Suppressing Talents: something between an open letter & a rant

There’s this TED Talk by Ken Robinson about how schools are destroying creativity. I agree with him strongly. Our educational institutions are thoroughly career-oriented because most people are under the impression that getting a job and earning a lot of money are the two main purposes of life. Sure, they’re important, but by no means are they the most important goals you have to achieve in life. We’re being forced to use just the left side of our brain when it comes to education, and our creativity, passion and imagination are being suppressed. Anywhere you go, you’ll find the arts down at the bottom of the subject hierarchy, far below languages, maths, the sciences and the humanities. Why? Because dance won’t get you anywhere. Because algebra is more important that singing. Because drama is just a pastime and cannot be considered as a real subject. Because painting does not make you the CEO of a large company.

This is a subject I feel very strongly about but a recent meeting with a doctor, who was a total stranger to me, made me feel compelled to write the following:


Dear Mr. My-Father’s-Incredibly-Smart-Colleague,

You asked me what I’m planning for my future, and I told you I wanted to have a future of full-time writing.

You, a total stranger, then proceeded to give me a long lecture about how writing is just a hobby and it won’t get me anywhere. You had the nerve to compare me with a relative of yours who used to want to be a flight attendant and ended up studying microbiology or genetic engineering or something, which I respect but, I am not her.

Continue reading “Suppressing Talents: something between an open letter & a rant”


My Journey

I originally posted this on APT 18 and the Feedback Page. I just felt like posting it on YSBU too 🙂

I’ve been on Storybird for over two years now, and it’s home. It’s family. It’s life, to be honest.
On October 27 2012 (my birthday), I was flipping through a children’s magazine, b0red. In the website reviews section, something caught my eye:

I decided to visit it, even though most websites they reviewed were too childish for me. I typed in the URL and pressed Enter, and I was taken to another world. Storybird was very different then from what it is now: there were no mentions, reposts, notifications, longform books, poetry, or anything of the sort. The layout was totally different from what it is now. Still, I found the website intriguing and made an account on it with the username, NancyBlake – a pseudonym I liked to use often.
And then, I started to read.
Continue reading “My Journey”

Books I Love

Please note, these are youth/young adult books. These books might not work for you, according to your taste or age.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is my all time favorite book. It is set in Germany in the days of World War ll. It is narrated by Death, who takes interest in a girl named Liesel. She is adopted by her new parents, Hans and Rosa, and befriends a boy named Rudy. Liesel learns to read and write when she steals a book from a man. When Liesel’s family hides a Jew from the officials, she learns from this Jew, named Max, the power of words, and the meaning of family and hope, which she didn’t understand before, due to her many hardships.

Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper: Melody can’t write, talk, walk, feed herself, or even use the restroom herself. But she’s always loved words, and she’s a smart kid underneath the messy exterior. Melody tries out for a quiz team, and gets in, much to the dismay of bullies she hates. Melody, basically pulling the most weight of the group, leads her team to victory in the city finals. Her world is shattered when two things happen… Her team abandons her from going to Washington DC for the national contest. Also, her little sister is run over by a car. She is deathly afraid of her sister being messed up like her. This is a very very good book.

I hope you guys would like to read these books, which I found intriguing and very powerful. I will post more books as I find them!!

My Reading List

I am reading loads of books at the moment, in and out of Storybird. Here are some books I really recommend =D Happy reading!

Storybird (Longform Books)

Just some of the many Undiscovered Jems which deserve more views, more hearts, more reposts and more comments. Sorry, no links to profiles. Too much work x) If you have any books you’d like to share, pleaase tell me below!

Outside Storybird:

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith




10 Books That Will Knock Your Socks Off

Books books books, the wonderful world of books! So many to read, and so little time.

For many of us, it’s summer. And summer means boredom. So, I’ve come up with a small list of book suggestions for tweens and young teens. I’ve read all of these books, loved them, and I would strongly recommend you read.

1. The “Erec Rex” series by Kaza Kingsley. Underground worlds? Cheating royalty? Misuse of power? The Erec Rex series has it all! Erec Rex’s life is tipped upside down when he discovers a whole new, magical world hidden underneath his own. He joins up with friends like Bethany, Oscar, and Jack to take down the evil Baskinia and save himself and the rest of the world! The first book is called “Erec Rex and the Dragon’s Eye.”

2. The “Fablehaven” series by Brandon Mull. Ugh, brothers can be annoying, and Kendra Sorenson can testify to that. But when Kendra and her brother, Seth, are sent to their grandparents’ for the summer, Kendra realizes that she depends on her brother as much as he depends on her. The Sorenson family embarks on a dangerous adventure to collect several hidden artifacts, artifacts that, if placed into the wrong hands, could mean the end of Fablehavens everywhere. The first book is called “Fablehaven.”

3. “Peter Pan in Scarlet” by Geraldine McCaughrean. What’s the word that gets things done? Peter Pan doesn’t know. But with the help of Wendy and the lost boys, he embarks on a thrilling adventure to find out just exactly who he is.

4. “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell. Who says animals don’t have souls? Black Beauty sure does. In a tale of thrills and suffering, this valiant horse tells his life story: about the friends he made, the humans who hurt him, the adventures he tackled, and the lives he changed. This classic is sure to capture the hearts of people everywhere.

5. “The Call Of The Wild” by Jack London. Stolen from his home and family, a dog named Buck must quickly learn the harsh law of survival among the men and dogs of the gold-crazed North. His intelligence, courage, and cunning transform him into a feared leader. As wolves attack and men grow desperate, Buck must heed the call of the wild. Only the strong will survive. (description copied off the back of the book)

6. “How I Survived Being A Girl” by Wendelin Van Draanen. Being a girl is tough, especially when all your neighbors are boys. How boyish can one get without loosing what being a girl is all about?

7. “There’s A Boy In The Girl’s Bathroom!” by Louis Sachar. This is one of my all time favorite books. “Give me a dollar or I’ll spit on you.” That’s Bradley Chalkers for you. He’s the oldest kid on the fifth grade. He tells enormous lies. He picks fights with girls, and the teachers say he has “serious behavior problems.” No one likes him – except Carla, the new school counselor. She thinks Bradley is sensitive and generous, and she even enjoys his farfetched stores. Carla knows that Bradley can change, if only he weren’t afraid to try. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is believing in yourself… (description taken from the back of the book)

8. Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet” and “Brian’s Winter.” These two books are a survival story of a young boy stranded in the wilderness. When the skills learnt in school fail, Brian has to depend on his cunning, intelligence, and one tool: a hatchet.

9. “Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine. Growing up with Asperger’s is one heck of a ride for young Caitlyn. Especially when she loses her older brother, Devon, the only one who has ever supported her. Caitlyn knows she needs closure, but how can she find something when she doesn’t even know what it is?

10. “Flipped” by Wendelin Van Draanen. She’s crazy been crazy about him ever since they moved to her street. He’s been avoiding her ever since life rudely forced them into being neighbors. But when fate tosses in an unlucky gesture, everything is flipped.

Get reading!

Anyone Interested?

*This is now closed. For the moment, at least. All those who replied under this comment will be contacted on SB soon. Thanks.*

Hey guys,

I’m a little short on ideas about what to post at the moment, and I need some fellow admins. If you’re interested, just comment below, with your username, why you want to admin and what you have in mind. You need to be a Storybirder, and have at least 5 books/chapter books/poems. I’ll talk to you on Storybird about administrating the blog soon after you comment 😀

Remember, any inappropriate behaviour, if you are chosen, will result in immediate expulsion. Wow, I sound like a principal.



15 Questions with Storybird

Here’s what we’ve all been waiting for: an interview the the Storybird team! Thanks to @molly, along with the rest of the Team for taking part in this!

hostRead on as the SB Team talk about the upcoming iOS App, a new logo, the community, getting noticed, a Storybird Convention, CHOCOLATE and much more!


1. What inspired Storybird?

A number of years ago, Mark, our CEO and Co-Founder, made a book with his son for their wife/mom. The shared experience was a memorable one, and it made Mark wonder if there was a way to build that would let many more people collaborate around the idea of creating and sharing stories. A few years later, Storybird was born!


2. When are you planning to release the Storybird iOS App? Will it have any exclusive features?

Our whole team is hard at work on the Storybird iOS App right now, and we’re on pins & potatoes with excitement about it! We expect to release it sometime this fall (no specific date yet). Keep an eye on the Feedback page on Storybird and we’ll probably share some updates when it gets closer to being available.


 3. Many users (including myself) wonder why they cannot base their stories on narratives (such as legends or myths) in the public domain. Why not?

We definitely allow stories based on legends or myths in the public domain. The tricky part, though, is when those legends or myths have already been popularized by other books or movies. For example: the original/public domain Hans Christian Andersen story of The Little Mermaid is very different than the Disney movie version, and writers sometimes get muddled about which details belong to which. The names of Ariel, Eric, Ursula, Flotsam & Jetsam, Flounder, etc were all invented by Disney for the movie; they weren’t in the original story. Ariel’s personality and behaviour is quite different in the movie than the little mermaid’s behaviour in the original story, too. So if your Storybird included any details that were (even accidentally!) based on the Disney movie or its characters or interpretation of the original source material, we’d have to send it back to you for revision as it could be considered a violation of Disney’s intellectual property.

P.S. If you ever have questions/confusion about a story that has been returned, you can write to and our Moderation team can help clarify what’s problematic so that you can revise it and get it published.


4. Will you be introducing Creative Partner features, such as Journals and the Biographies on their profiles, for Regular Members too, or are they just a CP thing?

For the near future, they’re just for Creative Partners. In the distant future . . . we haven’t decided yet!


 5.Do Creative Partners have a separate moderation queue?

The behind-the-scenes-process for Creative Partners has some extra steps in it, but the same team that moderates your stories moderates the CP books, too.


6. There have been rumours of a Storybird Convention in 2015. Is it true? If yes, have you got anything finalized? What regions will it take place in? And most importantly, will there be chocolate?

Anytime there’s a Storybird event, it definitely involves chocolate! We may be visiting some cities in 2015 but we’re still in the very early planning stages. But we hereby pinky-swear that when we have plans finalized, we will shout about them all over Storybird so you’ll know (and because we’ll be too excited not to)!


7. How do you manage to keep Storybird a friendly place for all ages while still allowing some slightly mature material?

As you can probably imagine, the Storybird team has many conversations about this, and we try hard to get the balance right, and adjust certain details as needed over time, too. That means listening closely to our members—reading your stories and comments and the messages you send to us—so that each time we make a decision about how Storybird should work, we’re thinking about the many different kinds of readers and writers who all use Storybird in different ways around the world everyday.


8. Do you have any stories on your Bookshelf right now?

I definitely do, and so does everyone on the Storybird team! We’re all pretty avid readers, and we’re just like you—we get giddy and excited each time we get a notification about a new chapter in a book we’re loving, or when someone we follow writes a great picture book or poem.


9. Which heart icon makes you the happiest?

I’m partial to “This is dazzling” and “This is on FIRE,” because they’re so expressive, but the “Shamrocked!” one makes me laugh a lot, too, for some reason.


10. Are comments moderated by Storyspotters too, or do you have a separate team for that?

Comments are moderated by staff who work on the Storybird team. Storyspotters just focus on books.


11. What motivates you guys to keep going?

Good music, good chocolate, and an awesome team of people to work with everyday.


12. Describe Storybird’s community in three words.

Honest. Encouraging. Heartfelt.


13. Would you like to give Storybirders any advice on how to get their work noticed?

This sounds obvious, but it’s really true: write the kind of story you’d most want to read. Chances are there’s someone else (or many people!) with similar reading tastes to you on Storybird, and if you’re having fun and writing a story that you know you’d enjoy reading, it’s likely that others will feel the same way, too.

Also, the more you comment on and heart other people’s work, the more likely you are to get new followers and make new friends who will respond to your work in return. (There’s a nice natural loop of support-and-be-supported on Storybird that way!) And if you don’t already do it, try regularly checking the Read page’s “Recent” stories and also the Poetry tab there – it’s always a great way to find interesting new users and stories, and you might see one of your stories or poems show up there unexpectedly, too.


14. Do you guys have anything new planned for the future?

Always! We’ve just hired two new staff members at Storybird (say hello to @Guinevere and @Nate) and will soon be hiring two more and will be putting all of them to work on a variety of new projects – some for people who use Storybird mostly for reading, others for those who use Storybird mostly for writing, and some for Artists and future Creative Partners. One thing we’re particularly excited about – revamping official Storybird Challenges sometime later this Fall. Annnnd……we may have a very exciting refreshed Storybird logo to share with you soon (squee)!


 15. Thank you so much for your time! Any last words?

We like you. All of you. Even more than chocolate.