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The Story Seeds Podcast

Our Webby Award-nominated show matches kids ages 6-12 and their story ideas with diverse, beloved children's authors. Each episode chronicles the magic that grows through author-child collaboration and features an immersive a story time read aloud by the author. Bonus episodes feature author interviews with our host Betsy Bird! As a Common Sense Media Seal Selection, our show is recognized as a great choice for kids and families for its engaging stories, valuable content, and diverse voices, characters, and messages and has received an A+ for educational value. Our show has also been featured in Wired, Time for Kids, Parents, The New York Times, and CBC and wasThe Week Junior magazine's 2020 Podcast of the Year. Our theme song and music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden, the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT. Our companion activity book "Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity" is a New York Times/Wirecutter "Best Gift for 10 Year Olds" pick. This podcast is a Literary Safari Production.

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Bonus Q&A: Betsy Bird Interviews Dan Gutman

Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Dan Gutman (best-selling author of the My Weird School series). They  go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like growing 11 year old Hannah’s story seed in Episode 1 “The Magic Seed.” In this special bonus episode, Dan also tells us the story of how he became a published author, gives us a peek into his writing process, and shares a few writing tips for young writers! Books mentioned in this episode: My Weird School series and  My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman.  Call to ActionKids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club!Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.Show credits: Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

18mins

12 Mar 2020

Rank #1

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The Paintbrush of Doom with Carlos Hernandez

This week’s Story Seeds collaboration matches Carlos Hernandez (winner of the 2020 Pura Belpré Author Award and author of the Sal and Gabi series from Rick Riordan Presents)  with 10 year old twins Siri and Zarana.Carlos collaborates with Siri and Zarana to grow their story idea:A girl who really loves to paint get a magic paintbrush from her kooky aunt on her 10th birthday. She uses it to paint the animals she loves, but it turns out that her imagination is opening up doorways to a locked, magical world that’s letting the animals from her paintings out into the real world.Join an imagination-filled Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as Carlos and the twins take a field trip to the Children's Museum of the Arts NYC to: Create clay landscapes in CMA's art studios  while talking about silhouette painting and creativityDiscuss their inspiration for the story idea: the power of imagination and screentimeGrow a story about a main character who discovers what happens when she unleashes her anger and lets it take control of her creativityThe episode concludes with this week’s storytime (17:00) where Carlos reads the story he grew from Siri and Zarana’s story seed: Citaria’s Paintbrush.Books and media mentioned in this episode: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez, A Wrinkle in Time by Margaret L'Engle, The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, and His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman.Calls to ActionBonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Carlos. You’ll get to hear more about his life as an author and a game designer.Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club.Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here. Show creditsProduced and written by Sandhya Nankani, Anjali Sakhrani, and  Kayla Fedeson. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

41mins

14 May 2020

Rank #2

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Barking up the Right Tree with Tracey Baptiste

This week’s quarantine edition of Story Seeds brings together two super imaginative Jersey girls: Tracey Baptiste (New York Times bestselling author of MINECRAFT: THE CRASH, as well as the creepy Caribbean series THE JUMBIES) and Amalia Tsampalis (age 12). Tracey helps Amalia grow this story idea:An athletic 12 year old girl loves to climb trees. Maybe this tree she loves to climb is in her backyard. It's really tall and there's not a lot of branches left. The personality of the tree is old and wise, and it's purposely losing its branches because it wants to create a challenge for the girl. Follow this adventure as Story Seeds creator Sandhya Nankani sits in for Betsy Bird to host Tracey and Amalia’s virtual collaboration via video chat where:They explore the power of nonverbal communication and brainstorm ideas for a wise tree characterThey create an athletic, strong, girl characterThey discover they both have Trinidadian roots and share stories about celebrating carnivalAmalia requests Tracey to weave her experiences of breaking an arm into the storyTracey documents her writing process in a series of voice memo diariesThe episode concludes with this week’s story time (20:25) where Tracey reads the story she grew from Amalia’s story seed: Joy’s Challenge.Books and media mentioned in this episode: THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste and THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE series by Mary Pope Osborne.Calls to ActionBonus Episode: Betsy Bird is back next week to interview Tracey so do tune in to hear them chat about writing and staying creative in quarantine.Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club.Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!Hey Listeners! Looking for ways to support our show? Well, now you can! Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds. This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here. Show creditsThis episode was produced and hosted by Sandhya Nankani. Co-producers are Anjali Sakhrani and Kayla Fedeson. Sound  mixing, design, and score is by Ania Grezsik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

30mins

28 May 2020

Rank #3

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From Home School to Public School with Veera Hiranandani

This week’s Story Seeds collaboration follows Veera Hiranandani, author of the Newbery Honor winning novel The Night Diary, and 10 year old creative rockstar Willa! Veera Hiranandani helps Willa grow this story seed about:A girl and her mom live in the middle of the woods in a small cottage. She's never gone to school but she's learned all her school subjects through her surroundings. Suddenly, they were beginning to lose money, so her mom decides that she needs to get a job, and her daughter needs to go to a real school. This is a huge change for her, and she has to find a way to fit in in her new school.Follow Veera and Willa's Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as they: Meet in person and go on a tour of Willa’s school, The Blue School, in downtown New York CityBrainstorm ideas for Willa’s story seed and compare notes about their school experiencesChat about the importance of names and what it feels like to be a fish out of waterHash out the inciting incidentThe episode concludes with this week’s storytime segment (13:00) where our featured author, Veera Hiranandani, reads the story she grew from Willa’s story seed: Under the Maple TreeBooks mentioned in this episode: The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani.  Calls to ActionBonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Veera Hiranandani. You’ll  get to hear about how she made her start as a writer and her secret connection to Dora the Explorer!Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club! Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here. Show credits: Produced and written by Sandhya Nankani and Anjali Sakhrani. Kayla Fedeson is our Associate Producer. Scoring, mixing, and sound design is by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio was recorded by Julia Botero. Our host is Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMTThe Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

25mins

19 Mar 2020

Rank #4

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It's Our Theme Song. Come Sing Along!

The Story Seeds Podcast theme song was 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. But, fun fact: like many of the creative rockstars featured on The Story Seeds Podcast, Andrew actually got his start making music as a child, using a Tascam four track tape machine to record! Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, he loved nature and playing outdoors with his friends, catching snakes and frogs and sometimes making little terrariums with the creatures they’d find. For this theme song, he was inspired by the magical and playful theme songs of classic children’s shows he watched as a child; shows such as Reading Rainbow, Maya the Bee, and David the Gnome.Calls to ActionKids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club .Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable Imagination Lab activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!Hey Listeners! Looking for ways to support our show? Well, now you can! Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds. Our theme song song is also available to stream on YouTube. Subscribe here. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

1min

23 May 2020

Rank #5

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The View From The Top with Chris Grabenstein

This week’s Story Seeds collaboration follows the one and only Chris Grabenstein, author of the NYTimes best-selling Mr. Lemoncello's Library series, and creative rockstar Jasper! Chris Grabenstein helps Jasper grow this idea:A story about a 74 foot tall mystery solver.Follow this special Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as: Chris invites Jasper over to his NYC apartment to chat about his giant story seed which is about a 12 year old boy detective named Zeta Zingone who is 74 feet tallThey talk about how to root even the wackiest and wildest storytelling ideas in  logic and factsThey get a view from Chris' rooftop deck and imagine what it’s like to be 74 feet tallThe episode concludes with this week’s storytime segment (15:55) where Chris reads the story he grew from Jasper’s story seed: The World’s Biggest Detective.Last but not least, this episode was recorded when Jasper was 12 years old. He is now 13, a proud teenager. Books mentioned in this episode: Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein. Tall Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind.Calls to ActionBonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Chris Grabenstein. He talks about getting his start by writing for the school newspaper and shares tips on how to write a great mystery.Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club .Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here. Show creditsProduced and written by Sandhya Nankani and Anjali Sakhrani. Kayla Fedeson is our Associate Producer. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by Nathan Miller. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

27mins

2 Apr 2020

Rank #6

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The Hungry Mirror with Rajani LaRocca

This week’s Story Seeds collaboration brings together 12 year old creative rockstar Liyana and Rajani LaRocca, author of the 2019 middle-grade hit Midsummer’s Mayhem (a Kirkus Best Book of 2019 and a Must Reads in the 2020 Massachusetts Book Awards) .Rajani helps Liyana grow this story seed:A girl who doesn’t fit in with her family of celebrities (her mom is a Bangladeshi supermodel and her dad is a Japanese soccer player) gets a magic mirror from a fairyFollow this magical Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as Rajani and Liyana: Go on a hunt at a New York City antique store to find an (almost) magic mirrorTalk about the 3 key ingredients for an excellent urban fairytale: fairies, fantasy, and foodCelebrate and represent biracial characters inspired by Liyana’s heritageThe episode concludes with this week’s storytime (15:49) where Rajani reads the story she grew from Liyana’s story seed: Aina and the Mirror.Books and media mentioned in this episode: Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca, Little Women by Louisa May AlcottFood mentioned in this episode: channachur, okra, hot dogs, pizza, and doughnutsCalls to ActionBonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Rajani. You’ll get to hear about not only her writing career, but wait ... guys ...  she’s a doctor too!Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club.Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here. Show creditsProduced and written by Sandhya Nankani, Anjali Sakhrani, and  Kayla Fedeson. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

30mins

30 Apr 2020

Rank #7

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Heroes and Queens with Aram Kim

This week’s Story Seeds collaboration brings together 7 year old creative rockstar Cici and Aram Kim, Elmhurst Queens-based Korean-American author and illustrator of Bank Street’s Best Children’s Book of 2018 "No Kimchi for Me." Aram  Kim helps Cici grow this story seed about:Electric Kitty, a superhero who floats on blasts of light and fights evil electric things that try to take her superpowers.Follow along on an electrifying Story Seeds adventure with our host Betsy Bird as she introduces listeners to the genre of superhero stories, and as Aram Kim:  Visits Cici’s home in Jackson Heights, Queens to meet her cat Nola, the inspiration behind Electric KittyHelps Cici develop Electric Kitty's character and superhero origin story using the 5Ws of storytellingInvites Cici to design and illustrate  Electric Kitty’s boots-a-blazin' lookChronicles her own creative process and creates a tale about Electric Kitty’s face off with a menacing wind monster who wraps their Queens neighborhood in darknessThe episode concludes with a storytime segment (16:29) where Aram, reads the original story she grew from Cici’s story seed: "Adventures of Electric Kitty: The Blackout."Books and media mentioned in this episode: Cat on the Bus, No Kimchi for Me, and Let's Go to Taekwondo by Aram Kim. Songs: "There's a Platypus Controlling Me” - Phineas and Ferb. Comic Books: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Panther.Calls to ActionBonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Aram. You'll get to go behind the scenes and hear how Aram got her start as a writer.Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club.Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here. Show creditsProduced and written by Sandhya Nankani and Anjali Sakhrani. Kayla Fedeson is our Associate Producer. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

29mins

16 Apr 2020

Rank #8

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Bonus Q&A: Betsy Bird Interviews Carlos Hernandez

Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Carlos Hernandez, author of Rick Riordan Presents' Sal and Gabi series and winner of 2020 Pura Belpré Author Award. They go behind the scenes of  Episode 6: The Paintbrush of Doom  and talk about what it was like working with twins Siri and Zarana and growing their story seed (a girl who receives a magic paintbrush from her kooky aunt that turns whatever you paint, real! Things are going great as she creates dozens of hybrid creatures until ... upset by her friends' disbelief of the power of her paintbrush, she unleashes her anger on her canvas and paints a monster who comes alive!) On this bonus episode, Carlos also talks to Betsy about how his work as a board game and video game designer helped him write the SAL AND GABI books as well as the importance of being your truest, most kooky self. Books mentioned in this episode: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez Clockwork Phoenix Five by Mike Allen. Games mentioned in this episode: Dear Reader, Dungeons and DragonsCalls to ActionKids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club.Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!) that offer opportunities to read, write, and get creative alongside listening to each episode . You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!Hey Listeners! Looking for ways to support our show? Well, now you can! Visit our recently launched glow.fm page where you can support The Story Seeds Podcast on a recurring or one-time basis. Your donation - large or small - will help us create more episodes of the show and give us the ability to provide opportunities for more kids from around the world to participate in Story Seeds. This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here. Show creditsMatt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

23mins

21 May 2020

Rank #9

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Bonus Q&A: Betsy Bird Interviews Veera Hiranandani

Listen along as The Story Seeds Podcast host Betsy Bird chats with Veera Hiranandani (author of the Newbery Honor-winning book THE NIGHT DIARY). They go behind the scenes and talk about what it was like to grow 10 year old Willa’s story seed into the short story "Under the Maple Tree" for Episode 2 “From Homeschool to Public School."In this bonus episode, Veera also shares writing tips, including the importance of drawing inspiration from your own experiences and naming your characters. Plus, she talks about her writing life and tells us the cool story of her journey to becoming a published children's book author. Books and Media mentioned in this episode: The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani. Dora the Explorer. Spongebob Squarepants. Blue's Clues. Call to ActionKids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at storyseeds@literarysafari.com, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club! Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!Grownups: Visit www.storyseedspodcast.com for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the  kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari. This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here. Show credits:  Matt Boynton and Ania Grzesik of Ultraviolet Audio for the sound mixing, design, and score of our bonus episode. Theme music is composed and performed by Andrew VanWyngarden. And, our host is Betsy Bird. The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari www.literarysafari.com

22mins

26 Mar 2020

Rank #10