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Storymakery: a Perfect Daddy/Daughter Night Out

We visited as a guest of the venue

Storymakery at Irvine Spectrum Center

One of the activities my wife and I like to do from time to time is spend an evening with each child one on one.  With that in mind on Friday night, my daughter and I had a planned activity. Trying to figure out an activity that is fun, educational and unique was my focus for the week prior to our night out. Fortunately for me, I was given an opportunity to visit Storymakery at Irvine Spectrum.

Dress-up at Storymakery at Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine

While I was not fully familiar with the store, the evening’s plan was very intriguing.The activity would start by local author, Jeannie Fung reading her book (Hawaii) and then answering some questions.

After that, the kids would each write their own stories and get it published. I thought that ending the evening with a book, and meet and greet with an author should make for a successful night for us. A little history behind Storymakery, the founder Payal Kindiger decided to create a place for children where they can be creative.

Kids creating books at Storymakery at Irvine Spectrum Center

Ms. Kindiger left the world of technology behind to create this place. But one thing that comes through is that she uses technology to give tools for kids to create books. Now back to our evening out. Neka and I were greeted by the friendly staff at Storymakery and were informed that we had a bit of time before the author shows up. So we took our time and looked around the store. The place is brightly lit and designed to mix design of technology and literature.  As we walked from one area to the other we were greeted by costumes, books written by kids of all ages and in the middle of the store are these beautiful wooden trees.

Storymakery in Irvine

There are little wooden leaves hanging from them.  We walked over to one and picked out a leaf, and on there, we noticed it gave direction on writing a story.  This particular one provided a superhero genre.  We later found out that for kids that come in and need help writing a story, they can use these leaves to get started.

Cards to help kids create a book at Storymakery

As we were looking around, Ms. Fung, the author of Hawaii arrived.  Ms. Fung was accompanied by her three daughters and husband.  We chatted for a while as she gave us the background and the origin of her story.  Ms. Fung started to write the Hawaii story 15 years ago when she, her husband and their newborn daughter Madison went to Hawaii.  Jeannie and her family are very much into traveling and experiencing new things.  One of the reasons she wrote this book, was to encourage other parents to make more trips with their kids.

Meeting an author at Storymakery in Irvine

The next part of the evening was Jeannie and Madison reading the book for the audience. It was great fun as they gave background information as they were going through the story.  They also shared the manuscript and the original drawings they did together.

Storymakery Author Night

Author reading to children at Storymakery in Irvine

Then came the hands-on experience part of the evening.  We had the opportunity to create our own book!  The store has three zones that break down the writing and publishing aspect of the book development.

Character Studio at Storymakery in Irvine

Writing Studio at Storymakery in Irvine

Publishing Studio at Storymakery in Irvine

We started with writing down the outline of the story and then moving on to the computer to type it up.  After the story was typed up, a staff member came over and edited the story.  We were then given directions on how to create our own characters and page designs.

Neka making a character for her book at Storymakery in Irvine

Helping children create a book at Storymakery in Irvine

After the story has been completed, the story is sent to the printer!

Where they make books at Storymakery in Irvine

We then had our prized possession in our hand!  Neka got her book published.  Ms. Fung looked over the final published book on our way out.

Neka looking at her finished book at Storymakery in Irvine

The evening was a success as we had a memorable night writing and publishing a book.  storymakery.com provides kids of all ages the ability to get started with writing and publishing their books from home (Just visit their website).  Also, you have the opportunity to have your kid’s design printed on other merchandise (shirts or cups, etc.). We had a lot of fun that night, and I couldn’t recommend the experience enough.  So what’s next?  Storymakery has plans of having local authors present their books once a month and have reading of their work.  Ms. Fung also is working on her next book, which is about Alaska.

Learn more about Storymakery online, and the author online and on Facebook.

Houman Jazaeri is an OC dad who juggles work, play and his love of technology. On the side he runs Socialacity.com, a website that reviews apps and has published his first book, 52 Apps for the College Student.
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