My StoryMaker

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
My StoryMaker Website Poster Image
Safe, simple way to write and illustrate original tales.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational value

Kids can learn storytelling and writing skills as they create their own simple tales using the site. Creativity is explored but is a bit limited by the options offered, but a handy Story Helper character offers prompts if kids get stuck. The system doesn't assess the final product, so they won’t improve spelling, writing clarity, and other skills without adult input. My StoryMaker is a solid tool that gives kids a nice introduction to the world of creative writing, but grown-ups will need to support their experience. 

Positive messages

The site provides a supportive forum in which kids can be creative.

Violence & scariness

Kids can make characters fight, but they won't see any blood; the altercation takes place behind a series of cloud-like images that represent motion. 

Sexy stuff
Language

Kids could potentially use swear words such as "f--k" and "s--t" in stories if they so choose, but they shouldn't be exposed to bad language unless a friend emails a finished book that contains some.

Consumerism

Learning-related book descriptions in the parent section link to library-availability information, not online bookstores.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this free book-creation tool lets kids create partially animated stories that won't be posted online or otherwise shared with the general public. It's relatively simple to use; kids will choose the basic components of a story from a pre-populated menu and then write in the details on each page. You can save stories and return to them later, but take note: Users automatically agree to let the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh display any content they create for promotional use, according to a home page disclaimer.

User Reviews

Educator and Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byVanessa J. November 3, 2016

Great way to get young storytellers thinking about writing

At first when my 6 year old and I began using mystorymaker I was a little disappointed. I thought, with her bright imagination, the scenes and props would limit...
Teen, 13 years old Written byemmygirl December 31, 2014

It was kinda boring

I tried this website out for some fun, but it got pretty boring. You can't get rid of characters you added and they automatically write sentences depending...
Teen, 14 years old Written byMikaylamaddie December 28, 2016

What's it about?

MY STORYMAKER was originally developed in 2007 by Carnegie Mellon University for Pittsburg libraries only; it's now available to everyone with a few upgrades, including new characters and background options. You can create virtual storybooks using more than 35 characters, 23 scenery objects, and more than 20 settings. Kids can print, email, or save stories and view them for up to a month online. The tool is easy to use; you only need an Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Reader. Kids can follow along as a narrator describes how the site works and then use the sidebar to choose settings, characters, and objects. Chosen objects drop from the sky when you add them to the page; characters can fly, kiss, change direction, or otherwise act and interact.

Is it any good?

My StoryMaker doesn't offer many extras; the virtual book-creation tool is its main attraction. But the site's simplicity isn't necessarily a bad thing. A Story Helper character provides helpful suggestions to advance the plot if writers get stuck. Users don't have total creative control -- they supply the text but can't use original images, and content has to be illustrated with art that My StoryMaker provides. The site also has a limited number of action, object, background, and character options, so kids may only want to use it to create a story or two. Kids won't get direct input on their story lines or writing quality; parents will need to review their work to provide guidance and help them improve. But, with some additional input, My StoryMaker can help spur kids' imaginations and provide beneficial writing practice. Just make sure you print, download, or email the finished story to save it -- due to space constraints, the site deletes them after a month.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the safest ways to share things you create online. Ask your kids: Why is it safer to email a friend your finished story instead of posting the story where strangers could see it?

  • Have your child tell you a story and then turn it into a My StoryMaker book. How do the versions differ? 

  • Talk to your kids about structure and a story's beginning, middle, and end. Can they identify those elements in a few of their own favorite books?

Website details

For kids who love storytelling

Our editors recommend

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