Current Project: Writing for Storybird

Have you heard of Storybird? It's a creative community and publishing platform based around visual storytelling. Anyone can select artwork from the vast, curated collection and use it to create original, art-inspired picture books, long form novels, or poetry. It's a fun, moderated, and safe community. Who uses Storybird? Over 3 million users at present, and 300,000+ classrooms around the globe. Users are kids and families, educators and students, tweens, teens, friends, parents, and amateur and professional writers and artists. Storybird is unique in that so many different kinds of people can use us in different ways as they read, write, discover, and share great stories.

Author Jodi Kendall & Illustrator Katy Betz having a creative meeting in Sarasota, Florida

A few months ago, Storybird invited me to be part of their first seasonal slate of ten featured authors for their Creative Partners Program. Some of us are already published traditionally; some have backgrounds in newspaper/magazine writing or as educators; and some of us are longtime, avid members of Storybird. Storybird worked with me and the artist to privately commission art that went along with my story. It’s a partnership — I’m helping them understand how their creative tools can help professional writers who are seeking commercialization opportunities for their books, and they’ve given me a chance to experiment in interesting new ways. Publisher's Weekly did an article on this here, if you'd like to read more, and over here, another article at GigaOM

In case you're not familiar, the Head of Editorial for Storybird is Molly O'Neill, who acquired and edited many fantastic books during her tenure at HarperColllins/Katherine Tegen Books, including the DIVERGENT trilogy, INSIGNIA, A DOG'S WAY HOME, and more. I've been a major Molly fan for years and years, so it's an incredible joy and privilege to work with her on this project.

My middle grade novel (target audience 8-12yo's) for Storybird is called SOME PIG IN THE CITY, and the talented Katy Betz is the book's illustrator. The story is about a city-dwelling tween gymnast who has until the New Year to find their rescued farm pig a forever home or her germaphobe, bacon-loving father will condemn it to hog heaven.

While it lends to a modern-day twist on Charlotte's Web, SOME PIG IN THE CITY is actually loosely based on an adventure from my childhood when my brother rescued a runt farm pig from certain death and brought it back to our home in the suburbs of a big Midwestern city (you can learn more about that here.) 

Some pics from the past: 

My little sister with Ellie the Piglet
13-year-old me giving Ellie a bath
My brother holding Ellie. She lived in our house & gained a pound a day!

As a serialized story, I post a new SOME PIG IN THE CITY chapter + exclusive art on Storybird every two weeks until its completion (likely September). Six chapters + 4 Author's Notebook posts are currently live on the Storybird website. Author's Notebook posts offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into writing & illustrating the story, and we'll continue to update this page with fresh content over the next few months.
It's been fun to work on a writing project in a fresh, exciting, and welcoming platform. Katy Betz is a supremely skilled illustrator (visit her website!), a good friend of mine, and wonderful creative collaborator. There are lots more adventures ahead – I hope you'll check out SOME PIG IN THE CITY and Storybird! 

P.S. In related news: Storybird announced yesterday that Guinevere de la Mare from Chronicle Books  (!!!!!) is joining the Storybird team. Details here.


Wow!! I learned about Storybird not long ago and am so happy to hear about your involvement. I am definitely reading your story and learning more about this site. Excellent! Thanks, Jodi!

What an exciting project! Congratulations on SOME PIG IN THE CITY, Jodi! It sounds like a delightful story.

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