May 24, 2022

Heya <<First Name>>,


I love reading books more than almost anything in the world. 

So it feels both weird and exhilarating to let you know that we’re changing our primary publishing platform to Substack. 

Here’s a sneak peek:

Preview of our Substack page.

Weird, because Substack isn’t typically considered a book-publishing platform.

Exhilarating, because the change will allow us to share a LOT more read-aloud stories with you. (One book-length story per month … more below.)

Substack, if you haven’t heard much about it, is a platform that combines newsletter publishing and email distribution. 

(If Medium and Mailchimp had a baby, it would probably look like Substack.)

Illustration by Madeline Barber, from “Messy Blessings.”

As far as we know, however, no one is doing what we’re planning to do on the platform. 

Here’s a bit of info about why we’re making the change and what you can expect from now on.

(Or, you can go poke around the in-progress site now.)

We launch June 1.

Do I need to do anything?


We’re simply moving our contact list from one platform to another.

You’ll actually receive fewer emails — typically just two per month (on the 1st and 15th) plus the occasional one-off.  

The formatting will look a bit different, though. 

Why are you making the change? 

To serve readers better.

Print books are the best. But … digital media offer a great second-best choice for when physical books are expensive or unavailable.

The internet also offers a few things physical books can’t. 

Illustration by Jordan Kump, from “How Foxes Got Their Meander.” 

Audiobooks, for example, are a great resource, especially when families are traveling.

Plus, we’ve been working on some digital applications that will allow you and your children to share read-aloud stories in ways that are only possible online. One of our inventions is called the Infinite Story Machine. (Stay tuned…)

A couple other things: 

Making this move will allow us to spend less time on publishing books and as much time as possible on the thing we’re best at: creating stories.

And with a bit of luck, we’ll be able to break even financially; keep paying our artists, designers, editors, and producers fairly; and continue creating stories for many many years. 

Will you still publish physical books?


Our priority, however, will be publishing book-length stories on Substack.

Will I have to pay to subscribe? 


We will have free and paid tiers (more below). But …

We’re offering scholarships.

Send us an email and let us know you want to be added to the “paid” list. No questions asked.

If you CAN afford to pay, the cost is $5/month or $30/year. 

You can cancel any time. (Annual-subscription refunds will be prorated.)

Jeff, writing.

$5 is basically a latte, so it’s a pretty good value.

Unless it’s a really good latte.

What will I get with my paid subscription?

One new book-length story each month. (We’ll start with the full version of Winnie’s Whoosh Went Walkabout.)

One Sustaining Books column each month. Each column is an in-depth review (1,500-2,000 words) of a great children’s book from writer Dana Gaskin Wenig.

Our 30-page white paper on reading aloud. I spent the last year and a half researching the benefits of reading aloud and then wrote a single, very digestible overview with a really long title: Read to your kids a little every day until they’re 18 to help them become their best selves (and maybe save the world).

Plus, you’ll get a bunch of other resources, including: 

  • audio versions of the stories
  • audio versions of the Sustaining Books columns
  • occasional one-off newsletters on books and reading
  • the Infinite Story Machine
  • all the “free subscription” benefits (see below)

Illustration by Darja Lewin. For a book coming later this year called “The Gas Light Man Comes to Night.”

What will I get with my free subscription? 

  • The Bookshelf: Our back catalog of 11 books in PDF form
  • The Rec Room: A carefully curated list of 200 great children’s books from children’s book expert Dana Gaskin Wenig.
  • Our 30-page white paper on reading aloud, serialized through November.
  • New book-length stories, on a delayed release schedule
  • Sustaining Books columns, on a delayed release schedule

See our Substack page for more details.

Great! Where do I subscribe?

Here. 🙂

Okay, that’s the high-level summary. You can find out more about the new 320 Sycamore Studios on our Substack page.  

Let us know if you have any questions. 

Happy reading …

Bob and Jeff
… who believe that reading with kids can change the world for the better. 

Bob and Jeff. 

In our current serial story: Winnie realizes she’s spent too much time ME-ing

Illustration by Dzana Serdarevic.


The complete version of Winnie’s Whoosh Went Walkabout will move behind a paywall beginning June 1.

Here’s what you can do if you’d like to read the full story:

  • Become a paid subscriber of our new Substack.
  • Remain a free subscriber and wait till December, when we release the story to our free list.
  • Email Jeff for a scholarship.

About Winnie’s Whoosh Went Walkabout

If you lose something like a book or a ball, it’s pretty easy to find it again. But what happens when you lose the thing that makes you YOU?

Well, if you’re a girl like Winnie Wisp — someone who likes doing things a bit differently — you set out on a journey to find it again.

Even if it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Part 1: What IS a whoosh?
Part 2: Whooshes can be shy
Part 3: Yagotters liked thing-ing
Part 4: Winnie Wisp really didn’t like math
Part 5: Winnie and her Whoosh take to the hills
Part 6: Things start changing, all sneaky and slow
Part 7: Winnie’s Whoosh left her one night
Part 8: A mad dash through town
Part 9: Toward the Pass of Pazain

New: Will Moldylocks find her roar?

Misfit zombie girl Moldylocks LaMort has lost her roar. And she only has a week to find it if she’s going to win the lead role in the town musical.  

Moldy’s best hope is to train with the new kid — IF she can trust him. He is, after all, a bear.

Buy “Moldylocks and the Bear” >
<<First Name>>, we’d love to know what you think of this weekly story email. Just hit reply to talk to us.
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