If Peter Weck and Blake Williams take on a child-like glow and cartoon-like whimsy in the accompanying photograph, it’s completely in character. They’re having a ton of fun at StoryJumper, a new downtown Menlo Park-based startup that wants to turn the country into children’s book writers – starting with kids themselves.
The StoryJumper website features a creative writing platform for kids with a built in mechanism for the adults who’d like to preserve their stories. Included is a free set of writing tools and tutorials, as well as a library of artwork that lets children illustrate their stories with just a few clicks. Kids can share their books online with friends and family; grown ups can order professionally printed hardback copies.
“Our goal is to make the process simple and easy,” say CEO Weck (pictured left).
Locally, the startup is hosting writing workshops for grade school kids, working with the Menlo Park Library on its revamped children’s section, and visiting schools, including Beechwood in east Menlo Park, to show teachers and classrooms how the tools can be used.
“What’s been interesting about working with teachers is that they see uses beyond creative writing,” says Williams, the company’s VP for product and marketing. “They incorporate it into social studies and science curriculum. They’re so anxious to get something different and exciting into their classrooms. To be able to provide the tool to do is that really exhilarating.”
Next on the startup’s list is a version of the tools for Apple’s new iPad. It’s undoubtedly the first of what will be many new chapters in the company’s own story, which you can read online.
Photo by Chris Gulker