Friday, May 11, 2012

Children's Book Week 2012: Be There Bed Time Stories

Families and friends who live far away from each other with hundreds of miles or even an ocean separating them can be emotionally draining at times. Close the gap by visiting through the wonderful technology of the Internet by sharing your favorite bed time story with the youngster in your life. I recently participated in creating a video excerpt of my award-winning Underground Railroad children’s book, TheGolden Pathway and I’m pleased to share with you a behind the scenes look of Be There Bedtime Stories with Alison Sansone.

About Be There Bedtime Stories:
Be There Bedtime Stories is a website that delivers bedtime stories from the web - known as  "Webtime Stories™" - for families far apart. We position webcam recorded video of a storyteller onto the page of a children's e-book, so grandparents, traveling parents, military parents or even aunts and uncles can still 'be there' for this age-old storytelling tradition, during the formative years of a child's life. We like to think that Webtime Stories™ build relationships and build readers, through these read-aloud video recordings.

How does it work?

It's super simple - as one of our focus group mommies put it "…I had a slight fear of the [webcam] technology, but your website did all the work!" 

1. Choose an e-book from our online bookstore; 

2. Read the story aloud in front of your webcam, as it displays on your
computer screen - sound effects, hand gestures and duets are highly encouraged; 

3. We position the video of you - the storyteller - onto the page of the e-book and then email a special link to anyone you choose; your recorded Webtime Stories™ are viewable any number of times, forever. 

And Webtime Stories™ play direct from your own bookshelf on our secure website, so you don't have to download anything or figure out how to transfer video files. 

What inspired it?

Well, I don't have children of my own and my only two nieces live 2000 miles away, in Chicago. It was really frustrating to not be recognized when I would visit in those early years. I wanted to be a part of those really neat memories that we all have from childhood - I wanted to make an impact on their lives.

I was running my own video marketing production company at the time and, so, combining video media with something for kids was making its way to the frontal lobe region of my brain and, wah-lah! video bedtime stories appeared!

The best part of the creating the demo was to see the organic interactivity between my father and my nieces. They loved it! I had my sister record video of them watching the first Webtime Story and all of their reactions were spot-on! My father naturally paused on one page to count the hippos and they counted out loud with him. Then at the end of the story, my father made mention of a little inside joke before saying goodnight; well, right on queue, my niece popped up from her pillow and bantered right back at her grandpa in the video. Both girls were glued to the screen and engaged, yet it was organically interactive despite the fact that it was a recording.

The fact that it is a video recording makes for a really unique family keepsake. I think it's so cool to think that my niece's great-grandchildren will be able to know a bit about me by watching my storytelling style, 100 years from now!

How many books do you offer?

We currently have ten small to med size publishers that have offered over 200 titles through our bookstore. Books are appropriate for ages ranging from 2-8 years old and we even have Spanish language stories, too! We're continuing to reach out to other publishers to add more titles.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Totally, I'm glad you asked! One of our best projects is offering people visiting the site the opportunity to buy Webtime Stories™ for military families. It's such a simple yet powerful way to support the troops deployed overseas. We have a great partnership with a leading military family support org - Visitors to our site can purchase a story for just $4.99 and then we distribute the Webtime Stories™ through Blue Star Families. 

We also have a way for folks to promote it in their workplace, church or organization. We can even track your group's donations, if your company or organization is interested in matching. Here is the link to that program:

I invite you to visit with my fellow Guardian Angel Publishing authors at their blogs during Children’s Book Week 2012 and beyond:
Don’t forget to enter our contest:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist


  1. I love the inspiration behind Be There Bedtime Stories, Alison. And what a fantastic church project to donate stories to military families! I must help spread the word.

  2. I am constantly amazed at people's cleverness! This sounds like such a good idea and one that is sure to catch on for people separated by distance. Thanks for sharing.


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