Smories.com is an innovative new website for lovers of children’s stories created by Londoners Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar.
The free site allows children to watch videos of other children reading short stories that are submitted by amateur writers.
Lisa and Ralph got the idea while on holiday during a long journey in a very dirty Land Rover from the Kalahari desert in Botswana to Cape Town in South Africa.
Lisa explains, “Our eight-year-old daughter had the idea to film herself, with our Ipod, reading Enid Blyton short stories and then play them back to her younger sister. This kept them entertained for hours. Our kids have always loved reading to each other and are transfixed when other children read them stories. They are also obsessed with the internet and will make their way to Youtube any time they get their hands on a computer.”
Ralph adds, “We thought a website that had a continuous flow of new stories, read aloud by kids, would make a healthier destination than so much of the stuff out there. Imagine you’re stuck in traffic and need to keep a miniature person entertained in the back. Access the site on your Iphone and voila.”
They also thought it would be a great platform for showcasing unpublished stories, allowing writers to test their work in a straightforward and transparent way and giving them exposure which they might otherwise not have received.
In order to attract stories, Smories.com awards £1,000 worth of prize money for the best five stories submitted each month. Fifty stories get shortlisted each month, are filmed with children reading them and the five films attracting the most traffic on the site win the prizes.
Fifty new films are added every month, building up an ever-growing online catalogue, which users will be able to filter by theme or content, create playlists or download to a mobile device.