New business promotes children’s literacy

Two local mothers hope to increase childhood literacy in Cayman by making reading a little more personal for families.

Kiria Bodden and Denize Solomon recently launched Cayman Story Books, a home and internet-based business selling personalised picture books through their website: www.CaymanStoryBooks.com.

‘Children tend to read more when they see names they recognise,’ said Ms Bodden, noting that the child’s name, as well as the names of friends and familiar places, appear repeatedly throughout the books.

The stories can be personalised to fit events in a child’s life from newborn through the fifth or sixth grade. Titles and storylines not only deal with fear, but also with events like potty training, going fishing, experiences in summer camp and even difficult subjects such as drug prevention.

The child’s name is inserted into the text, creating a personalised adventure involving the youngster. Some books come with stickers the child can insert. One deals with the arrival of a new baby. By following the story and adding the stickers, the older child can develop positive attitudes about the new sibling.

‘When the story brings the child in, they can picture themselves solving situations,’ said Ms Solomon. ‘This is really empowering for a child.’

A love of reading and the need to inspire their own boys to read led to the decision to market the storybooks for and about children. The satisfaction of contributing to the community by getting children interested in reading is an added bonus.

Cayman Story Books is the exclusive distributor of Create-A-Books in Cayman. Parents provide personalised information about their child and select the book they think the child would enjoy. Stories are geared to all ethnic and religious groups with several Spanish-language versions and include such titles as Noah, The Soccer Story, My School Fun Book, The Magic Dreidel, God’s Special Gifts to Me and No More Diapers. Once the selection is made, they print the text, assemble the pages and bind the books.

They say that customers are pleasantly surprised by the quality of the books. The hard covers are wipe-able so the books are durable and can be lifetime keepsakes. When the books are demonstrated on-site, children also get to see technology in action.

Ms Solomon says this new venture has often captured her imagination and swept her back to her childhood. ‘These are really cute books and stories. I find myself just sitting and reading them. Adults may enjoy them just as much or more than the children,’ she admits.

While the books are popular with parents and grandparents who purchase the books as gifts, Cayman Story Books also has a corporate sponsorship programme that allows businesses to sponsor a book donation to a school or organisation such as the Little League or Adventurers. The books in the programme are created at cost.

‘You can brighten a child’s day- and future- by giving them a book,’ said Ms Bodden, urging businesses and charitable groups to participate in the Give-A-Book program.

The company also plans to work with school groups to facilitate fundraisers.

Contact Cayman Story Books at www.CaymanStoryBooks.com or call 324-0568.

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