Discover Your Very Own Story Generator

Like everyone else on the East Coast, I was snowbound this past weekend. It was really nice to be home with my favorite people with nowhere to be (except outside shoveling). I did discover though, that we were spending a lot of time with the television on. Since we generally adhere to pretty strict screen time controls in my house, this was unusual. I put up with it for a while and then I just had to get everyone away from the screens.


Going outside wasn’t really an option, so I suggested a story telling contest. We did it as a round: the first person tells the first part of the story, they then pass it along to the next person (usually mid-sentence) to continue the story. The second person then tells whatever part of the story want and passes it along to the next person. You are out if you can’t come up with a good way to continue the story.


 Discover Your Very Own Story Generator


The kids have really good imaginations and, more importantly, no qualms about defying logic to keep the story moving along. I guess that’s why they were the clear winners.


Later that night I happened upon this article about short story vending machines in France. According to the article, commuters at railway stations in Grenoble, France, can print out free stories at the touch of a button. Readers are able to choose one minute, three minutes or five minutes of fiction. The co-founder of the vending machines says that in just the first two weeks of availability, more than 10,000 stories have already been printed.


The next day (still completely snowed in), I gave in to pressure and let the kids watch the movie “The Little Princess.” In one scene of the story one little girl actually says to her friend, “Oh Sarah, I don’t think I can live without your stories!”


The Power of Stories and Storytellers


What do these three separate things have in common? The power of stories in our lives. I think it is true what the child in “The Little Princess” voices to her friend: we really can’t live with the power of stories and the storytellers who make them. That’s why it is so important to have a ready source of new stories in our lives. The story generators in France are cool, but if you think about it, sources of stories are everywhere. Our kids tell us stories about their lives when we ask, “What happened at school today?” We watch stories on television, enjoy them at the movies, and read them in books. We observe stories in action when we see interactions between people, watch events unfolding, and struggle with the daily goings on that make up our lives.


And, of course, we can’t forget our monthly dose of stories arriving in our mailbox via Cricket, Spider, Ladybug, and Cicada. These stories come from the imaginations of authors throughout the world complemented by illustrations from some of the most talented artists of this generation. Go ahead and collect each issue as it comes. Keep them for those days, like the ones I’m experiencing now, where you are inside with your favorite people and could use a few stories to brighten up your day, start a conversation, and jump-start your family’s storytelling.

Story-making Innovation

It’s no secret that the world has changed quite a bit over the past 40 years. When we were young, kids anxiously checked mailboxes for the latest print issue of Cricket. Now they check inboxes for messages from friends. Getting something tangible is still a thrill, but now children access content digitally. They’ve moved from vinyl Colorforms to interactive dress-up dolls and from the magic of Lite-Brite to the beauty of retina displays. Regardless of the medium, there is a common thread between our own childhoods and the activities our children engage in now. That common thread is Story. Stories are the framework for our lives.

For more than 40 years, Cricket has been a story innovator, proudly fostering story-making in children, by providing a rich experience of unparalleled narrative, art, and ideas in its award-winning magazines. Cricket is expanding that innovation through our latest partnership with Wonder and Company, through a progressive storytelling adventure, aimed at boldly re-imagining narrative for contemporary young readers. This multi-channel experience will be fueled by user imagination and play out in magical boxes, rich print periodicals, and engaging online experiences.

We’re inviting all Cricket families to participate in that innovation. Join us in this Make-Your-Own-Story Adventure, a subscription box and interactive narrative and program for children ages 7-14. The journey begins in January 2016 and will unfold over the course of a year. That same thrill you felt finding your newest edition of Cricket or Ladybug in your mailbox is amplified here, as Wonder and Company’s quarterly Wonderful Objects subscription boxes arrive on your doorstep, full of enchantment and the makings of a story. Those story threads are woven together with content found in our Spider, Cricket and Cicada magazines, revealing, over time, Kyngdom, the world in which this interactive storytelling experience takes place. The plot? Well that’s part of the mystery, and the magic, as it’s shaped by participants along the way.

Want your child to be a part of this amazing new adventure in storytelling? Start by subscribing to Wonderful Objects by visiting and signing up. Then, look for clues in future issues of Cricket, Spider and Cicada magazines. Kyngdom is designed to be a Make-Your-Own-Story Adventure unlike anything your child has experienced before. We can’t wait for the story to get started!

Come join us on this magical adventure and receive 10% off any subscription plan! Use code GIFT15 at checkout. Order by December 18 to receive a special under-the-tree gift in time for Christmas.

Growing Up Cricket

Are you one of the millions of readers who have been touched by the stories and art that have graced the pages of each of the magazines in the Cricket family? Do you remember your monthly dash to the mailbox, filled with anticipation and excitement, to see if the latest Cricket issue arrived?

Did you grow up a Cricket kid?

In 1973, Cricket started a quiet revolution in magazines for children.

Cricket Magazine revolutionized children’s media. Imagine: the first children’s publication that took children seriously as story readers, storytellers, and story-makers. Our guiding principle has always been the belief that imaginative young readers will respond enthusiastically to wonderful stories accompanied by world-class illustrations that encourage them to think, imagine and believe.

Throughout the decades, Cricket has discovered new artistic talent, fostered young artists, and filled each issue with beautiful art, inspirational text and amazing stories. Writing and publishing luminaries, including Nobel Prize winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer, National Book Award and Newbery Medal Winner Lloyd Alexander, author Eleanor Cameron, and Virginia Haviland have all played a part in creating the Cricket legacy. You may even recognize a few of the young artists who have appeared on our pages throughout the years including Hilary Knight , Tomie dePaola, Paul O. Zelinsky, Lisbeth Zwerger, Sue Truesdell, and Marilyn Hafner, to name a few.
Raise a Storyteller

Raise a Storyteller. Change the World.

Because storytelling is fundamental to the human experience and brings people together, we are declaring 2016 “The Year of the Storyteller”. To begin the celebration, we created a new destination, Growing Up Cricket, to bring families the rich experience of the unparalleled storytelling, art and ideas that have always been the hallmarks of our award-winning Cricket magazines.

We have never forgotten that the Cricket legacy begins with the writers and artists who have gotten their start in Cricket. It is the art and the stories themselves that have stood the test of time and continue because they were created especially for Cricket readers. More than 40 years later, Cricket is still inspiring children to be the story tellers they want to be, to help them see the world in a new light.

Your family is a part of the Cricket legacy. Your kids can be Cricket Kids just like you were, reading Cricket from cover to cover and enjoying all that it has to offer.

Enter the Folklorist Challenge

Cricket Media and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage are pleased to cosponsor the 2nd Annual Global Folklorist Challenge. This contest, aimed at kids from 8 to 18, is designed to connect kids with the local tradition bearers in in their communities, giving the tradition bearers an outlet to tell their own personal stories and introducing kids to those in their communities with wisdom and knowledge that should be passed down from generation to generation.


For thousands of years, storytelling has been an integral part of community life. Even in the digital age storytelling plays an important role in shaping belief systems and transmitting knowledge from person to person. The stories people tell, and the cultural traditions they preserve, speak volumes about what they value and how they bring meaning to their lives and to the lives around them.


Both individual and team entries are encouraged for the Folklorist Challenge. Cultural traditions students might explore include dance, games, handicrafts, cooking, storytelling, customs, distinctive jobs, and more. To help the students get the most out of the activity, the official Folklorist Challenge website includes comprehensive supporting materials that reinforce real world folklorist skills by defining terms, providing examples, tips, and organizational tools, and by walking students through professional interview and story-shaping processes. Participants can also have their questions answered by Smithsonian experts.


Check out last year’s winners.
Find all the rules and other information here.
We can’t wait to see your videos and presentations!