Best of the Web:

By Bunmi on November 15th 2011

I’m always on the hunt for the next website that will change my life. Pinterest changed how I search for DIY projects, crafts, and recipes. Etsy changed how I shop for gifts. I wasn’t looking for a website with online audio stories but I’m pretty sure is going to change my family’s bedtime routine indefinitely.

A little background: in addition to reading books before bed, my oldest daughter loves to listen to audio stories in the dark. I used iTunes to create a CD of original stories that I wrote with fun titles such as “Maya and the Mango Tree.” She’s been listening to the same CD of her “mommy stories” before bed for over a year and loves it. What I adore about her being able to hear a story without seeing pictures in a book is that she gets to imagine how the characters look, what the scenery looks like without interference. Recently I was chatting on the phone with a mom friend and she suggested that I check out

I was expecting a ho hum selection of children’s stories and was absolutely wrong. I downloaded three stories from the “Martin and Sylvia” story set last night and burned them to a CD in iTunes. Pure magic. The tales are so simple in nature and blend whimsy, fun, and take you beautifully to a different time and space. I love that the author, whose voice is very soothing, sprinkles in themes that promote sustainable living, community involvement, and nature. My eldest is very sensitive and even the mildest conflict in stories give her anxiety- what the author does to bring drama to the stories is focus on the mild concerns that children have and make resolving them the focus of the tale. These stories are unlike anything I’ve ever heard. No special effects, no sound track, just the essence of oral tradition and storytelling.

I was amazed by how well written the stories were. The author spoke as an adult speaking to another adult, which I appreciated. Words that my 5-year-old did not understand like “loft” were used but they were used in context giving her a hint. When she couldn’t guess the meaning, she simple asked me. We also heard the names of uncommon herbs and berries which certainly piqued her curiosity and we made plans to learn more about the plants the following day. Homeschoolers will love adding SparkleStories to their learning journey as they so naturally expose children to new words and terms.

Other story categories include: Junkyard Tales, So Many Fairies, and Saturday Sparkle (an alternative to Saturday morning cartoons).

Sparkle Stories takes me to a time when the children of a village would gather around a fire before bed and listen to an elder spin fables to life as sparks danced in the moonlight. Co-sleepers will love cuddling up and enjoying them together!