You know how reading Harriet The Spy kind of made you want to be a spy as a kid? Well, the personalized children’s book startup Stepping Stories uses that same idea to help kids through some of the hardest transitions of childhood — from ditching the pacifier to coping with a lactose allergy (hey, getting used to the idea of no more ice cream is tough!) to losing a loved one. Got a kid who just isn’t getting the whole “taking turns” thing? Never fear! There’s a book for that.
No 5-year-old wants to hear a lecture on the finer points of his gluten allergy, but if you cast him as the star of a gluten allergy story, then he just might get the whole stop eating bread thing. Started by two mothers, Susan McCormick and Jen McVey, the company creates personalized story books that place your kid at the center of pre-packaged stories to help your kid through his “I hate brushing my teeth” phase.
McCormick told the Wall Street Journal that the concept for the startup started from a personal experience when her own 2-year-old just wouldn’t give up his pacifier. “We wrote up a story, just in Word with clip art, that walked him through what was going to happen,” said McCormick. “It was just very matter-of-fact. We read the story once, threw the pacifier out, said bye-bye to it a few times and that was that,” she said. McCormick decided to expand the idea into a full-fledged parenting startup in order to “offer parents some relief from the mountain of challenges that they face.”
According the the Stepping Stories website, the stories themselves, featuring repetition, egocentric storylines, and simple language (apparently kids all-time favorite things), “are rooted in well-researched theories of child development.” At the Stepping Stories website, you can customize the name, age, and look of a book’s “hero” and other characters, and you can even customize a “comfort object” to look like that ragged stuffed mouse your kid drags around with them everywhere.
Right now, the site features 14 different book templates, covering time-tested kids' issues like bullying, divorce, hygiene, and, of course, “the potty.” But the books also touch on issues unique to this new generation of kids, like the “Screen Time” book, and books on food allergies and eating healthy. All of the books are recommended for kids ages 6 and under. But by 7, little Sally is probably ready to move on to the big leagues and start modeling herself after Pippi Longstocking... if you’re lucky (maybe The Cat in The Hat or The Hulk if you’re not so lucky).
Now, if only there was something like this for grown-ups... ’caaause... I could definitely use a Crystal Overcomes Cookies book.