We’re proud to present our newest and youngest digital storytellers! Download for free on your iPad the imaginative and worldly storybook apps created by children ages 8-13 at our Digital Storytelling Summer Camp!.Take a journey to Egypt, India, Canada, the Bahamas, China, Spain and England. Part of  Startup Summer Institute, held at the Howard University School of Mathematics and Science, the workshop blended storytelling, global adventures, world cultures, interactive technology, app development, and creativity. One camper described her story as a “roma” – a romance and drama.

Held the last two weeks of July, the first week focused on storytelling, designing, illustrating, writing, visual presentation and character sketching. Campers had to choose a country in the world, create a character from that country and write a story about that country with text, audio, video, photography and illustration. Our illustrator Alison Nicola stopped by that week to help the campers polish their character sketches.  They started their illustrations on Procreate app. The second week, using the Demibooks ComposerPro authoring tool for the iPad, each child was able to take their work and make their own storybook apps. ComposerPro is an app that helps make apps – easy to use for the kids but also giving them critical programming logic skills, user interface experience and animation skills.

“…you didn’t have GOOGLE in high school? That’s like a different dimension!” – Camper

Storytelling is age old. In Mali hired storytellers come to weddings and other celebrations to entertain and engage with tales in animated and exciting ways. We have put much emphasis on storytelling at the Global Sleepover. Our stories are rich in content and adventure. We wanted to replicate this experience and way of relating to the world for our campers. We discussed everything from the traditional story arc, to character development, to work makes a good and bad story. We also discussed the wonderful and creative multimedia options easily available to us today to tell a story. Is there something that is better related to the video then through text?

We also played  games which allowed us to think through stories some more- for example, we stood in a circle and each person took turns to contribute a new sentence to a new story. Was rather hilarious what happened in those stories and where the characters ended up! Another understanding we wanted to convey in the storytelling session is how to use technology to enhance and support natural creativity that is already flowing separate technology. For example, the children did not need technology to write, create, design or visualize their stories. A funny quote from our discussion on this point: “…you didn’t have GOOGLE in high school? That’s like a different dimension!” Creativity, imagination and goal-setting make for good friends. The campers originally claimed they have no artistic skill and then persevered to finish their hilarious and imaginative storybook apps with little creative direction from our team! A testament to how empowered, inspired and enthused they felt after letting their creativity loose, knowing the world is at their fingertips, and becoming published digital storytellers.

“And to see so many young black males so enthusiastic about writing interactive story books and the skills required to make the books is remarkable.  This experience also afforded the students to be exposed to other parts of the world which they incorporated into their stories. We see how these books written by young black youth could encourage other young black youth and others to read more especially since the books have interactive features and real live characters.  These digital books can be easily shared widely and globally.”

– Parent of Startup Summer Institute Camper


To download the interactive storybook apps on your iPad generation 2 or higher:

  • Download Demibooks Share App from the App Store (http://bit.ly/DemibooksShare) or search for “Demibooks Share” in iTunes.
  • Install the app. The app launches in “Store” view. The Startup Summer Institute Digital Storytelling projects will be at the top of the Store.
  • At any time you can also find the books created under the Startup Summer Institute Digital Storytelling Camp by touching the school’s logo in the “Featured” section or using Search-Schools.
  • Press download to download any book. The book will download to “Library.” Touch the book icon after download to read the book. Once done reading, touch the red X icon on the top right of any page to exit the book.
  • Once you have read a book you can comment, rate and share in Book Details. Touch the book icon in Store to go to Book Details. We encourage everyone to leave comments, rate and share!


Stories include:

  • Isaiah King, Captain Kid, Egypt
  • Conflicting Story of a Bollywood Romeo and Juliet
  • Choices
  • David Hill, Wipeout, the Bahamas
  • Mandy Uris-Chambers, Raining in Spain, Spain
  • Aminah Martin, A Royal Pain, England
  • Jeremiah Heath, Bruce Lee The Chinese Warrior, China
Now that the campers have made their own storybook app, they can use their knowledge to create more apps such as scrapbooks using photos  from a family holiday or a memorable event. They can also use their visual presentation and app making ideas to make presentations for school!

Go here for Kristin Reiber Harris’ blog about teaching ComposerPro to the campers the second week!

This blog post was written by Geeta Raj with support by Alison Nicola, Rafiq Ahmed and Kristin Reiber Harris. For a Digital Storytelling Workshop at your school, organization or camp, please contact bookings@globalsleepover.com