The latest episode of StoryKids, to be released later this week, will be read by beloved children’s author Andy Griffiths. This episode is especially unique because it includes six kids telling six 100 word stories, instead of one child telling a 500 word story, and includes an interview with Andy Griffiths about his storytelling process.
One of the children whose story is featured is six-year-old Kopika Murugappan from Biloela, whose family was removed from Christmas Island when her sister Tharnicaa was hospitalised recently. Kopika’s story is called ‘Princess Kopika’ and is about being a princess in a tutu with a pet dragon and a cubby house.
Co-creator Amelia Christo said:
All children endeavour to make sense of their world through imaginative play and storytelling. Kopika is no different. She’s centred herself in a fairy tale where she is able to wear a tutu and climb out of her window and ride a dragon. A quintessential childhood tale.
StoryKids, a podcast showcasing Australian kids and their original stories brought to life by some of our best-known voices, including Matt Okine, Julia Zemiro, Yumi Stynes, Adam Goodes, Jamila Rizvi, Briggs, Andy Griffiths, Marc Fennell, David Campbell, Tim Minchin, Shari Sebbens, Virginia Gay, Mark Coles Smith and Damon Gameau.
Created by Verity Hunt-Ballard and Amelia Christo, the 10-minute podcasts feature an original story written by a child (between the ages of 8 – 14) and are brought to life by well-known Australian personalities and award-winning sound engineer Paul Ruske.
The radio play style podcasts for children and their families are released each week for 13 weeks and are available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The chosen storytellers and talent featured reflect the different cultural, social, and environmental experiences, with a strong focus on amplifying marginalised voices.
Partnering with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, creators Verity Hunt-Ballard and Amelia Christo, who met while studying at WAAPA, created the podcast during lockdown to celebrate kids voices and bring their original stories to life. The podcast was created from a desire to create content featuring original Australian ideas and voices.
Co-creator Verity Hunt-Ballard commented:
As parents, we keenly felt a gap in the primary school aged audio market and it was important for us to try to fill that with creative storytelling delivered in Australian accents. The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation could see the vision Amelia Christo and I had to develop StoryKids and we’re so incredibly grateful that they have supported us to create a truly unique, Australian, educational and socially conscious children’s podcast that we’re so very proud of!
Verity Hunt-Ballard is best known for her award-winning performance as Mary Poppins in the award-winning Australian production. Other notable credits include Sweet Charity (Hayes Theatre), Vivid White (Melbourne Theatre Company), and Hello Dolly! and Guys and Dolls (both with The Production Company). Amelia Christo is a creative producer, actor, teacher and advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre from WAAPA, a Bachelor of Laws (Murdoch University) and a Graduate Diploma in Education (Edith Cowan University.)
Season Three features original stories including:
- ‘The Castle of Chaos’ – A story about fights between a hero and a beastly dragon written by eight year old Cale from Perth and read by Matt Okine;
- ‘Paradise…or not?’ – A story about living on a deserted island with her best friends by Josie from Orange and read by Julia Zemiro;
- ‘The Lesson’ – A story about pulling pranks on your siblings who play too many video games by 11 year old Aswath (read in English, introduced in Tamil) and read by Mark Coles Smith;
- ‘The Walking Horse’ – A true story of a horse who wanders unaccompanied around her small town in Frankfurt by nine year old Sadie from the Macedon Ranges and read by Yumi Stynes;
- ‘The Heart of the Ocean’ – A story about the way people treat those who are homeless by 13 year old Audelia from Melbourne and read by Damon Gameau;
- ‘The Old Shop’ – A story about a young girl who discovers an old shop dedicated to healing mistreated animals by Manima an asylum seeker from Pakistan who lives in Sydney (read in English and introduced in Tamil). Read by Jamila Rizvi;
- ‘Let It Rip’ – A story by about friends at a Beyblade competition by 14 year old Jai from Melbourne who has with Downs Syndrome. Read by Marc Fennell;
- ‘The Night Sky Restaurant’ – A story about creating a restaurant for their community by ‘sister cousins’ Imogen, Nadine and Chloe who live next door to each other in the Indulkana First Nations community in South Australia. Introduced in their First Nations language and read by Adam Goodes and Shari Sebbens;
- ‘Elvis and the Big Dream’ – A story about a kid who loses his family in the bush and is rescued by an elder who takes him to the city to become a singer. Created by 11 year old Shane from the Indulkana community and read by Briggs;
- ‘ Lucky’ – A story about a girl learning to love a rescue puppy by nine year old Lila from Perth and read by David Campbell;
- ‘Coconut and the Thief of Food’ – A story about a war between food and drink that occurs within a fridge by 10 year old Flynn from Melbourne and read by Tim Minchin;
- ‘That Strange Night’ – the third installation of a story by a brother / sister team Edo & Gabs and read by Virginia Gay.
Seasons One and Two of StoryKids, featuring performers including Virginia Gay, Christine Anu, Baker Boy, Jesinta Franklin, Eddie Perfect, Benjamin Law, Nadine Gardner, Casey Donovan and many more are also available for download via Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF), established in 1999, is a national charity dedicated to raising language, literacy and numeracy standards in Australia. ALNF raises funds to develop, implement and sustain six innovative programs with tangible results, working across the nation. ALNF’s programs address a wide range of learning needs, with a particular focus on Indigenous, refugee and marginalised communities. ALNF believes that literacy is freedom – literacy allows individuals to access education, participate meaningfully in our society and to have a voice. It is a basic human right.
For more information and to listen to the podcast, visit www.storykids.com.au