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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Story Seeds: A Podcast for Our Time

Folks, there’s a thin line between letting you know about something and inundating you with information about it. But now that Story Seeds is up and running for real, I feel like I just have to sing its praises. So right off the bat here, let’s cover the basics:

  • I host more than one podcast. The one with my sister (Fuse 8 n’ Kate) is cute but it’s not professional. The professional one is Story Seeds, where authors are paired with kids and they write stories together.
  • Story Seeds has a pretty intuitive concept at its heart. “Story Seeds is a new podcast that reveals the creative and writing process, models the value of deep listening and collaboration between children and adults, and shares great, diverse stories that inspire kids to write, imagine, and be curious about their world.” Simple, right?
  • Story Seeds also debuted in the midst of COVID-19, and at a time when we increasingly seek entertainment and enlightenment for our kids, what could be better than a show that not only validates their story ideas but makes it clear that any kid with a great idea can be creative. And boy howdy has it taken off. Since the show launched last month it’s been featured in The New York Times, Book Riot, Stuff.nz, Wired, NPR, and School Library Journal. It was also featured by Apple iTunes/Podcasts in their New and Noteworthy and Adventures and Stories categories. Here is its official press release, in case you’re curious.
  • Why the popularity? Well, it does kind of have one heck of a killer line-up. Observe:
Click on this list to get a closer look.

So here’s the thing about podcasts and audio books. I kind of consider them on par with comics in terms of the amount of respect they have vs. what they deserve. When you think about it, research has shown that audio books not only benefit struggling readers and bring families together, but also fit quite neatly within newly accepted standards for early literacy education. Podcasts, likewise, also have the potential to be a powerful tool for learning. In fact, this very week, School Library Journal wrote in its feature “Podcasts to Pair with CSLP’s Summer Reading Theme”, that “podcasts can help educators engage learners from afar.” And Story Seeds was on its middle school playlist

All well and good, but if a podcast is just a podcast, what good does it do you? Hence the Imagination Lab activity zines. Essentially the Imagination Lab is a series of fun & free activity e-zines, one for each episode of the podcast. They include writing prompts, nonfiction articles to dive deeper into episode themes, art pages, hands-on STEAM experiments, flash fiction, and calls for kids’ submissions. They’re just these really great companion kits to delve into after you listen to each episode. If you’re curious, the first one is up and it’s inspired by Episode One: The Magic Seed and the collaboration between 11-year-old Hannah from Minnesota and Dan Gutman, author of the My Weird School series. Check it outhttps://www.storyseedspodcast.com/imaginationlab

And speaking of Dan Gutman, he’s has been doing daily readalouds on his Facebook Live page. This weekend, he will do a BONUS live read aloud of “The Magic Seed” in celebration of Earth Day 2020 and for the launch of The Story Seeds Imagination Lab. If you want to hear him read it, log on to his Facebook page on Saturday, April 25 at 2 pm East Coast Time right here.

Look, you know me. When I do a job I like to do it right. And this podcast is doing a lot of things right. So check it out, stick around, and enjoy it. I know I do.

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.