Literary Safari

Literary Safari We are the studio behind The Story Seeds Podcast. Our award-winning studio creates inclusive and playful media for children & families rooted in learning science, curriculum, and narrative design.

We are storytellers at heart. We produce inclusive, thoughtful, and representational media for kids, families, and grown-ups. We value research and good storytelling and our work is rooted in finding ways to bring both together in innovative ways.

Mission: We create inclusive media for children and families rooted in an understanding of learning science, educational standards, narrative design, and good, old-fashioned fun! Our award-winning stories, games, and curriculum are grounded in the 4 C’s of 21st century education—Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration. We are committed to mindful design that celebrates diversity and global citizenship.

Our friends at Like You Pod (@likeyoupod) have a truly wonderful mindfulness podcast for kids and families. On each epis...
06/06/2020

Our friends at Like You Pod (@likeyoupod) have a truly wonderful mindfulness podcast for kids and families. On each episode creator and host, Noah, guides listeners in quick and effective calming exercises using breathwork, visualization, and positive affirmations.
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In a week that’s been particularly tough for both grownups and little ones, checkout their latest episode which encourages listeners to pause and take a few minutes to listen to your thoughts. Being aware is the first step in grounding you to spark creativity and change.
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Also, stick around till the very end, our very own Betsy Bird (👋 @fusenumber8) leads kids in some special affirmations to honor their own ideas and wisdom.
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#podcastsforkids #mindfulnessforkids #mindfulawareness #quietmind #kidspodcasts #screenfree #spotifypodcasts #applepodcasts #imaginationforkids #learningathome #kidsactivities #kidsandfamilies #kidsathome

Our latest episode of The Story Seeds Podcast our host Betsy Bird @fusenumber8 talks to Tracey Baptiste about trees, cre...
06/05/2020

Our latest episode of The Story Seeds Podcast our host Betsy Bird @fusenumber8 talks to Tracey Baptiste about trees, creativity in a pandemic, and her advice for stretching your imagination. Tracey is not just author of the widely acclaimed middle grade creepy series The Jumbies, but also a creative writing teacher in the MFA program at Lesley University (@lesleyuniversity.) She highly recommends this imagination stretch activity, which is inspired by the card game Disruptus from Funny Bone Toys (@fbtcreate.) In fact, You can try out this imagination stretch today and every Friday at 1:30 PM EST right here on IG Live with Tracey's good friend Jason Reynolds, the ambassador for Young People's Literature @jasonreynolds83!
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Imagination Stretch: "Playing games like Disruptus (where you pick two cards and then come up with a story with the objects shown on the cards) are great ways to give your brain some exercise. You’ll find that you just come up with things automatically. It's really surprising the kinds of things that you come up with when the choice of what you're going to be writing about is taken away from you."
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#writingadvice #writinginapandemic #creativity #imaginationstretch #brainyoga #writingtips #lesleyuniversity #MFA #write #kids #imaginationlab #storyseedspodcast #thejumbies #trinidad #diversebooks #africanamericanauthors #kidlit #middlegrade #podcastfriday #authorinterviews

It's not business as usual. In solidarity. #blackouttuesday
06/02/2020

It's not business as usual. In solidarity. #blackouttuesday

There's a new story seed growing in our podcast feed this week! Tracey Baptiste (@traceybaptistewrites) (author of the c...
05/29/2020

There's a new story seed growing in our podcast feed this week! Tracey Baptiste (@traceybaptistewrites) (author of the creepy Caribbean series THE JUMBIES & the NYTimes best-selling MINECRAFT: THE CRASH) and 12 year old Amalia are on our special #quarantine show! Tracey helps Amalia grow her idea about an athletic girl named Joy and the magical relationship she has with an oak tree in her backyard.
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This week, Story Seeds creator Sandhya Nankani sits in for our regular host Besty Bird to facilitate a virtual meet-up between Tracey and Amalia on video chat. They talk about their Trinidadian roots and the power of nonverbal communication. Amalia even requests Tracey to weave in her own experiences of breaking an arm into the story.
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👂and subscribe now on @ApplePodcast or wherever you get your favorite podcasts including Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Deezer, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, and YouTube (all links in bio.)

#caribbeanstories #caribbeanauthors #gardenstate #quarantinelife #treehugger #middlegradebooks #mtraceybaptiste #kidspodcasts #familylike #childrenspodcasts #audiobooks #storytime #podcastsintheclassroom #kidlit #authorsofinstagram #screenfree #genalpha #kidslisten #spotifypodcasts #applepodcasts #quarantinepodcasts

Meet Amalia! She's 12 years old. She's from New Jersey. And she's the creative rockstar on Episode 7 of The Story Seeds ...
05/28/2020

Meet Amalia! She's 12 years old. She's from New Jersey. And she's the creative rockstar on Episode 7 of The Story Seeds Podcast (out today!!) Her story seed is about an athletic girl named Joy and the magical relationship she has with an oak tree in her backyard. Amalia is matched with the NYTimes best-selling author of Minecraft: The Crash Tracey Baptiste Tracey Baptiste, Author who is, in our opinion, the very best magical tree expert ☺️
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Things are slightly different on this episode as Amalia and Tracey had to collaborate virtually while in quarantine, but they showed us that creativity can continue to bloom, even while homebound—and that collaboration can be successful, whether it is in-person or virtually!
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Listen now on Apple Podcasts @spotifypodcasts @googlepodcast @iheartradio @itunes @deezer @hubhopperofficial @pocketcasts @tunein @stitcherpodcasts @goodpodshq or your favorite podcast listening app!

#treetwitter #trees#oaktree #gardenstate #quarantinelife #treehugger #middlegrade #jumbies #traceybaptiste #fairygodauthor #kidspodcasts #familylife #childrenspodcasts #audiobooks #storytime #podcastsintheclassroom #kidstagram #kidlit #authorsofinstagram #screenfree #genalpha #spotifypodcast #applepodcasts

Podcasts are great teaching tools & we 💙 the remote teaching creative writing unit that Vickie Wong, 6th grade teacher a...
05/26/2020

Podcasts are great teaching tools & we 💙 the remote teaching creative writing unit that Vickie Wong, 6th grade teacher at Ramona School @alhambrausd Alhambra Unified School District in California, created using The Story Seeds Podcast. She had kids listen to and dissect episode 3 featuring a tall tale created collaboratively with a story seed by 13 year old Jasper and author Chris Grabenstein @cgrabber1955 ! Then they all wrote their one stories and Ms Wong modeled writing for them by continuing Chris and Jasper’s story “The World’s Biggest Détective!” 🙌
Today, Ms Wong and her students will join us for a virtual read Alli’s (link in bio) to hear Chris read his story. Keep an ear pot for a shout out to this cool teacher and her students too! #teachersofinstagram #teachertribe #remoteteaching #remotelearning #Education #podcastsintheclassroom #edtechchat #podcasts #storyseedspodcast #teachwithpodcasts #imagineyourstory #summerreading #summerlearning #teachcreativewriting #writersofig #kidslisten #kidswrite #teachersfollowteachers #teacherappreciation #podcast #audio #audiobooksarenotcheating #mentorteacher #mentortextmonday

Our kids may be on lockdown but their imaginations are blooming. Say hello to our new Story Seeds Podcast "Grow Your Ima...
05/25/2020

Our kids may be on lockdown but their imaginations are blooming. Say hello to our new Story Seeds Podcast "Grow Your Imagination" playlist 🎧🎧 @Spotify https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3cClO6l5gMEvp3TGWjM6yO #Spotify #SPOTIFYPLAYLIST #imagination #memorialdayweekend2020

In exactly 24 hours, we'll be hosting a really fun FB Live event with NYT best-selling author of the Mr. Lemoncello's Li...
05/25/2020

In exactly 24 hours, we'll be hosting a really fun FB Live event with NYT best-selling author of the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series,, Chris Grabenstein. Bring your kids, bring the kid in you, share, join us! -- with Chris Grabenstein and Pono

Chris was our featured author on "The View from the Top," episode 3 of The Story Seeds Podcast. Tomorrow, he will be reading the hilarious story about a 74 foot tall boy detective that he collaboratively grew with 13 year old Jasper on our show. He will also read the continuation of the story that Jasper has written! And, he will invite you all to grown this giant story with him!

You’re invited to a special post-Memorial Day virtual storytime with the New York Times best-selling author of the Mr. L...
05/25/2020

You’re invited to a special post-Memorial Day virtual storytime with the New York Times best-selling author of the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series, Chris Grabenstein (@cgrabber1955)
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Chris was our featured author on The View from the Top, episode 3 of The Story Seeds Podcast. Tomorrow, he will be reading the hilarious story about a 74 foot tall boy detective that he collaboratively grew with 13 year old Jasper on our show.
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Friends of all ages: Take a short afternoon break (or evening break if you're on the other side of the Atlantic) and join us on Facebook Live at 3PM EST to hear some great storytelling, and help Chris grow the next giant chapter!
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#virtualstorytime #storytime #middlegradebooks #mrlemoncelloslibrary #parents #kidslisten #funforkids #childrensbooks #chrisgrabenstein #teachersofinstagram #librariansofinstagram #momsofinstagram #dadsofinstagram #homeschooling #summerreading #kidlit #facebooklive #readaloud #virtuallearning #operationstorytime #remoteschool

We ❤️ our theme song and hear that many of you do too! So, as a kick off to the first weekend of summer 2020, we have pu...
05/23/2020

We ❤️ our theme song and hear that many of you do too! So, as a kick off to the first weekend of summer 2020, we have put it up as a special bonus episode for your listening pleasure! Our theme song is written, composed, and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. Nowadays, he is a real-life, Grammy-nominated musician who tours the world with the band MGMT that he co-founded while in college. Just like the creative rockstars who appear on The Story Seeds Podcast, Andrew started making music as a child, first using a Tascam four track tape machine to record! Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, he loved nature, playing outdoors with his friends, catching snakes and frogs and sometimes making little terrariums with the creatures they’d find. For the Story Seeds theme song, he was inspired by the magical and playful theme songs of classic children’s shows he watched as a child such as Reading Rainbow, Maya the Bee, and David the Gnome.
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Our theme song perfectly sums up what Story Seeds is all about: Kids raising their voices, being seen through the ideas they dream up, and shaping their tenacity with a little help from their favorite storytellers! So, sing along with us: "On story seeds, you’re in control of your destiny. Adventures you design, where your dreams can grow, a little more each time ..."
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#summerplaylist #weeekendplaylist #mgmt #andrewvanwyngarden #kidsmusic #themesong #playlist #onrepeat #songsforkids #storyseedspodcast #plantaseed #kidsstories #podcastsforkids #kidsandfamily #music #memorialday #feelgood #singalong

From our friends at Children's Technology Review
05/23/2020

From our friends at Children's Technology Review

“Like a summer thunderstorm, release from COVID-19 confinement may wash away heat from the “screen time” argument and renew variety and balance in kids’ lives.” David Kleeman, Dubit, in the Cooney Center blog, at https://bitly.com/3avGQKQ

Welcome to the Spring/Summer issue of CTR. I’m writing this remotely, 778 miles away from my home and college, happily stuck on an extended spring break with my family in Georgia while the world settles down. For me things could be much worse. Besides being together with 18 month Grandson, I’m able to write, review and teach my classes I happened to have packed my laptop and tablets. I’ve been amazed at my ability to teach remotely using Zoom, and my iPads have been in constant use by my 18 month old Grandson. These devices are no longer options. They’re my link to the outside world; both for work and for fun -- serving up movies and the textbooks I left behind at home. I can make a living as an educator, reviewer and writer. But not everyone is so lucky. As I point out in my essay for the Cooney Center, (below) the Coronavirus Pandemic shines a bright light on the digital divide.

The Cooney Center asks: What changes are in store for children as a result of the Coronavirus?
That was the question asked of a group of early childhood media experts at https://bitly.com/3avGQKQ. Some highlights: App designer Caroline Hu Flexer from Khan Academy Kids said “great design innovations often occur within significant constraints.” We’ll look forward to seeing some of the innovations from this situation. David Kleeman of Dubit said “Like a summer thunderstorm, release from COVID-19 confinement may wash away heat from the “screen time” argument and renew variety and balance in kids’ lives.” We’re living in a time when “screen time” has moved from nuisance to a necessity. Michael Rich from the Harvard Medical School wrote that “Coronavirus is opportunistic and indiscriminate, with no nationality, politics, allies, or enemies. We must defend, not with the familiar ‘us against them’ mentality, but by protecting each other to protect ourselves: ‘us with us.’” Now is a time for unity. Finally, Mimi Ito of the University of California wrote “People of all ages crave social connection, but teens are often uniquely separated from those whom they care deeply about. COVID-19 has given more people of all ages a window into this experience.” And I wrote “This connectivity is a post-pandemic basic need, alongside such things as food, shelter, and safety, per Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”

Can a $1500 robot teach social skills? “Moxie” wants a chance
Do you live with a moody kid? Coming this fall... an expensive smart speaker-driven robot with an animated face, voice recognition and app designed to deliver the STAR Framework (for autism spectrum disorders). According to CTR contributor Scott Traylor, extremely expensive robots for this purpose are nothing new. Learn more athttps://arxiv.org/pdf/2004.12962.pdf or read the preview in this issue.

The 2020 Bologna Children’s Book Fair will be online only
“In these days we are dealing with a genuine emergency that involves not only our country but, unfortunately, has an international dimension,” according to Antonio Bruzzone, General Manager of BolognaFiere, as he called for a cancellation of the 2020 Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF). My own spring migration to central Italy started in 1997, when CTR was hired to design a children’s software award program. That award has changed over the years, but the core values are the same: a face-to-face meeting of independent jurors and a common quest for quality and innovation. While I won’t be attending the fair this year, I will be discussing the awards virtually via Zoom. It won’t be the same without our Prosecco toast, but at least we’ll keep the conversation going. Here’s how you can participate:
1. Watch the juror’s video, at https://youtu.be/2O7Icp7OsNE
2. Attend the Dust or Magic Bologna virtual masterclass at 10:30 AM EST on May 6. Register at bitly.com/dustormagic2020bologna

Stuck at home? Take a Virtual Field Trip
I’ve been teaching a virtual field trip class at TCNJ this semester using a Macbook Pro running a Zoom Pro account, a $400 Oculus Quest, an iPad Pro connected to the Macbook via USB. We use Google Maps with Street View to start the trip, and then explore the area using YouTube and local images. I’ve discovered that it’s possible to screencast the view from the Oculus Quest https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/ so I can “take” my students to places I’ve visited such as Ann Frank’s home in Amsterdam. By combining VR with the TouchPress app “The Pyramids” I was able to give my class a first person narrated tour of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Other tours have included Facebook’s headquarters and guest lecture tours by invited guides from Redmond Washington and small New York studio apartment. Here are some links we’ve used:
• Kutaku’s 10 places to visit in Japan https://bitly.com/34Twxil
• The Strong Museum of Play in Manhattan NY https://www.museumofplay.org/
• ISS Space Station https://youtu.be/06-Xm3_Ze1o
• 24 Hours in Singapore https://youtu.be/M8auD-4bGk0
• 52 Places to Go Virtually from the New York Times https://nyti.ms/2Vr7crJ

Hey! Where are Google’s “Teacher Approved” apps?
I was excited to learn that the Google Play team was going to start listing “Teacher Approved” apps. Here’s the announcement by Mindy Brooks, a UX Director at Google Play --> https://bitly.com/2SjsYga. Sadly none were listed as of April 21, 2020. We also looked to see if any apps were labeled, or if the people making editorial decisions were, in fact teachers. All we could find was a link to a blog post published two years ago. The concept is a good one in theory, but Google gets a failing grade so far.

80 Federally Funded Learning Games to Download, Free
Our friend Edward Metz at the US Department of Education ([email protected]) has curated a list of federally funded learning games on display form the recent ED Games Expo. All of the entries are free due to the COVID crisis until the end of the school year, and all of the projects have been government funded with support from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Programs at ED/IES and other agencies, as well as through programs at IES and across government. The developers have made these easy to access. In addition, Ed has created a series of virtual conferences on early learning (Tuesday, May 5); social studies (Thursday, May 7) and Science (Friday May 21).
Read the news --> https://bitly.com/3eOd878 or skim the list of games --> https://bitly.com/2RYpUWS.

Other CTREX news of interest
• Teaching college classes in the age of the coronavirus (a WOSU Radio Interview) at https://youtu.be/lvkDw4y-4dI
• CTREX app reviews in the New York Times.Read Apps for Quarantined Families at https://nyti.ms/3auNKj

📣 bonus episode Thursday! Betsy Bird (@fusenumber8) and Carlos Hernandez (@writeteachplay) go behind the scenes to chat ...
05/21/2020

📣 bonus episode Thursday! Betsy Bird (@fusenumber8) and Carlos Hernandez (@writeteachplay) go behind the scenes to chat about using double the creativity to grow twins Siri and Zarana's story seed, "Citaria's Paintbrush." They also talk about the power of imagination in a world of #screentime, how Carlos' work as a game designer influences his writing, how he met his wife Claire (through collaboration!), and the power of #doodling.
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Listen now on #ApplePodcasts, #Spotify, #iHeart Radio, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows (links in bio.)
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#writingtips #imagination #youngwriters #kidsneedmentors #kidslisten #storyseeds #bonusepisode #podcasts #homeschool #inspirationalquotes #imaginationstretch #authorinterview #salandgabi #teachersofinstagram #middlegradebooks #whattoreadnext #kidspodcasts #childrenspodcasts #kidsbooks #middlegradebooks #latinxauthors #learningathome

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Our Story

The Short Story

We are storytellers & producers of inclusive media for children and families everywhere. Our studio is the creator of The Story Seeds Podcast and has published award-winning literacy and storytelling HangArt (Common Sense Media’s Best of EdTech 2016) and Grandma’s Great Gourd (Featured in USA Today). Our clients include educational publishers, kids brands, and global nonprofits such as Sesame Workshop and UNESCO.

The Longer Story

Literary Safari is an independent media studio. We create inclusive media for children and families rooted in an understanding of learning science, educational standards, narrative design, and good, old-fashioned fun! Our award-winning stories, games, and curriculum are grounded in the 4 C’s of 21st century education—Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration. We are committed to mindful design that celebrates diversity and global citizenship.

Our newest creation is The Story Seeds Podcast which celebrates creativity and imagination. On each episode, we capture the magic that sparks when kids 6-12 and best-selling authors meet up in person to collaborate and grow original stories inspired by children's story seeds! Our podcast is hosted by kidlit maven, author, and librarian Betsy Bird and our theme music composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

We have our own studio near Lincoln Center, NYC where we innovate and produce our own products. We are also strategic product development consulting and publishing professionals with over a decade of experience producing games, books, apps, sound educational design and curriculum for our clients which include educational and entertainment companies like UNESCO, Sesame Workshop, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Scholastic, and Benchmark Education. We regularly work with large and small brands, developing new ideas and concepts for emerging projects, and have a wide network and expertise to build superb teams of publishing, design, interactive, and educational professionals for our clients.

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I like your new look!