JUMBIES.) They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like virtually working and collaborating with 12 year old Amalia on Episode 7 “Barking Up the Right Tree” to grow her story seed about an athletic girl named Joy and her magical relationship with the oak tree in her backyard.

    In this bonus episode, Tracey shares her writing tips and shares a cool creativiity hack: how to take two very different things and bringing them together to create something entirely new in your writing!

    Books mentioned in this episode: Minecraft The Crash and The Jumbies series by Tracey Baptiste. The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm.

    Tracey’s Youtube channel which features her talks on Creativity Under Pressure (created during the COVID-19 pandemic)

    Calls to Action

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    Hey Listeners! Looking for ways to support our show? Well, now you can! Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    This episode is also available on our YouTube channel. Subscribe here.

    Show credits

    Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari

    www.literarysafari.com

  • This week’s quarantine edition of Story Seeds brings together two super imaginative Jersey girls: Tracey Baptiste (New York Times bestselling author of MINECRAFT: THE CRASH, as well as the creepy Caribbean series THE JUMBIES) and Amalia Tsampalis (age 12).

    Tracey helps Amalia grow this story idea:

    An athletic 12 year old girl loves to climb trees. Maybe this tree she loves to climb is in her backyard. It's really tall and there's not a lot of branches left. The personality of the tree is old and wise, and it's purposely losing its branches because it wants to create a challenge for the girl.

    Follow this adventure as Story Seeds creator Sandhya Nankani sits in for Betsy Bird to host Tracey and Amalia’s virtual collaboration via video chat where:

    They explore the power of nonverbal communication and brainstorm ideas for a wise tree characterThey create an athletic, strong, girl characterThey discover they both have Trinidadian roots and share stories about celebrating carnivalAmalia requests Tracey to weave her experiences of breaking an arm into the storyTracey documents her writing process in a series of voice memo diaries

    The episode concludes with this week’s story time (20:25) where Tracey reads the story she grew from Amalia’s story seed: Joy’s Challenge.

    Books and media mentioned in this episode: THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste and THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE series by Mary Pope Osborne.

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Betsy Bird is back next week to interview Tracey so do tune in to hear them chat about writing and staying creative in quarantine.

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    Hey Listeners! Looking for ways to support our show? Well, now you can! Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits

    This episode was produced and hosted by Sandhya Nankani. Co-producers are Anjali Sakhrani and Kayla Fedeson. Sound mixing, design, and score is by Ania Grezsik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari

    www.literarysafari.com

  • The Story Seeds Podcast theme song was written, composed, and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. Nowadays, he is a real-life, Grammy-nominated musician who tours the world with the band MGMT that he co-founded while in college. But, fun fact: like many of the creative rockstars featured on The Story Seeds Podcast, Andrew actually got his start making music as a child, using a Tascam four track tape machine to record! Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, he loved nature and playing outdoors with his friends, catching snakes and frogs and sometimes making little terrariums with the creatures they’d find.

    For this theme song, he was inspired by the magical and playful theme songs of classic children’s shows he watched as a child; shows such as Reading Rainbow, Maya the Bee, and David the Gnome.

    Calls to Action

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable Imagination Lab activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    Hey Listeners! Looking for ways to support our show? Well, now you can! Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    Our theme song song is also available to stream on YouTube. Subscribe here.


    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Carlos Hernandez, author of Rick Riordan Presents' Sal and Gabi series and winner of 2020 Pura Belpré Author Award. They go behind the scenes of Episode 6: The Paintbrush of Doom and talk about what it was like working with twins Siri and Zarana and growing their story seed (a girl who receives a magic paintbrush from her kooky aunt that turns whatever you paint, real! Things are going great as she creates dozens of hybrid creatures until ... upset by her friends' disbelief of the power of her paintbrush, she unleashes her anger on her canvas and paints a monster who comes alive!)

    On this bonus episode, Carlos also talks to Betsy about how his work as a board game and video game designer helped him write the SAL AND GABI books as well as the importance of being your truest, most kooky self.

    Books mentioned in this episode: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez Clockwork Phoenix Five by Mike Allen.

    Games mentioned in this episode: Dear Reader, Dungeons and Dragons

    Calls to Action

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    Hey Listeners! Looking for ways to support our show? Well, now you can! Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits

    Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • This week’s Story Seeds collaboration matches Carlos Hernandez (winner of the 2020 Pura Belpré Author Award and author of the Sal and Gabi series from Rick Riordan Presents) with 10 year old twins Siri and Zarana.

    Carlos collaborates with Siri and Zarana to grow their story idea:

    A girl who really loves to paint get a magic paintbrush from her kooky aunt on her 10th birthday. She uses it to paint the animals she loves, but it turns out that her imagination is opening up doorways to a locked, magical world that’s letting the animals from her paintings out into the real world.

    Join an imagination-filled Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as Carlos and the twins take a field trip to the Children's Museum of the Arts NYC to:

    Create clay landscapes in CMA's art studios while talking about silhouette painting and creativityDiscuss their inspiration for the story idea: the power of imagination and screentimeGrow a story about a main character who discovers what happens when she unleashes her anger and lets it take control of her creativity

    The episode concludes with this week’s storytime (17:00) where Carlos reads the story he grew from Siri and Zarana’s story seed: Citaria’s Paintbrush.

    Books and media mentioned in this episode: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez, A Wrinkle in Time by Margaret L'Engle, The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, and His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman.

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Carlos. You’ll get to hear more about his life as an author and a game designer.

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits

    Produced and written by Sandhya Nankani, Anjali Sakhrani, and Kayla Fedeson. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Rajani LaRocca (author of "Midsummer’s Mayhem," a Kirkus Best Book of 2019 and long-listed for the 2020 Massachusetts Book Award as a must-read title in MG/YA Literature.) They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like meeting Liyana and growing her story seed about a girl trying to fit in with her famous family with the help of a magic mirror on Episode 5 “The Hungry Mirror.”

    In this author interview, Rajani also shares tips on writing and talks about how, by working hard, she balanced her love of science and writing to become both a doctor and an award-winning author!

    Authors, books, and genres of writing mentioned in this episode: Shakespeare, Madeleine L'Engle, Richard Seltzer, William Carlos Williams

    Genres of writing mentioned in this episode: science fiction, fantasy, fairy tale

    Books mentioned in this episode: Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

    Snacks mentioned in this episode: carrot halva, chanachur

    Calls to Action

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab activity e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits

    Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • This week’s Story Seeds collaboration brings together 12 year old creative rockstar Liyana and Rajani LaRocca, author of the 2019 middle-grade hit Midsummer’s Mayhem (a Kirkus Best Book of 2019 and a Must Reads in the 2020 Massachusetts Book Awards) .

    Rajani helps Liyana grow this story seed:

    A girl who doesn’t fit in with her family of celebrities (her mom is a Bangladeshi supermodel and her dad is a Japanese soccer player) gets a magic mirror from a fairy

    Follow this magical Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as Rajani and Liyana:

    Go on a hunt at a New York City antique store to find an (almost) magic mirrorTalk about the 3 key ingredients for an excellent urban fairytale: fairies, fantasy, and foodCelebrate and represent biracial characters inspired by Liyana’s heritage

    The episode concludes with this week’s storytime (15:49) where Rajani reads the story she grew from Liyana’s story seed: Aina and the Mirror.

    Books and media mentioned in this episode: Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    Food mentioned in this episode: channachur, okra, hot dogs, pizza, and doughnuts

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Rajani. You’ll get to hear about not only her writing career, but wait ... guys ... she’s a doctor too!

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits

    Produced and written by Sandhya Nankani, Anjali Sakhrani, and Kayla Fedeson. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Aram Kim (author and illustrator of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Book of 2018 NO KIMCHI FOR ME.) They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like meeting Cici and growing her electric story seed about Queens’ new neighborhood superhero, Electric Kitty, on Episode 4 “Heroes and Queens.” They also talk about the significance of Queens in Aram and Cici's story–the most diverse borough in NYC and neighborhood in the country.

    On this bonus episode, Aram also shares her research process, writing tips for kids and grownups, and shares why getting through the first draft in one sitting can be really valuable. You'll also hear about how she got started in her career and pursued her passion of making art.

    Books and Media mentioned in this episode: Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, Blackout by John Rocco, Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim. Comic Books: Superman.

    Call to Action

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits: Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • This week’s Story Seeds collaboration brings together 7 year old creative rockstar Cici and Aram Kim, Elmhurst Queens-based Korean-American author and illustrator of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Book of 2018 "No Kimchi for Me."

    Aram Kim helps Cici grow this story seed about:

    Electric Kitty, a superhero who floats on blasts of light and fights evil electric things that try to take her superpowers.

    Follow along on an electrifying Story Seeds adventure with our host Betsy Bird as she introduces listeners to the genre of superhero stories, and as Aram Kim:

    Visits Cici’s home in Jackson Heights, Queens to meet her cat Nola, the inspiration behind Electric KittyHelps Cici develop Electric Kitty's character and superhero origin story using the 5Ws of storytellingInvites Cici to design and illustrate Electric Kitty’s boots-a-blazin' lookChronicles her own creative process and creates a tale about Electric Kitty’s face off with a menacing wind monster who wraps their Queens neighborhood in darkness

    The episode concludes with a storytime segment (16:29) where Aram, reads the original story she grew from Cici’s story seed: "Adventures of Electric Kitty: The Blackout."

    Books and media mentioned in this episode: Cat on the Bus, No Kimchi for Me, and Let's Go to Taekwondo by Aram Kim. Songs: "There's a Platypus Controlling Me” - Phineas and Ferb. Comic Books: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Panther.

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Aram. You'll get to go behind the scenes and hear how Aram got her start as a writer.

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits

    Produced and written by Sandhya Nankani and Anjali Sakhrani. Kayla Fedeson is our Associate Producer. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Chris Grabenstein (author of The New York Times best-selling Mr. Lemoncello's Library series). They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like growing Jasper’s giant story seed about Zeta Zingone, the 74 foot tall boy detective on Episode 3, “The View From the Top.”

    On this bonus episode, Chris shares tips and exercises on getting your imagination unstuck. He also talks to Betsy about his writing career: starting from the school newspaper, to his jobs in advertising creating commercials for Burger King with his buddy (and boss at the time) James Patterson, to finally becoming the best-selling author of books for kids.

    Books and Media mentioned in this episode:

    Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series by Chris GrabensteinDonna Cody: A Tall Tale by Jeanie MurphySwamp Angel by Anne IsaacsGulliver’s Travels by Jonathan SwiftThe John Ceepak Mysteries series by Chris GrabensteinThe Island of Dr. Libris by Chris GrabensteinDinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lesardo by William JoyceEncyclopedia Brown by Donald J. SobolWelcome to Wonderland by Anson SeabraI Funny series by James Patterson and Chris GrabensteinTreasure Hunters series by James Patterson, with Chris Grabenstein & Mark ShulmanJackie Ha-Ha by James Patterson & Chris GrabensteinHouse of Robot series by by James Patterson & Chris GrabensteinShine by JJ Grabenstein & Chris Grabenstein

    Call to Action

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits: Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • This week’s Story Seeds collaboration follows the one and only Chris Grabenstein, author of the NYTimes best-selling Mr. Lemoncello's Library series, and creative rockstar Jasper!

    Chris Grabenstein helps Jasper grow this idea:

    A story about a 74 foot tall mystery solver.

    Follow this special Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as:

    Chris invites Jasper over to his NYC apartment to chat about his giant story seed which is about a 12 year old boy detective named Zeta Zingone who is 74 feet tallThey talk about how to root even the wackiest and wildest storytelling ideas in logic and factsThey get a view from Chris' rooftop deck and imagine what it’s like to be 74 feet tall

    The episode concludes with this week’s storytime segment (15:55) where Chris reads the story he grew from Jasper’s story seed: The World’s Biggest Detective.

    Last but not least, this episode was recorded when Jasper was 12 years old. He is now 13, a proud teenager.

    Books mentioned in this episode: Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein. Tall Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind.

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Chris Grabenstein. He talks about getting his start by writing for the school newspaper and shares tips on how to write a great mystery.

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club and grow your own stories with the help of our Imagination Lab e-zines!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits

    Produced and written by Sandhya Nankani and Anjali Sakhrani. Kayla Fedeson is our Associate Producer. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by Nathan Miller. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Veera Hiranandani (author of the Newbery Honor-winning book THE NIGHT DIARY). They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like to grow 10 year old Willa’s story seed into the short story "Under the Maple Tree" for Episode 2 “From Homeschool to Public School."

    In this bonus episode, Veera also shares writing tips, including the importance of drawing inspiration from your own experiences and naming your characters. Plus, she talks about her writing life and tells us the cool story of her journey to becoming a published children's book author.

    Books and Media mentioned in this episode: The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani. Dora the Explorer. Spongebob Squarepants. Blue's Clues.

    Call to Action

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club!

    Imagination Lab: Download our e-zine for this episode which includes 8 pages of activities including writing prompts, a comic book organizer, a recipe for maple fudge, a call for submissions to design your OWN school, and MORE!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits: Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • This week’s Story Seeds collaboration follows Veera Hiranandani, author of the Newbery Honor winning novel The Night Diary, and 10 year old creative rockstar Willa!

    Veera Hiranandani helps Willa grow this story seed about:

    A girl and her mom live in the middle of the woods in a small cottage. She's never gone to school but she's learned all her school subjects through her surroundings. Suddenly, they were beginning to lose money, so her mom decides that she needs to get a job, and her daughter needs to go to a real school. This is a huge change for her, and she has to find a way to fit in in her new school.

    Follow Veera and Willa's Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as they:

    Meet in person and go on a tour of Willa’s school, The Blue School, in downtown New York CityBrainstorm ideas for Willa’s story seed and compare notes about their school experiencesChat about the importance of names and what it feels like to be a fish out of waterHash out the inciting incident

    The episode concludes with this week’s storytime segment (13:00) where our featured author, Veera Hiranandani, reads the story she grew from Willa’s story seed: Under the Maple Tree

    Books mentioned in this episode: The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani.

    Calls to Action

    Bonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Veera Hiranandani. You’ll get to hear about how she made her start as a writer and her secret connection to Dora the Explorer!

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club!

    Imagination Lab: Download our e-zine for this episode which includes 8 pages of activities including writing prompts, a comic book organizer, a recipe for maple fudge, a call for submissions to design your OWN school, and MORE!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits: Produced and written by Sandhya Nankani and Anjali Sakhrani. Kayla Fedeson is our Associate Producer. Scoring, mixing, and sound design is by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio was recorded by Julia Botero. Our host is Betsy Bird.

    Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

  • Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Dan Gutman (best-selling author of the My Weird School series). They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like growing 11 year old Hannah’s story seed in Episode 1 “The Magic Seed.”

    In this special bonus episode, Dan also tells us the story of how he became a published author, gives us a peek into his writing process, and shares a few writing tips for young writers!

    Books mentioned in this episode: My Weird School series and My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman.

    Call to Action

    Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club!

    Imagination Lab: Download our e-zine for this episode which includes 7 pages of activities including writing prompts, tips that Dan uses himself, an interview with a seed scientist from Columbia University, hands-on #STEAM experiments, and MORE!

    Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

    This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

    Show credits: Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird.

    The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com