Archive for the ‘Making Storytime’ Category

Storytime Issue 97 Out Now!


They say that when we turn eight, you become a ‘big kid’. Oh well… we are now eight, and we feel that we have grown a lot alongside our readers! Storytime has built an amazing library of stories, we have created a wealth of extra activities every month, we have created digital issues and we have made every story available in audio form for bedtime and reading along!


Our dream of becoming the place you could go to for the best stories, in any format you like, is now real! And guess what? We couldn’t be prouder to create a magazine that is loved by so many children all over the world. To know that kids in over sixty countries are reading and cherishing out stories in a dream coming true… a dream that started in September 2014!


Storytime Issue 97 – Happy Birthday to Us!


So what are we doing to celebrate our eighth birthday? We are bringing eight fantastic new stories to the party! We made sure that many fabulous creatures were invited. The host will be Queen Koko, the most fabulous gorilla you will ever meet! She really did exist, and she was super clever too. She learned to communicate using sign language and loved kittens (like we do too)! If that’s not enough to melt your heart, Josh Cleland will make sure you fall in love with his illustrations!


What party would be complete without a dragon story? Moe Ali makes The Dragon of the North take over our centre spread and this epic scene shall make everyone curious to read our fairy tale! Will the magic ring of King Salomon hold as much power as it promises? And will you be able to spot all the treasures in this story?


You know we have loved animal tales from the start and have featured hundreds of them – because animals make us laugh and teach us valuable lessons, too! The Fox and the Leopard is about two beasts who get into a debate about who looks the most fabulous – but in the end it’s the wise tortoise who teaches us that we are all beautiful in our own way. And we hope you know that you are beautiful too – just the way you are! Tomislav Zlatic had fun with these fab line-up of forest creatures.


If you need cuddles and a little mystery, then The Goblin in the Garden might interest you! The brand new Worlds of Wonder section will take you to magical places where the most wonderful adventures can happen! This one is set in an old garden – which shows that enchanting things can happen even in the most ordinary places. Lauren Emmon makes it extra-special with her soft shades and beautiful compositions.


But since we are talking about wonders… we are also bringing one of the Seven Wonders of the World into this special issue! (We think Storytime should be the eighth wonder, of course – did we mention we are eight and wonderful too? Yay!) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were famous for their beauty in ancient times, and Sara Michieli helps us to imagine what they would have been like. If you would like to learn more, our Teaching Resource pack this month is all about wonders – old and new!


Our bedtime story is about a classic English hero and making friends… because we would like to remind our readers that the best things in life are the ones we share! Share a picnic, share a skill, share a story! Do it together and create life-long memories. Robin’s Picnic is all about sharing – and it’s made even more vibrant by the illustrations, provided by the talented Lauren May!


It’s back-to-school time too, so we thought you would have fun reading about How the Alphabet Was Made! Rudyard Kipling had a great take on that, so we brought his wonderful tale to the party, along with superb illustrations of Estrella Bascunan. We hope you will giggle along Taffy’s ideas and spellings – and don’t forget to make your own words in the Playbox! There are many alphabets and stories about how they were invented, but this is certainly one of our favourites!


Our eighth story in this issue is a Chinese folk tale about a very clever girl who becomes The Young Head of the Family. She solves problems and riddles and has brilliant ideas and we hope you will agree that Carol Rempto’s art is equally brilliant. When have you seen a girl arriving riding a buffalo before? That has got to be a first!


To wrap this celebratory issue in style we are happy to present – drum roll – our latest competition: Create a Comic! It’s open to all readers aged 4- 9, and we are inviting you all to create a comic strip starring your favourite animal! It can be funny, cute, sci-fi or zany, but it should be totally original! We have created an awesome accompanying pack of resources for this competition which you can download here – and you can use it for help and inspiration! The winner will be published in Storytime next year – and it will be our first-ever comic strip in the magazine! How exciting is that?


We will be eating cake and blowing candles all month long, and we are wishing that your month too is sprinkled with sugar and decorated with rainbow icing! Thank you for being such awesome readers and for loving our stories! Here is to many more years and tales to come!


With love from all of us at Storytime Towers!

Storytime Issue 96 Out Now!


We are getting into party mode here, preparing to our Anniversary Issue in September and looking at all things we should celebrate. It just so happens that this month’s issue of Storytime is full of reminders about things we should treasure…at all times!


Storytime Issue 96 – Reasons to Celebrate


First, there is the joy of music. Our cover story, The Marvellous Musicians is a fun fairy tale about three animals who are enchanted by the tunes a wandering minstrel plays. It’s an old tale from the Brothers Grimm, but we decided to give it a Storytime twist – but we won’t spoil the new ending! Caro Vázquez makes the animals stars extra-cute, and his art really conveys the joy that music brings – especially on the issue’s festival-themed cover art. So if you need a pick-me-up, why not put some music on and boogie down?


Another kind of performance captivates a young boy in Will’s Play Time. When a troupe of strolling players visit Stratford-upon Avon, his dad takes him to a show, and it inspires him to come up with plays with his friends. Of course, you might have guessed this story is about young William Shakespeare! It was challenging to write because very little is known for certain about his early years – but we used the information we do have as a basis for an imaginative tale about how he might have seen his first play. The artist LaPiz really brought the Elizabethan times to life with her colourful and expertly researched illustrations. In this age of streaming, it can be easy to forget how exciting a live performance can be. If you have the chance, why not go to a play at your local theatre?


With summer vibes in the air and holidays still on, we can also enjoy parties and ditch the bedtime curfew! The wonderful Indonesian tale of The Crocodile’s Gift is about a girl who wants to go to a prince’s big celebration. Her wicked stepmother and stepsister take her best sari – but she is given a golden one and special sandals to wear by a benevolent and enchanted crocodile! It’s a Cinderella of sorts, but all the action happens in the gorgeous Maluku Islands, and the twist is all down to a bask of crocodiles – and the gorgeous art by Navya Raju.


If you aren’t in the mood for a concert, a play or a party, then you can always enjoy a good book! That’s what little Yaya is looking for in The Mystery in the Library – but she finds something much stranger instead… This story is by Fleur Doornberg-Puglisi, and her love for books and libraries certainly shines through! It is perfectly complemented by the art of Marcos de Mello, who populates the setting with vibrant characters. Have you picked your summer reads already? We hope we are in it!


When it comes to small pleasures to celebrate, you can’t forget about food! The treats that are comforting in winter are less appealing in the hot summer months, though… That’s the problem faced by Melody, the possessor of a magical porridge pot and the main character in A Summer Treat. However, this time she comes up with a new recipe that is healthy, delicious and cooling – a kind of Bircher muesli that’s really yummy! The art by Giorgia Broseghini – predictably, looks good enough to eat.


Continuing the theme of food, this issue also includes the fish-flavoured tale of The Heron’s Breakfast. Lorena Bayona’s fun and funny artwork takes this story of a bird outwitted by a minnow to a whole new level! It’s a reminder for us not to be too picky and enjoy the servings that come our way…


What would be of summer without the company of good friends? Friends should definitely be cherished – but this is a lesson that an untrustworthy fish learns in the Nigerian fable of Why the Fish Lives in the Sea. Ani Manzanas provided the lovely animal art – and she somehow makes it seem totally natural for a fish to be walking around on land!


And finally, we have the inspirational story of The Mighty Viking, with suitably epic illustrations by the very talented Gabi Tozati. Hervor is a little girl determined to follow in her father’s footsteps, and will not let sea serpents or her embroidery lessons get in her way. Perhaps that’s the most important thing that we need to remember and celebrate – the fact that we can make choices and follow our dreams!


We hope these stories will fill your summer with joy and you feel like sharing stories with your loved one! We can’t wait to share great news next month when we will have even more to celebrate!


Keep cool and keep reading, folks!


The Storytime team

Storytime Issue 95 Out Now!


Here at Storytime, we believe that stories should be about fun, first and foremost! Reading for fun if the first step to falling in love with the habit of reading and sticking to it for life!

But for a story to connect with readers, it has to be about something that matters. Even if it wasn’t created as a moral story to teach us a lesson, a good tale should make us think about the world in a new way and give us new insights. With that in mind, we would like to tell you about the stories that will be featured in our latest issue. And since it’s summer, we travelled far and away – watch out for all the marvellous places we have gone to!


Storytime Issue 95 – A Different Point of View


Our cover story comes all the way from New Zealand! The Sea King is about what happens when some land-dwelling humans insult the monarch of the deeps, and he sends his fish armies to teach them a lesson! Though it is very much a fantasy tale, it is also about how arguments can escalate – which is especially relevant today! Who would you agree with? Thing about how our differences can be solved while spotting all the colourful sea life in this story! Giulia di Cara is the artist responsible for the illustrations and the magnificent cover art, and we are sure you will agree he adds a touch of wonder to proceedings.


This month’s fairy tale is The Little Singing Frog, which tells a version of a classic tale with a very special twist. Even the sun plays a part in it! We really don’t want to spoil it, but you will never read that certain classic story the same way again! Rita Ribeiro Lopes has obviously sprinkled some of her fairy dust on the lovely art, too.


You might not know this, but the Storytime team are big fans of science fiction. We take you out of this world with The Moon Pirates, which was inspired by the question of how our gadgets might feel if we threw them away! The dynamic duo of Mado Peña and Ernest Sala did an absolutely fantastic job designing cute little A-HAB and his robotic shipmates, and we hope you enjoy this tale from a robot’s point of view!


But what would the world look like for a tiny plant in a field? That’s the idea behind The Wild Weed! After its taller and more glamorous friends are plucked by young kids, the weed makes some new friends and finds a purpose in life. This fable was illustrated by the very talented Giulia Quagli, who has a great feel for nature! And on this note, do not forget to download the Spotter’s Guide in this issue and go outside to spot some blooms this summer!


The Forest Guardian whisks us across the world to the Amazon rainforest, which is protected by a mysterious (and mischievous!) creature called the Curupira! The story is told from the point of view of an Amazonian native Indian whose forests are threatened by mining companies. Again, this is a magical tale – but it touches on important issues at a time when rainforests are getting cut down and jungle tribes are being forced out of their ancestral lands. Carlitos Pinheiro knows the Amazon well, and he really brings it to life in his colourful and vibrant illustrations!


Stories can help us to travel through time as well! The Kind Doctress takes place in the early 19th century and tells the true story of Mary Seacole who grew up in Jamaica in the early 19th century and grew up to become a famous nurse. We’re big fans of historical stories, as they give us a chance to explore another era through the eyes of its inhabitants. Sabrina Filieri did lots of research to create art that is both historically accurate and wonderful to look at!


Dusk and Dawn is a fantastic story about two servants of the Old Man in the Sky, who can only meet at Midsummer. Kate Malohatko‘s lush, colourful art adds another layer of enchantment to a story about loving someone and being separated from them – which is something we can all identify with.


And lastly, you will never look at bathtime the same way after reading The Tin Soldier’s Underwater Adventure! It stars the toy soldier and the ballerina from Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved story. The phenomenal Giorgia Broseghini illustrated the tale of what happens when they are scooped up and dumped into hot and soapy water as they experience bath night for the first time! Oh how much fun it can be!


Which of these places would you like to explore? We hope they will inspire you to love the oceans, protect the forests and remember to look up to the beautiful skies every night and spot the brightest star. It’s a wonderful world we live in and there are plenty of stories to share with you about it!


Enjoy a Summer of stories, peeps!


The Storytime team

Storytime Issue 94 Out Now!


You know what is really special about stories? They allow us to meet a variety of fascinating characters that are different from us! We get to spend time with them, and can learn from them as well. Let’s meet the fascinating friends you will make in the latest issue of Storytime!


Storytime Issue 94 – Meet New, Interesting Friends!


The title character from the story of The Clever Frog in this month’s issue is a very smart and charming chap named Giuseppe. He likes to read and learn things, and he knows many interesting facts. The problem is, he is very proud of being clever – and this stops him from asking for help when needed! Perhaps you don’t have green skin or webbed toes… but can you think of a time when you were like Giuseppe and were too proud (or shy!) to get assistance from others? Anastasiia Bielik did a wonderful job bringing this funny character to life with her illustrations!


You might have a pet for a friend – but we can guarantee that it is nothing like Bastet! The Egyptian cat-goddess has powers that protect her land – and she also has a fierce temper. In Bastet Goes Missing, you will learn about this cool character and other gods from Egyptian mythology. The art by Forrest Burdett really adds to the comedy of this fun story.


Feeling out of place in a new situation is something that we can all relate to – and sometimes we just want a friend who accepts us for who we are! The Thing in the Woods is about a boy named Elliott, who is packed away to summer camp. He doesn’t know anyone and wants some peace and quiet… so he slips away and ends up meeting a mysterious new friend! Nocturnis is a cuddly purple creature who shares stories about the magical land he comes from, and we get to share Elliott’s wonderful experience through this tale. Ekaterina Savic did the lush art for the tale – and even came up with the cool design for the creature, which graces the issue’s cover.


Not everybody can be a champion at a sport, but we can all be inspired by the determination of Billie Jean King, who you will meet in this month’s real-life tale. The Ace tells us about how she discovered her passion for tennis and never gave up on her dream of becoming a champion. (Think of something that you are passionate about – and imagine what you could accomplish if you worked as hard as Billie Jean did!) Irene Saluzzi illustrated this story, and used photos of the real people featured in it as reference. She did a fantastic job of capturing their likenesses in her own beautiful style – and she’s certainly a champion to us, too!


The Ugly Duckling is one of the best-known characters from the classic stories of Hans Christian Andersen, and in this month’s bedtime story you will get to hang out with him after he became a swan. It turns out that he is still a bit lonely – but he finds some new and unlikely friends in The Swan’s Nest, illustrated by the amazing Giorgia Broseghini.


What would it be like to never be scared of anything? If you want to find out, you could ask The Girl Who Knew No Fear. The title character is a cool girl who sets off to find out what ‘fear’ actually is, and has fabulous adventures along the way. Go along with her by reading this tale – and be sure to check out the lovely artwork courtesy of Fanny Liem.


Some people are always positive, and their good mood can be infectious! So why not spend some time with Lucky Hans, who looks on the bright side of life – even when things go wrong? He shows us how gratitude and positivity can help us get through the darkest times! We’re grateful that Roger Simó agreed to create the art for this tale, as he did a fantastic job of capturing the hero’s happy-go-lucky attitude!


And lastly, we have The Sun’s Tale, featuring illustrations by the very talented Giovanni Abeille. It is a story literally told by the Sun as she tells the Wind and the rain about the things she has seen and done as she soars through the sky. By reading this story, it’s almost as if the Sun is telling you the tale herself – and it’s filled with magic and wonder.


We hope you will enjoy hanging around with all the wonderful characters in our latest issue this month. May this summer be the biggest adventure of all!


Happy story time everyone!


The Storytime team

Illustrator Interview with Julia Cherednichenko


Illustrator Interview with Julia Cherednichenko


This month, we are thrilled to have the chance to sit down and chat to the amazing Ukrainian artist Julia Cherednichenko. She did the wonderful illustrations for The Curly-Tailed Lion in Storytime 93, and we are keen to find out more about her work!


1. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?


Looking back now, I can see that an extraordinary combination of circumstances brought me to this point. I still feel as if there was some magic involved, or that the universe intended things to work out this way. I’ll try to explain!

I have doing art all my life, but it was just a hobby. When I was 8 or 9 years old, my parents enrolled me in art school, but I left a year later because of health reasons. My formal training as an artist ended. But when you have a passion, some things become inevitable. All my life, my passion was creating things with my hands. I drew, sculpted, embroidered, sewed, and took photos – but those were just hobbies that were good for my soul.

Sometimes, other people told me that I have a talent for art and craft. “You should be an artist,” they said. However, what does it mean to be an artist? To just have talent is not enough!

You need to immerse yourself in the profession. That is how you get knowledge, experience and good mentors. You should have your own motivation to improve your professional skills – and just as important, there should be a pleasant atmosphere around you.

In the society where I grew up and studied, becoming a professional artist was quite difficult, so many budding artists choose other careers. That’s what happened to me.

First, I became an international economist, and then I worked as a manager for 3 years. Everything seemed okay, but I felt that I was not in the right place, and that I was living somebody else’s life, not mine. The first war in the eastern part of Ukraine in 2014 changed everything for me.

I had to move to another part of my country. It was a difficult but very important time for me. During this long ‘trip’ I realized a lot of things. One was that I didn’t want to be a manager or economist anymore. I needed to change something, take control of my life, and choose what I wanted to do. Most of all, I dreamed of changing the world. To make it better, to have make an impact on it, to bring beauty. At that time, I didn’t have any idea about how to do this. I just wanted to find out how to move forward. The answer soon arrived!

One night 7 years ago, I had a dream. It was very beautiful and so realistic. It gave me all the answers I needed. My subconscious told me that I should draw children’s books, that I am an artist, and that I shouldn’t forget this. If I wanted to change something, I should do it right now. The next morning, I got up and I knew who I was. That dream changed everything in my life.

At 25, I made a conscious choice to become an artist and draw children’s books, and to improve my skills in illustration and design. Creating art is my way to be heard, to have a chance to make this world a little better.

2. How did you develop your artistic skills and make a career out of art?


Just two words – learning and practice. Every day, I learn something new. I try to discover things that help me to develop in all ways. For example, every morning I read a useful book and watch an instructional video. I have attended a lot of masterclasses and online courses in illustration, design, writing, and even the art of planning. This helps me to develop myself and my skills every day.

As far as professional skills go – for me, the basic step was education. As I said, I had decided to become an artist in a very dark time. I knew that I wanted to start doing graphic design. I didn’t know anything in this field – I had some knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator software, but that wasn’t enough. There was so much more to learn. I think that when you choose art as a profession, you should be ready to study for your whole life.

At that time, my main questions were: “How do I avoid getting lost?”, “How do I make sure I don’t miss important information?” and “How do I make the right choices in my design studies?” It was too much for me at first.

I understood that one day I want to be a very good professional. Therefore, I had to learn from professionals and complete a good education programme that would help me to improve my skills, become competitive, and develop as a creator. I found all these things during my education as a graphic designer.

I had the chance to learn so many things that I wouldn’t have discovered on my own. I wouldn’t have known about lots of important techniques. When you have a general understanding of what a field includes, you can improve yourself in any direction. This is how I got into illustration.

3. Who are your favourite artists? Also, are there other people who have inspired you?


Oh, that’s a very hard question! There are so many artists with so many beautiful works that it can be difficult to decide which ones I like best. I love many different illustrators and designers. I’ll list some of them: Carson Elis, Rebecca Green, Julia Sarda, Rebecca Dautremer, Giulia Pintus, Jean Jullien, Anton Van Hertbrugge and many more. I also have to mention Utagawa Kunisada and my favourite, Picasso. This list could be longer! I am also inspired by fiction and nonfiction literature, adventure movies, anything that can capture my eyes or heart. It can be a book, an artwork, a movie, a ballet, an opera, or a theatre performance. I’m especially inspired by the passion of creators.


4. What media and techniques do you use to create your art? Are there any that you would like to experiment with?


Most of my drawings are created using either mixed or digital techniques on my iPad and laptop. I can’t say that I work only in Procreate, for example, or in Photoshop. I’m an illustrator and designer – so I use many programs, such as Procreate and Designer on the iPad and Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and many more on the laptop for creating illustrations and layouts for books, packaging or products. Besides using digital stuff, I work with traditional techniques – pencils, markers, ink, gouache, acrylic and stamps. I like to mix textures and elements created using traditional techniques with digital illustration. It is interesting to experiment with different means of expression in projects.

Before starting the illustration/book/packaging, I need to understand what style and technique will work best and what new and unexpected possibilities I’ll have by changing the means of creation.

I feel that I have to experiment more with traditional techniques. For example, to work more with hand-drawing and sketching and mixing traditional materials and digital art in one picture. Such experiments can give more freedom, but it also take more time and don’t always work for a project.

5. What are your favourite subjects to draw? (We have noticed that you are particularly good at doing animals, which made you a natural choice for doing our recent story about a celebrity lion!)


Oh, thank you very much! It doesn’t really matter to me whether I draw people or animals or nature. The main thing is the idea, soul and hidden meaning of the illustration. In every picture and every character, I try to put a little part of my vision and feelings, something from my experiences, memories, or situations that will evoke emotions in people. It doesn’t matter to me who the character is. I’ll do my best to ‘believe in’ every figure. When you can look at the picture and understand what the character feels, or catch the thought – “Oh, it’s true, it’s about me, it’s me!”

In general, maybe yes, I draw animals more often. I like to observe animals – they are funny, cute and unpredictable. I can imagine any amusing situation with them. Moreover, I have a dog and a cat at home, and I often make sketches and illustrations about their relationship. Sometimes they are so weird! I just have to show this in my pictures. In one sentence, it is never boring with them.

Nevertheless, please don’t think that I only draw animals! I have many illustrations of people, especially children. For example, I have been creating a book for the last 6 months in which there are more than 100 characters, both children and adults. It is a work in progress now, so I don’t know the exact number. Anyway, I hope it will appeal to children all over the world when it comes out!

6. We recently had a chance to read a wonderful book that you wrote and illustrated! What inspired you to create Grandpa is Five Again?


I’ll describe to you my thoughts and feelings at that time. Before I started work on this book, I decided to find out more about the process of writing and storytelling. My work is connected with creating books (especially picture books) and pictures for stories, so I have to know not only how to draw, but also how to write text and build a world for the story – how to create it using words as well as illustrations. I thought this knowledge would help me in the illustration process. I wanted to know more, to be better as a professional, and to improve myself. To skip ahead, yes, it did work for me!

I discovered that the process of storytelling is exciting for me, and I came up with so many ideas. Moreover, I wanted to create them with words and pictures. It could be my way to help somebody, to change something, to make this world slightly better by touching the feeling and thoughts of other people, children and adults alike.

Grandpa is Five Again is such a book. It is a picture book about a small boy who has lost his best friend forever. It is difficult but important to talk about death, and I tried to approach it in a fresh way. I talk about how a small child deals with this situation, the sadness and loneliness, using play and imagination. How can this help them to process memories, friendship and love as well as sorrow? I try to explain things from the point of view of a child, in a light and funny way.

I chose this topic because I feel that people often avoid talking about death. I can understand why. It is very hard for adults to deal with emotions that come from it. We get into the habit of protecting ourselves from sad emotions and avoiding difficult topics, and we want to protect children in such a way, too. In lots of families this topic isn’t discussed, because nobody knows what to say.

We need to talk with children about it. We should show them that these emotions are normal, and that death is a part of life. We shouldn’t be scared, because we can’t lose somebody who is in our heart.

I have tried to write a very kind and honest story, full of love, and to create honest illustrations for it. I chose to use traditional techniques (gouache and ink), with a limited color palette for the same reason. It is the most honest way to portray this topic.

I found this idea so important to share with children and adults all over the world – especially now, in hard times, when so many people have lost their homes and families in our country. I am hoping to find the publisher for this book.


7. What projects would you like to work on in the future? Do you have any lined up that you would like to tell us about?


It is a little hard to talk about future plans, but I will try. I am concentrating my attention on two fields: children’s illustration for books and magazines, and packaging designs for brands. Both fields inspire me very much and I have many ideas to offer. So I’d like to find companies and publishers that share my views and aspirations. At the beginning of this year, I had thoughts about organising my own exhibition, but I didn’t manage to begin this process before the war in Ukraine started. I hope I’ll have a better chance in the future, maybe this year or next year.
To talk about my current job. I have two big projects that should be finished soon. One project is a children’s book for a private client. I will have it finished before June if the situation in Ukraine is okay. I’m working on the second project now with a lovely Ukrainian clothing brand. I have three projects that I have been working on for the past four months, but two of them have been delayed because of the situation in Ukraine. One project, with a product and packaging design about Ukraine, will come out soon in May.

This year, I want to find an illustration agency that can represent me in other countries. Of course, I hope to continue working with your magazine. I hope to work more with international publishers and brands, and to find a publisher for my book, Grandpa Is Five Again. I want to continue writing and creating my projects. I feel inspired by this field, and hopefully you will have a chance to see the results soon!

8. What can you tell us about your creative process? How do you find inspiration and plan your work?


It depends on the project. Sometimes it is easy to find an idea, and sometimes I need to spend a lot of time searching, looking for something, even though I don’t know what it is. This process may be familiar to many other creators! When I have a project, I need to find the best concept for its realization.

When I begin, I make a small plan of the project. I write down and draw out roughly what is going to be in each section. During this process, I search for information concerning the project. It can be anything – books, pictures, articles, photos, all of these can help me to figure out the concept. I just put little pencil marks where I think things have to be, because I realize that I can forget about something. I need to see all the details, thoughts and ideas and capture the whole picture of the illustration for the book or packaging.

I create a big mood board and brainstorm for each project. Most of all, I try to find many photos of the people or things that I need to draw. There can be pictures with lovely colors, clothes, patterns or details that I can use to help me create. If I need historical information, I look it up in articles, books etc.

I am inspired by the world around me. My main goal is to be attentive. I don’t close my eyes. Even if I don’t have a project in progress, I still need to observe everything around me (people, situations, nature, things). On the other hand, I am inspired by movies, books, and art of all kinds – especially from different nations, the ancient world, and epochs from medieval to modern times. Different styles of painting, architecture, clothes, and design are very inspiring.

After this, when I have my mood board and concept ready, I start my creative process. I try to work for no more than 6 hours every day (not including weekends) because I believe the best results are achieved when I’m well rested and full of energy. It is very important for me to have a good work/life balance. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way – but I do my best!


9. Like everyone else, we are looking on with shock at what is happening in your home country. Do you find that being creative helps in some small way to deal with such tragic events?


Yes, in some way. Art has already saved and changed my life. Nowadays, it helps me very much as well. At first, you are shocked and you can’t do anything. Then you have a choice about what information you want to concentrate your attention on. Art is a very personal thing. Every person can express their emotions without words, just using visual symbols, and it helps to unravel your thoughts and keep conscious in any unexpected and unpredictable situation. It can be very helpful to make a daily routine. My daily routine is creation. When I don’t have words, I can talk in the language of art. I have a choice about what to think, feel or do. My choice is to continue creating in any situation.

10. Is there a final message you would like to share with our readers? How can we support Ukrainian artists more?


Be creative, be brave, be yourself. In any situation. do what you can. Be inspired. Keep finding the way forward for yourself. Do only what you want in your soul. The life is short. Don’t stop improving yourself.

I think nowadays that any support is worth much more than we can imagine. I think that the main mission of the creative world is to inform other artists that they are not alone. I feel that many artists have lost themselves in these hard times. They lost their way, their inspiration, and their job. Most of them don’t know that their art is wanted by people in other countries. There are so many creators who are afraid to enter the international market for various reasons, such as language barriers, a lack of information or a lack of self-confidence.

The best way to support Ukrainian artists is to talk to them. To inform them that their art is still wanted all over the world. That European publishers are open to working with the best Ukrainian illustrators and designers, that you are ready to receive their portfolios. Thinking in such a way, we can find so many ways to give support – through exhibitions, portfolio reviews, organization, and supporting art events for illustrators, designers and all other creators in Ukraine and all over the world.

There isn’t only one right way to help. We can find many solutions to support Ukrainian creators. In any case, the most important step is to continue informing other artists that they are not alone.


Storytime Issue 93 Out Now!


In good times and in less-good times, we humans need other people. It can be for help and support – or to share joyful events! This month’s Storytime is full of stories about the ways in which we connect with others.


Storytime Issue 93 – Things That Bring Us Together


Egbert is the star of our modern-day tale, A Troll’s Day Out. As one might expect, he is cranky and grumpy and lives under a bridge like most trolls do. But when he is driven out by his mum’s spring cleaning, he finds his way to the park, and makes some friends! Playing with them changes his mood for the better, and it turns out to be a special day he will never forget. As Egbert discovers, connecting with others can expand our horizons and make us happy.


A Troll’s Day Out features the winning picture from our Happiness Is… competition. It was created by the very talented Romeesa Adil (aged 6), from the Arab Unity School in Dubai. Congratulations to Romeesa, and a big thank you to everybody who entered the contest! Andres Hertsens created the fun art for this tale, and his design for Egbert is quirky and cool!


Holidays become really special when we get to spend them with friends, and that is the theme of Holidays with Heidi (inspired by the classic novel Heidi by Johanna Spyri). Klara goes to the countryside and the girls go on an alpine adventure. What makes this bedtime story especially lovely are the illustrations by Giorgia Broseghini. She lives near the Alps herself, and her love for the landscape really shines through.


Another holiday-centric story is The Mooncake. The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in that country, and little Hao loves to share it with his granny. She enjoys his company and gives him a tasty mooncake as a treat but his brother has his sight on it. Anastasia Zababashkina uses her incredible skills to create art for this story that is just as sweet and light as a mooncake!


But while enjoying a cake by yourself can be nice, it can be even more pleasant to share it with someone. That is the idea behind The First Strawberry, a legend from the Sioux people. The first man and the first woman argue, and the woman leaves their home – but the sun creates berries in her path to try and stop her! When the woman tastes the fruit, she hopes to share it with the one she loves. Why not take a leaf from their book and share a treat with someone you like today too? Alisa Kosareva’s art for this tale is positively luminous – you could swear that you could reach out and taste the strawberries!


Welcome to Lazy Town! is a story with a moral about how life is better when we work together. That’s a lesson that the people of Lazy Town must learn the hard way, as they can’t be bothered to pick up their litter or even cut up a tree that falls on the main road. Hanna Harris provided the bright, fun artwork, which shows us how the determined mayor manages to motivate the inhabitants. Great leaders can bring us all together – and be inspiring!


A similar theme can be found in the Greek myth of The Contest of the Gods. The snake-tailed hero Cecrops becomes the king of a group of warlike tribes and convinces them to unite and build a mighty city. It is so grand that two gods compete to be its guardian, in fact! Special credit must go to Gabriel San Martin, who brings the mythical age to life with his illustrations.


Creativity and wonder are in our real life tale this month! A Head Full of Colours tells the true story of famous artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Though he had talent from a young age, the New York native discovered graffiti by teaming up with schoolfriends and making his own mark on the city. His vibrant murals bridged the gap between fine art and street art and is still inspirational today. To illustrate this story, we chose to work with Leandro Lassmar, whose own wonderful creations are partly inspired by Basquiat. We hope you find them as amazing as we do!


And lastly, we have the cover story of The Curly-Tailed Lion. Though it is set hundreds of years ago, this tale of a lion who becomes a celebrity in the Netherlands is still relevant in this age of social media! The lion becomes very popular, but soon finds himself stressed as people make more and more demands of him. It is only when his looks fade and ‘lion-mania’ dies down that he finds happiness with a lioness and friends who love him for who he is. There is a lesson there for all of us – being popular is OK, but it’s no substitute for real friendships!


The art for this story is by the phenomenally talented Ukrainian artist Julia Cherednichenko. We will have an exclusive interview with her in this month’s second blog – look out for it! She will give us a great insight into her stories, her inspiration and how art is important to us all in the most difficult times!


Happy reading!


The Storytime team

Storytime Issue 92 Out Now!


Every month, we carefully craft each issue so that it has something for everyone – the usual favourites and a few surprises to keep everyone engaged! We often get asked where our ideas and stories come from… so this month, we’d like to give you a peek into the creative process behind our Easter edition!


Storytime Issue 92 – The Making of our Spring Issue


Seeing as it’s Easter, we wanted to bring you a seasonal story to match! The German fairy tale The Easter Hare fits the bill perfectly – it’s a sweet story about two siblings who encounter the legendary animal who makes chocolate eggs for kids to find on Easter morning. We found this tale in a collection of stories by a lady called Margaret Arndt, but we put our own twist on it so our readers could enjoy it now! The vintage settings and atmosphere was something we wanted to keep from the original story, and Gülşah Alçın Özek did a wonderful job to the briefing! Her illustrations combine modern vividness with a lovely traditional look – be sure to check them out!


We topped up the chocolate eggs, continuing with the Easter theme in our bedtime story. The Little Red Hen’s Surprise! is about farmyard friends getting together to help the title character when she becomes ill. It’s illustrated by one of our very favourite artists, Giorgia Broseghini – who has now illustrated over 40 stories for us so far! We’re sure you will enjoy this one – she made sure to cover it in chocolate too!


Still talking about food but this time, rice cakes instead of Easter Eggs! We have wanted to tell the classic British tale of King Alfred and the Cakes for quite a while – and it really fit in with this issue! It combines a historical background with a fun lesson about how we must pay attention to the little things as well as the big things in life! Júnior Caramez was chosen to illustrate it, and he did it brilliantly, bringing out the humour in the tale.


Another story that we have been wanting to do for ages is that of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. It’s a true classic – who can forget the ‘Open, sesame!’ line that opens the cave that the thieves kept their loot in? The problem was, in its original form it is really very dark in places, so we had to find our own twist on it and we hope you like it. Ali Baba and his Brother is funnier and more upbeat than the original, and the bright and cheerful art by the talented Pamela Wehrhahne complements it perfectly.


We like to travel far away to find stories so we continue all the way to an African fable! The Hippopotamus and the Tortoise is a fable set in a lush African jungle full of interesting animals, and it features distinctive (and gorgeous!) art by Rebecca Bagley. Her animals are sure to make everyone giggle – and there are many details to spot in each one of them! We were so glad to find an artist of her talent for this story!


We then went to South America, to find our myth this month! The Creation of the Moon is a traditional Aztec legend about the hero Huachinog-vaneg and his quest to light up the night. Of course, ‘Huachinog-vaneg’ is a bit of a mouthful, so we shortened it to just ‘Hua’ in the magazine so you can read along! In the story, he is assisted by a rabbit, which we thought would be a nice tie in with Easter! Though there are no chocolate eggs in this story … the rabbit is a great friend to Hua and a bit of a superhero in the quest! Rendering art for stories set in a distant culture is a challenge for any illustrator, but Mai Ngo did amazing research and brought this myth to life convincingly.


Nikola Tesla is famous as one of the most visionary inventors of the past two centuries, and he was chosen as the subject of this month’s real-life story – adding sparkles and a sense of adventure to the issue! The Electric Boy chronicles Nikola’s childhood, and the inspiration he found both at school and in the world around him. He was a pioneer in the use of electricity as a power source, so it’s no surprise that he still inspires modern inventors, particularly those working in the field of sustainable energy. The wonderful Astrid de Souris took a unique approach to the art for this story – inspired by classic Japanese animation, which is made this story truly special!


And finally, we have our cover story: Ka and the Wolf. Our original fiction about life in the Stone Age has been in production for quite some time! The theme of friendship was our choice for My Mind Matters! so we thought it would link well to this tale! Ka is a boy from a nomadic tribe in the Ice Age who must team up with an unlikely ally to survive.

We wanted to give readers a feeling of what life would have been like for our ancestors and did a lot of research to get the details right! We wanted an exceptional artist to bring this era to life, and we are delighted to have Lavanya Naidu in this issue. You may have previously seen her wonderful art in How the First Letter was Written in issue 73. She can do amazing art set in any era though, have a peek at her portfolio to see it for yourself.


Once all the stories are grouped together and commissioned, we start to plan all the fun and activities that will go with each issue. The puzzles feature colouring, games and quizzes for each and every story and our Teaching Resource pack this month will look into the Stone Age life in depth. We learn so much with every edition, and by the end of it we are ready for the next one! What will the May issue bring? You will have to stay with us to find out!


Happy Easter dear readers! May the Easter Hare be kind and generous with you all!


The Storytime team

Storytime Issue 91 Out Now!


We live in challenging times, when it can be tempting to be selfish. However, we humans are at our best when we take care of ourselves, others, and the world around us. The latest issue of Storytime is all about characters who care in different ways and make the world a better place for that reason!


Storytime Issue 91 – The Importance of Caring


The Water of Life features three siblings who work together to build a beautiful house for their mother… and then go on a quest to find the magical Tree of Beauty, the Water of Life and the Talking Bird to build her a garden. The two brothers and sister realise what can be accomplished if we work together and support each other. We are honoured that Vera Zaytseva provided the art for this story, as her illustrations really add to the magic!


The Queen Bee is a similarly fantastic tale starring a young prince who sets out to rescue a princess who was turned to stone. To free her he must complete seemingly impossible tasks or be turned to stone himself. Luckily, he had previously been kind and cared for a few creatures on the way there, who in return will help him in his quest. This tale, featuring art by the amazing Rita Rosa Del Sorbo, reminds us that good deeds are often rewarded in unexpected ways.


Boys and girls alike are sure to love the story of The Sea Monster of the Oki Islands. When her father his exiled, young and brave Tokoyo sets out to fin him because she misses her dad. But when she discovers that the people of the Oki Islands are menaced by a monstrous crab, she decides to fight it in order to help them. She triumphs – and wins her father back. The vibrant illustrations were commissioned to the amazing Olga Surina, who captured the setting of medieval Japan brilliantly.


One of the most significant ways that we can care for ourselves and others, of course, is by taking care of our environment. This makes sense, as it affects us all! There have certainly been a lot of stories set after an apocalyptic disaster – but we have been thinking about how to create a ‘positive’ future instead for some time… what if we cared for the world now, and managed to build up a better future?

The result is The Sky Riders, which is set in a future eco-friendly community after rising sea levels have flooded much of the world. We had great fun imagining what life on fictional ‘Novagaia Island’ might be like, and Michel Verdu did an exceptional job capturing life in an environmentally-conscious community. We hope you enjoy the adventure of our young heroes saving the wind-turbines from a storm!


This month’s fable has a similar theme of caring for the environment that cares for us. In Planting the Seeds, the greedy fox chews up the cores of the apples he eats, while the conscientious squirrel plants them – and reaps the rewards. Quynh Rua’s portrayals of the animals in this story are quite exceptional – check them out!


Another nature-centric tale is our myth this month, The Song of the Wind, which comes all the way from Finland. It is about Vanemuine, the god of song, and how he created a lovely tune that echoes through the forests of his homeland to this day. By listening to the sounds of nature, we can appreciate its beauty – and Cleonique Hilsaca’s unique and gorgeous art brings it to life. Have you cared to listen to all the beautiful sounds around us? Our game in this issue will also help you to pay attention to these sounds and guess them all!


Sometimes, though, we must care for ourselves and stay true to our nature. Francesca Vitolo has a flair for fashion in her work, so it was only natural that we would approach her to illustrate The Little Tailor Girl. It’s the story of a little girl named Gabrielle … who would grow up to be known as ‘Coco Chanel’. Despite her challenging childhood, she believed in herself, and made the world a more beautiful place in the process!


Of course, we couldn’t forget the importance of caring for those who do so much for us! Master illustrator Giorgia Broseghini provided the art for this month’s bedtime story, in which Aladdin thanks his best friend for everything he does. Genie Appreciation Day should inspire all of us to take care of those special people in our lives… who would you like to show appreciation for?


And we finish on a note celebrating the International Women’s Day because this issue is also full of amazing women who challenged conventions, conquered their fears and helped others. So here is to them all, the amazing little girls out there – and to a world full of kindness! It’s very special issue indeed!


Happy Reading!


The Storytime team

Storytime Issue 90 Out Now!


This year, February 1st marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Tiger. In Chinese culture it is a time to put the old year behind and embrace the opportunities and good fortune of the new one! It just so happens that this month’s issue also features a Chinese Fairy Tale in our cover – so we feel like celebrating all month long too!


Appropriately enough, this month’s issue has many tales about taking chances and finding new opportunities! Come with us to discover the adventures and magic with have in our latest issue waiting for you!


Storytime Issue 90 – Happy Year of the Tiger


The Quest for Mushrooms is about two little boys who decide to venture out into the countryside, and finding treasures along the way. Carina Povarchik’s art really brings it to life, from the sun-dappled fields to the dark, shadowy forests… it’s as if we’re being taken along on the boys’ journey! The message of this story is that you can find new things – if you dare to take that first step outside your door!


The Greek myth of The Dragon’s Teeth stars the hero Cadmus, who suffers a grave misfortune. When his sister is kidnapped by a huge white bull, he is thrown out of his home city and sent to a new continent to find her. He almost loses hope, but with determination (and a little divine guidance!) he has the opportunity to make something for himself and founds a mighty city! Perhaps we learn from this that setbacks can sometimes open us up to new possibilities! Check out the illustrations by Alberto Orso – he did a phenomenal job of capturing the epic feel of this legend.


The Boy with Many Names is about a lad who travelled far across his native land of South Africa – and as the title indicates, he is known by many names over the years! As he visits new places and takes on new names, he finds out many new things and grows as a person. We can learn from his example to never stop evolving and learning. Adriana Predoi takes us to another place and time with her gorgeous art, bringing the childhood of Nelson Mandela to life!


Sometimes, we also have the chance to make a change in our lives just by changing out attitude and acting with kindness. The latest entry in the ‘Short Stories, Sweet Dreams’ series, illustrated as always by the extremely talented Giorgia Broseghini, is Jack the Giant-Friend. The main character was once known as a giant-slayer, but in this story he discovers that not all giants are bad – and makes awesome new friends along the way!


Our cover story is the Around the World Tale, The Fairy Serpent, a beautiful Chinese variation on the classic tale of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. A girl marries a magical creature to keep a promise her father made. At first, she doesn’t want to do so, but by giving him a chance, she learns that there is more to him than meets the eye. This is a story of love of different kinds, and Clarissa Corradin’s pictures will take your breath away.


We love learning new riddles here at Storytime – and Huckleberry is an American fairy tale about a gnome who is keen to tell people his new riddle – but he hasn’t bothered to come up with an answer! Luckily, a clever shepherdess is able to answer them all! A reminder that admitting that we don’t know something gives us a chance to find out new things! The awesome Marina Halak is responsible for the fine art in this tale.


The Lion’s Wedding is sure to be a favourite with our readers – largely because Nehuen Defosse’s vibrant art will transport us to the lush jungle too! You’ll love to spot the beautiful animals hiding in these pages. This is a sweet story about the animals not turning up when the king of the jungle gets married – but regretting their decision when they find out how nice he is and what a great ceremony they missed. Perhaps in the New Year we could make resolutions to go to the parties we are invited to… because we might never know what we’re missing?


And finally, a little nod to Pancake Day coming up soon! Our folk tale The Runaway Pancake is about “someone” who do not like to miss out on opportunities! The cheeky treat jumps out of a frying pan and runs away from a mother, her seven kids, a grandfather and many others in a madcap chase across town! Clarissa França’s art adds lively energy to the tale. But it also has a lesson: it CAN be important to look before you leap into new things – as the pancake eventually discovers!


We hope you enjoy every bite of this month’s issue! We would like to remind you that all subscribers can download 20-page packs that are full of activities on topics ranging from reading comprehension to art, geography and mathematics. You can access this month’s pack here – and read all about the Chinese New Year celebrations too!


Happy Reading!


The Storytime team

Storytime Issue 89 Out Now!


Happy New Year, everyone! This is a special time when we can make a fresh start and explore new possibilities – and that is definitely a theme in this issue of Storytime! We invite you to join us and make 2022 the year of reading!


Storytime Issue 89 – A Time for New Beginnings

Our cover story is The Phoenix – and we hope you agree that the art by Davide Ortu is truly spectacular! The phoenix is a mythical bird that is reborn from ashes every five hundred years. This incredible creature is a reminder that we can put the past behind us and make a fresh start – a tale of resilience and hope.


One person who worked hard to overcome challenges and become a great inspiration to all is an amazing woman called Temple Grandin. She became a scientist, cattle-pen designer and an autism advocate who helped many people to understand the condition. Our Awesome Adventures this month, Temple Opens the Door, is about her childhood and her unique way of looking at the world, and artist Katya Tikhova did an astounding job in capturing her life. Temple would visualise new situations as being like ‘doors’ she could enter. What new doors would you like to open in the new year?


Speaking of new beginnings, The First Sunrise is a wonderful Aboriginal folk story about how the magpies lifted up the dark clouds from the Earth and awoke the sun goddess Wuriupranili, bringing light to the world. It’s a fun and uplifting story, graced by the luminous illustrations of Wandson Rocha. His renditions of Australia’s native animals are incredibly fun and full of life!


A new year is also an opportunity to follow our dreams, and many characters in our fairy tale do just that! A wee lad called Elias sells his house so he can learn to play the violin – he is soon making beautiful music, and is joined on his journeys across South America by a parade of dancing animals. The story has an unexpected and happy ending which we won’t spoil here! Sheyla Nogueira rendered the lovely vibrant art and even advised us on which creatures to include in this story!


The bedtime story in issue 89, Bambi on Ice, is about our favourite fawn learned to love winter – and ice-skating! We are sure you will love the gorgeous illustrations by Storytime favourite Giorgia Broseghini! Learning something new can open us up to all kinds of new experiences. Can you think of some new hobbies you might like to pursue in the coming year?


One skill that is always great to share with others is cooking! That is the theme of Mrs Valencia and the Paella, a fabulous tale by Canadian author Maria Antonia. When her mum is away on business, little Claudia goes to stay with her Spanish neighbour, who teaches her how to make a tasty new dish! Ramona Bruno illustrates this yummy tale with such flair that you can almost smell the rice, chicken and saffron! Why not choose a new dish that you would like to learn how to make? It’s probably easier than you think!


Not all changes that we make in our lives need to be big ones – sometimes, just changing our point of view can make a difference! That is what happens in this month’s fable, Genghis Khan and the Hawk. Artist LaPiz brings the past to life in this story of how the great conqueror keeps getting his cup knocked out of his hand. He is furious – until he discovers why the faithful bird did this! A true friend is a real treasure, and we couldn’t agree more with this lesson.


But to complete the issue, we thought we would throw a circular tale that reminds us to have fun and laugh! Munachar and Manachar is a rollicking ‘shaggy dog’ story about grumpy Munachar and his complicated plan to punish his berry-stealing friend. This is a great tale to read with someone else – while enjoying Momo Zhang’s hilarious illustrations, of course!


We hope you find something new, fun and inspiring in this month’s issue of Storytime! We have a lot of good stories lined-up for issues coming next too – so stay with us, and we will make sure 2022 will be a very magical year to us all!


Happy New Year!


The Storytime team