Story Box Library - Interview (June 2019)
How did Story Box Library get started?
With incredible amounts of professional input from dedicated volunteers, our founder, Nicole Brownlee, launched the Story Box Library Pozible campaign in 2013. Giving supporters the option to purchase memberships, signed picture books, prints and tote bags (with our “Story Box Library owl”, illustrated by Gus Gordon), we exceeded our target of $12,000 and took a big step towards creating the expansive resource that Story Box Library is today.
It’s been an incredible journey, fuelled by determination and courage. We now have over 240 stories in our library and are constantly looking for ways to further delight our subscribers with our stories.
Our team and ideas are constantly growing, and our love of what we do is there every step of the way.
What are Story Box Library’s goals?
Since the company’s inception, we’ve worked to ignite a passion for reading, imagination and learning, with safe screen time and engaging stories.
We’ve been supported from the beginning by exceptional authors/illustrators including Gus Gordon, Sally Rippin and Leigh Hobbs; generous storytellers such as Clare Bowditch, Emma Baker and Danny Katz; forward-thinking publishers like Penguin Group Australia (now Penguin Random House), Scholastic Australia and Allen & Unwin, just to name a few; plus incredible organisations and blogs including Readings Booksellers, Children’s Books Daily and Read for Australia. Each supporter has inspired us, and the people and organisations we interact with have informed our future goals and direction.
We aim to continue working with like-minded companies and individuals, connecting with the wider Australian children’s literature community wherever possible, and with storytellers, authors and illustrators who reflect the diversity of our audience.
Are your stories suitable for all ages?
Our stories have been carefully selected with children of pre-school and primary age in mind.
We’ve broken our stories into the following categories:
- Pre-school (3-5 years)
- Lower Primary (5-7 years)
- Middle Primary (8-10 years)
- Upper Primary (10-12 years)
Additionally, our stories can be used with children aged 12+.
We’re continuously inspired by educators and organisations around us, and suggest referring to this article on the benefits of using picture books with older children, published by Australian Literacy Educators’ Association, and ‘But How Do You Really Teach with Picture Books’?
How are your storytellers selected?
We aim to include a variety of different readers with varying backgrounds. Authors/illustrators, musicians, actors, sports people, comedians, grandparents, school children, educators… the list goes on.
We choose storytellers who reflect the diversity of our subscribers and communities, knowing that every child deserves to experience a myriad of voices shining through.
How are your books chosen?
We look for books that we love and choose titles that we believe in.
Seeking high-quality, local stories that will be entertaining for primary school-aged children, we ensure that our titles connect to the current Australian Curriculum, are available to use from the original creators and are suitable as ‘read aloud material’.
We’re always excited about the titles we can add to our library. Fortunately we’re a team of book-loving readers and parents, so there’s never a shortage of books we’re interested in—the challenge lies in narrowing the list!
How can people get involved with Story Box Library?
We offer a range of Subscriptions to suit all needs:
- Family and Gift Subscriptions
- Professional Subscriptions
- School and Early Childhood Subscriptions
- Public Library and Tertiary Subscriptions
We know that it’s not possible for every family to take out a subscription, which is why we encourage interested families to ask their local library or school about Story Box Library. Families can access our resource for free through their local library and students can watch stories at home through their school’s subscription.
Parents, educators, librarians, kids—anyone!—can also engage with Story Box Library on social media and email. You can follow us on Instagram or Facebook, or subscribe to our e-newsletter for the latest information about new releases and future events.
What’s next from Story Box Library?
We’ll continue to engage with the incredible stories and talent Australia and New Zealand has to offer. We’ll continue to be inspired by the passionate individuals and organisations around us, and we’ll work to produce even more engaging content for kids across the world.
We’re excited by what’s to come, and can hardly wait to share our newest stories and ideas.