Phew! Storytime Issue 61 is out this week, which means five years of Storytime! I think we start every birthday blog with a look of disbelief, so please forgive us if we’re being repetitive when we say we can’t quite believe it. Truthfully, we can’t. Being an independent publisher is challenging. Some might have given up and walked away. But we’re still here. Why? Because we believe in what we’re doing and we thought we’d share those beliefs with you.
• We believe kids deserve a wide variety of options to support their reading and we know magazines play an important role in facilitating that.
• We think kids and parents deserve magazines of much better quality than most of those on offer today. Magazines that inspire, excite and educate.
• Our team takes pride in giving kids access to a wide range of stories and poems and literacy-themed activities at an affordable price.
• As story-lovers, we are passionate about keeping stories alive that would otherwise be lost and forgotten.
• Like any responsible company, we believe in the importance of offering a planet-friendly, plastic-free magazine with no toys or tat on the cover.
• We strive to deliver quality and beauty. This means nice thick paper so you can keep our magazine forever, gorgeous illustrations, and a lot of love poured into every page.
• Finally, we want to help children fall in love with reading and learn valuable lessons about the world around them through short stories and poetry.
This is what fires us up and has kept us going for the last five years. And it will keep us going for many more.
So, yes, it’s been tough at times. But it has also been our privilege to create Storytime for you and we are so grateful for your support. Here’s a big slice of imaginary birthday cake for you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
Inside Storytime Issue 61
Our 5th birthday issue kicks off with a VIP visitor to Storytime’s pages and a funny new story in Paper Round with the Queen. Written by children’s author Eszter Molnar (visit her site) and brought to life by Simone Krüger’s illustrations, it’s a flight of fancy with a helicopter and a cool tandem bike thrown in for good measure.
Next, we travel to Canada and the indigenous Haida nation for our Around the World Tale, Raven Steals the Sun. Guilia Baratella’s bold illustrations show how clever raven brought the sun, the moon, the stars, fresh water and fire to the people when they were most in need.
This month’s Storyland Adventure is set in Beauty’s classroom, where she encounters a mysterious new pupil who refuses to reveal his name. Can Beauty’s brains combined with her magic mirror help her get to the bottom of this riddle? Giorgia Broseghini blew us away, yet again, with her illustrations for this new story.
There’s a poem in every issue, and we hope kids will love our choice for Storytime Issue 61. The Pirate Poodle, as you can probably tell by its title, combines canines with adventures on the high seas – but it doesn’t turn out quite as you’d expect. Azbeen’s illustrations hit just the right pirate pooch tone for this poem by Carolyn Wells. We challenge you to learn a verse off by heart for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Thursday 19 September.
Swan Lake is Storytime Issue 61’s cover and fairy tale. Russian composer Tchaikovsky composed the music for this ballet, basing the story on old German folk tales. Now it’s come full circle (you could say pirouetted) into a story again in Storytime. If your child isn’t a ballet fan, never fear, there’s a healthy dose of royal torment, baddies and curses in this classic tale too. And it’s all dressed up in Letizia Rizzo’s fluid and flowing illustrations. If you’re an educator, please visit our Schools site to find out how to get hold of our free resource and activity pack.
In our Famous Fable, The Fox and the Grapes, you can discover where the expression ‘sour grapes’ comes from and what it means. We think you’ll love Martina Rotondo’s striking illustrations too. Such an elegant fox.
The Three Presents is adapted from a story by German author and fairy-tale collector, Ludwig Bechstein. In his day, he was more popular than the Brothers Grimm. It’s an unexpected rags-to-riches tale with an amusing ending. Barbara Bongini’s illustrations are perfect and we’re sure Ludwig would approve.
Storytime Issue 61 closes with a fabulous Irish tale. It’s about a legendary hidden world of fairies and the poet warrior lured there by magical beauty, Niamh of the Golden Hair. What happens when you return from a land where each year is equivalent to one hundred ‘real-world’ years? Find out in this story. Thank you David Navarro Arenas for the illustrations.
To celebrate our 5th birthday, we close the issue with a special competition. We’re asking you (readers aged 3 to 9) to invent, draw and describe your dream superhero. We’ll pick our favourite and bring that superhero to life in a Storytime story next year! It’s a fantastic opportunity to unleash your creativity and potentially see your ideas in print.
Find out more about the competition here and download a fabulous activity pack to help you get started.
Of course, in our opinion, the biggest superheroes of all are our Storytime readers.
Now let’s eat cake!