STORIES4SCHOOLS – How it works

26th September 2017 - By 

Here are the basics of what you need to know to create a book with STORIES4SCHOOLS. If you’d like to get your school involved you can register your school here.

In brief:
  • Register your school
  • Support students to create original stories and hand drawn illustrations
  • Send your stories
  • Check your proofs
  • Organise a book launch event
  • Sell copies of your book
  • Celebrate
In more detail:

What you need to do:
Support students at your school to create illustrated stories that have been inspired by their local culture, heritage and/or environment.

Stories and illustrations must be original works created by students.

Costs and fundraising:
The total cost to create a book is £850.
You will be provided with 160 copies of your book. If you choose to sell these at £6 each that provides your school with a potential profit of £110.

If your budget is stretched or you need to fundraise to cover your costs you can pay a deposit of £300 and then pay the balance of £550 after you receive your books. This provides you with time to fundraise and sell copies of your books.

Note that it is sensible to fundraise in addition to selling your books in case you don’t sell all copies. If you happen to raise more than you expected you could use the profits to pay a deposit to do a book the following year (this has been a sustainable approach for other schools) and/or to donate copies of your book to schools in other parts of the world.

You could even sponsor a school overseas to be able to create a book themselves!

Pages and book size:

  • Books are A6 in size (105 x 148mm)
  • Books can be up to 80 pages
  • All books are in full colour and are perfect-bound.

The books were originally designed to be small to enable them to be easily and cheaply posted to schools in other parts of the world. The small size also allowed children who may not have a school bag or pockets to easily carry them about and to hold them without the need of a desk or chair.

Don’t assume this means the stories need to be short. You’ll be surprised at how much can be fit into the space.

Sending schools overseas:
If you have a partner school you can choose to send copies of your book to them. This can be done using the original books you receive (make sure to factor this in to your overall budget) or you can pay to have additional books printed and sent on your behalf.

Costs vary depending on how many books you would like to be sent and where they are going. A rough guide is that £100 would pay for 20 books to be printed and sent to a school in Malawi.

If you don’t have a partner school but would like books to be sent to a school/project in a developing nation this can be organised too.

An international focus can be a brilliant learning opportunity and can help your school to achieve the International School Award. If you choose to do this you will need to develop plans with a partner school before you begin to work on your book.

These resources can help students consider the circumstances of children living in a developing nation:

Also of interest is a book created by children in Malawi (notice the difference in the style and content of stories)

Writing Stories:
It’s helpful to have a target audience in mind. For example ‘our target reader is a ten year old girl living in India’. This should then influence the style of stories and illustrations created by students. A good way to consider this is to have a go at ‘drawing your reader‘.

After the first drafts are complete, students should edit their stories with particular consideration to the language they use and the structures they use. Resources that can help with this include:

Drawing illustrations:
Illustrations must be drawn by hand (digital artwork won’t be accepted). When complete they should be posted using a recorded delivery service. Make sure to protect any delicate artwork.

Illustrations can enhance stories by providing additional details and even developing aspects of the story itself (for example events happening in backgrounds that may not be a part of the written story). For stories intended to be read by children that are very young or that don’t speak English as their first language, illustrations can help the reader understand words that may be difficult. They can also help children living in different parts of the world to understand things that may be alien to them such as radiators or vacuum cleaners.

With these things in mind it’s important to plan illustrations to work well with the text, particularly if they are being written and illustrated by different students.

Some resources that can help with planning illustrations include:

Design & Publishing:
Once your stories have been emailed and your illustrations received the process of creating your final book begins. You can read more about how an individual story is created here and see an overview of the complete process here.

It normally takes 2-3 weeks to complete your first draft at which stage you will be emailed a PDF to check through for any errors and alterations. When you receive this it’s particularly important to check the spellings of names (and make sure everyone in mentioned who ought to be).

Plan your book launch/promotion:
Most schools organise an event to launch their book. This is a brilliant opportunity to sell copies of your book and to raise additional funds by holding a cake sale, selling refreshments and any other fundraising ideas you have.

It’s also the perfect time to generate some publicity for your school and to celebrate the achievements of students and staff. You can see some pictures of a school book launch here.

Other things you might consider include:

  • Asking local shops and venues to sell copies of your book on your behalf
  • Encouraging parents to sell copies and/or fundraise
  • Organising themed events related to the topics of your stories such as a themed non uniform day
  • Having a stall at local events to sell copies and raise funds
  • Asking local community centres/museums/galleries if you can display your artwork and books with them
  • Involving students in drafting press releases to invite the local media to your events (other schools have been featured in newspapers and BBC radio)
  • You can download a free certificate template from here
  • Additional certificates to recognise progress are available here

Whatever you do make sure to take lots of photos and encourage lots of feedback from everyone involved. You’re very welcome to share these by emailing

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