So it turns out that moving studios and a referendum result in the same week aren’t very conducive to blogging. Here’s a strange coincidence – our last studio was part of a museum, and carved in stone above the entrance were the words ‘Facts Not Opinions’. The day after we moved, the referendum happened and suddenly our whole world was opinions not facts. Anyway, this blog is a little love letter to illustrators everywhere and the wider world.
Uniting People Through Stories
Storytime is a magazine of illustrated stories and poems for children, so it would be easy and lazy to say that we just make pretty stories and we’re not political. But every time we support a reading charity or protest at the loss of a library or throw our hands up at ridiculous curriculum changes or tests in education, we’re also throwing our hat into the political ring.
We made Storytime because we care about these matters. Every day, we’re driven by a passion for sharing stories that might otherwise be lost or breathing new life into stories that are much loved in the hope that we’ll help children to discover reading for pleasure and improve childhood literacy. Not just that but we want to create happy, lasting memories and we always hoped that we’d also be able to unite people through stories.
By that, we mean not just bringing people together to share stories (which is wonderful, obviously), but making the world seem a smaller, friendlier and more interesting place for our young readers. So in every issue of Storytime, there’s an Around the World Tale from a different culture. They’ve been some of our favourite stories so far. We love how they have a different rhythm and feel, and we love how they bring faraway places and unfamiliar ideas closer to home. Stories from different cultures or countries will always be a part of Storytime and we need them now more than ever before.
Using Global Talent
We also make a point of using illustrators from all over the world (including homegrown talent). Our art director, Luciana, is Brazilian. She speaks English, Portuguese, Italian, good Spanish, a dash of German and she can get by in Swedish. She’s basically a walking EU.
Her skill in languages is what has enabled us to reach far beyond the walls of our little studio in London and embrace children’s illustration talent far and wide. It has helped us make Storytime magazine the rich and varied visual treat that it is.
Since we’ve launched, Lu has commissioned illustrators in almost every EU state, and a lot further afield. We have an ‘anywhere goes’ approach and that’s because using the widest possible pool of talent keeps our content fresh and exciting. There’s also a huge amount of pleasure and satisfaction to be had from commissioning an illustrator to create art for an Around the World Tale, which is from their own country. They ‘get it’ so well. (When you see our Patagonian tale in Storytime Issue 23, you’ll see what we mean.)
United We Stand
In almost two years, our illustrators have surprised us and delighted us. They’ve made us laugh out loud. They’ve treated us to tiny and unexpected details, and characters bursting with life, and we feel honoured to have worked with every single one of them, whether from home or abroad.
Whatever happens moving forward, we will continue to tell stories from other cultures and we will always be happy to work with wonderful, talented people wherever they may be. Around the world stories from illustrators around the world… because the best fairy tales transcend all boundaries.
To illustrators everywhere, united we stand.
With love and respect from the Storytime team!