Today we are pleased to introduce you to Sparkle Stories, one of our valued Natural Parents Network sponsors.
From our reviewer, Amanda of Let’s Take the Metro:
Sparkle Stories is an innovative, ingenious way of delivering fresh, interesting stories to your children. As a subscriber, you can download a variety of different stories that can be played on your computer, iPod or even burned to a CD.
I was fortunate enough to listen to several different stories before conducting a brief interview with one of the company’s owners, Lisabeth. I truly appreciate the peaceful and even tone David uses while reading and get a real kick out of the different voices he uses for multiple characters. Part of the philosophy of Sparkle Stories is to entice the imagination of the child without the use of pictures, and the intense descriptions embedded in each story satisfy this need successfully.
If you enjoy the stories, you can even share a gift subscription with a friend! Subscriptions last for one year and stories are planned around the seasons and holidays. Want more information? Check out the interview below with co-owner Lisabeth and then visit the Sparkle Stories FAQ page.
What is a typical day like for you?
For David, there are writing days, recording days, and audio-editing days. And sometimes he does all three in one day, editing stories for the next week while brainstorming and writing for weeks ahead! As the story editor, business manager and marketing person, my days are filled with a lot of everything.
Our boys attend a Waldorf school, and so we work while they are in school and often once they have gone to bed at night. We work from home where we have a little office attached to our garage.
We also try to make sure we schedule something to fill-up the creative tank. David meets up with friends and works in public places, I dance, and we both spend time in nature — even if it’s pulling weeds or walking the puppy around the woods.
How did you decide to start Sparkle Stories?
Sparkle began in a divine-flash-of-inspiration. I was online looking for high quality audio stories for my boys. I was searching for a regular source I could trust that would be age-appropriate & inspiring but also fun — that I didn’t have to preview first! And I was coming up short. I saw that other parents were having the same experience.
And then I thought of David, who has this incredible gift for spinning stories. In a “flash” I saw his ability weave mesmerizing stories at the drop of a hat. He never seems to run out of ideas. And then I had the thought: what if I could tap the source that is my unstoppable story-spinning husband, and turn it into a business? It was one of those whole-body-goosebump moments.
About six months later we got started.
Do you write the stories yourself or are they written by someone else?
The stories are all original! (Except for the Saturday Sparkle series, which includes classic tales.) The original three story series — Martin & Sylvia, Junkyard Tales and So Many Fairies — are based on bedtime stories we told our kids. They are also inspired by all sorts of things — our family life, requests from subscribers, situations we encounter in the world. Often David tells them to our boys then writes them down. I edit them and send them back to him to record.
How long does it take to record a story? Are there outtakes?
It depends on the length of the story. David schedules several hour sessions to record multiple pieces at one go. And yes, he makes mistakes and then has to rerecord. Sometimes in the recording, he’ll realize there’s a better word, or phrase, or way to tell the story. And so he’ll back up and start again.
What’s most fun is when we record with the whole family — for example, we sing a song, or do a verse. And there are definitely outtakes. But they are cute as can be.
What is your favorite story? What was your favorite story as a child?
My personal favorite is Martin & Sylvia, because the characters are based on our family. They are like an “idealized” version of us — if we could be the perfect parents, and our kids could be utterly delightful and funny (and teachable) in all moments. I find both of the Martin & Sylvia series to be immensely funny.
As a child, David’s favorite was “The Little Prince.” Mine was, hands down, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Both stories are rich, profound, and totally engaging, which is what we aspire to offer.
But I also loved the silly stories that my father told us on occasion. They were wacky and a little outrageous, but I remember them more clearly than most of the picture books I was read. And I loved the songs and ditties he would make up in his Dr. Seuss style. I remember them with such warmth and joy — and I think that speaks to the power of storytelling with children. The stories you tell your kids don’t have to be “perfect” by any stretch; just tell stories, and your kids will adore them.
What do you like best about Sparkle Stories?
I love running a business that is based on our skills and talents. I love watching how it grows as we water it with our love, delight and commitment (and hard work!). And I love the community of subscribers and the conversations we have on daily basis. It feels like a big family — the Sparkle family!
What are your hopes for the future of Sparkle Stories?
My dreams for Sparkle are big! I want Sparkle to be the platform for a much bigger “alternative media” company, where we collaborate with other writers, storytellers, and performers, and provide a wealth of great entertainment that is not only fun and delightful and trustworthy, but also provides a model for a healthy, wonder-filled childhood. And in that way, I hope Sparkle can inspire change in the world.
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