Bringing bedtime stories back into fashion

A new project is trying to bridge the gap between young and old by bringing bedtime storytelling to children and adults alike

Many care organisations for children deal with physical emergencies and provide food and shelter, but as one carer revealed to Samantha Edouardes, founder of The Delight Makers Foundation: “We cannot make children sleep at night.” This simple remark became the catalyst for The Delight Makers’ first project: A Thousand Grandparents & Bedtime Stories.

The idea is simple: grandparents tell stories in front of a camera and the recorded videos are put online for children to watch. The project aims to deliver knowledge and a sense of love, and to foster tolerance and understanding; elements of life that, according to The Delight Makers, have been neglected. The project also hopes to give children access to different cultural traditions in a direct and easily accessible way.

While the project uses the term ‘grandparents’, anybody who would like to tell a story is welcome to do so. The first 40 stories have already been recorded in the UK and Australia by a wide variety of individuals including authors, artists, actors and environmentalists, and a further 100 are scheduled for recording in the next few months. Once the first 250 are recorded the project will roll out to the public.

Stories will initially be ‘read’ online to groups of children selected with the help of charities. Based on their feedback, the stories will be fine-tuned before they are made available to The Delight Makers’ members, and then finally made freely available to all online. The charity is also looking into other forms of distribution to reach more children.

“Storytellers are silly, creative, scientific, practical and philosophers,” says Edouardes, noting that anyone can be a storyteller if they have something to share. “If you had only one story that you could tell to your children, grandchildren and children of the world, what would it be? The story with the power to make a difference?”