By Zeba Blay
(first published 27/9/2017)
Shortiez lets children insert themselves into tales.
A tech entrepreneur and educator has created a new digital platform that’s revolutionizing representation in children’s storytelling.
Shortiez, founded by Mondo Davison, is a digital library of “culturally relevant stories” for children, with a focus on diversity. Young readers are able to personalize stories to better reflect their experiences and their surroundings.
Davison, an educator for St. Paul Public Schools in Minnesota, wrote in a personal essay on The Salt Collective that the lack of diversity in children’s books contributed to him not completing a book until he was 20 years old.
“We want kids of color to see themselves reflected in the stories they read from day one,” Davison wrote.
“We want young scholars to be empowered by characters that look like them. We want storylines to be relevant. We want the language to be relatable. We want kids to enjoy reading, instead of impersonating it. The only way to accomplish this goal is building a library of original content,” he continued.
Stories on Shortiez are powered by contributors, which Davison and his team are actively seeking to fill the website’s digital library. According to Blavity, the service is being made available to individuals and elementary schools that wish to infuse diversity into their curriculum.
Learn more about Shortiez here.