Spotlight on Story Box Library
by Nicole Brownlee
It is a place where children can be completely engaged in the traditional art of storytelling, meaning the focus is on the storyteller as much as the tale.
Given that each of our titles is unique, we aim to match each story with a suitable storyteller. As a result, we now have a variety of storytellers with diverse backgrounds. Actors, authors, musicians, sportspeople, grandparents, educators, and people from different cultures - the list goes on.
Some of the great connections we have made include Nick Cave reading Aaron Blabey’s The Ghost Of Miss Annabel Spoon; African refugee Mariam Issa reading Irene Kobald and Freya Blackwood’s My Two Blankets; and Justine Clarke reading Bob Graham’s Greetings From Sandy Beach. The thing that our storytellers all have in common is that they call Australia home.
Leading publishers across the country regularly share their upcoming releases with us. We are highlighting quality Australian authors and illustrators, so they are happy to support us. There are also timely triggers, like special occasions and the Australian school curriculum, that inspire us to seek out particular types of stories.
A lot of research goes into the process and the end selection is a collaborative team effort. We all have a love and appreciation of children’s literature and often refer to choices our kids and their friends are making. I visit my local library and bookstores on a weekly basis, always on the lookout for new books. If the story is of great quality and reads aloud well, we will consider it!
We also produce a range of short films, which highlight the work of some of our favourite Australian authors and illustrators. We started with our Ambassadors Anna Walker and Gus Gordon, and now have clips featuring Aaron Blabey, Mitch Vane and Danny Katz, along with an interview with Andy Griffiths. We have so many exciting ideas that we want to develop and will continue to build on them as we grow. Right now, we are gearing up for our 100th story release, which is due to take place in early 2016. We are incredibly proud of our achievements given that we began in 2013 with around 20 titles! (Check out the Story Box Library Song animation on Vimeo.)
Feedback we have been receiving suggests that the stories featured on Story Box Library are being used as facilitators for discussion in classrooms and libraries, whilst simultaneously providing a resource that teachers and librarians can come to for ideas and inspiration. Parents, in particular, are enjoying the fact that it provides educational content for their children with many referring to our storytellers as read aloud models. Perhaps the thing we are most delighted about is that our content is something that children can take pride in, recognise themselves in, and feel connected to.
We offer various 12-month subscription packages including school, public library and family memberships. Additionally, schools and public libraries can sign up for a 30-day FREE no obligation trial.
Once you join as a member you receive access to our entire library of stories, which can be viewed on any device that has Internet access.
BIO: Nicole Brownlee worked as a bookseller, sales rep, teacher and teacher-librarian before starting her own completely self-funded digital storytelling business Story Box Library almost three years ago. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and supportive husband.