Fabled helps kids write stories — and now it’s collecting them in a book
Parents spend a lot of time thinking about how we can encourage our kids to read more stories, but what about writing them? British company Fabled is trying to help on the latter front: it has a website that aims to be a safe space for children to write and share stories with friends and parents or carers alike. Now it’s collecting some of those stories in a (printed) book, as part of a fundraising campaign on crowdfunding website Kickstarter.
If you’ve not seen the site before, it starts with a blank page where children can start to type their story — and read it out if they use the microphone feature. They can also press a button to get some story ideas, if they need a little inspiration. Stories can then be published to Fabled for other people to read, while parents, carers and other related adults can create their own accounts too, to join in.
Since its launch 18 months ago, Fabled’s founder — “recovering bureaucrat” Laura Hamm — has also launched a spin-off podcast, where she reads out some of the best stories shared on the site. And now the book, which is called The Future is Make Believe. “A book of stories BY Kids, FOR Everyone,” as its Kickstarter page describes it. “This beautifully illustrated anthology will be one of a kind. A collection of fables for our times, from the authors of our future.” That means the children aged between two and 11 who’ve shared stories via Fabled so far.
The minimum pledge to get a copy of the book when it comes out in December is £25, although people who just want to support the idea can choose to pledge £5 (and get a pin-badge) or £20 (and get a poster) instead. Like other crowdfunding campaigns, there are higher tiers too: £35 gets you the book and a canvas bag for it; £50 gets one book to keep and another to donate to a library, school, hospital or home; £75 gets the two books plus bag, badge and poster; £250 ups the number of books to 10, with nine to donate; and £1,000 gets 20 books, the other stuff, and an acknowledgement for being a ‘super-supporter’ in the book itself.
Fabled is hoping to raise £15,000 from the Kickstarter over the next 30 days to make the project happen. I hope it does: the book should also be fun, given the imaginative, funny and frequently very-surreal tales that have been shared through Fabled so far. Plus, having chatted to Laura at the Children’s Media Conference last week, I know she’s thinking carefully about the more-sensitive aspects of a project like this: for example, the importance of making sure parents are happy for their children’s stories to be published in a commercial book, rather than just shared for free on the site.
Fabled feels like one of the children’s-tech projects in 2019 that’s coming from a good place: it happens to be used on a screen, but it’s encouraging creativity and confidence that kids can use with pens and paper too, once their devices have been turned off and put away. Here’s hoping it hits its Kickstarter target, with the publicity around the book letting more parents know about Fabled itself as something to try out with their children.