Last month, Amalia Kylie Tsampalis, student of Bridgewater Raritan Middle school and published author of  pre-teen novel "Jonathan",  had the opportunity to collaborate with Tracey Baptiste, New York Times best-selling author of The Jumbies series and Minecraft: The Crash, on an exciting and innovative kids and family podcast series called Story Seeds.

Reflecting on the experience Amalia joyfully states, "It was an experience of a lifetime!"

Amalia Kylie and Tracey, both NJ residents, though quarantined due to COVID-19, show us that creativity and collaboration can blossom whether in-person or virtually. The Story Seeds Podcast “Episode 7: Barking Up the Right Tree” is available on Apple Podcasts and can be heard directly at:

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On this special quarantine episode of the podcast, Story Seeds creator, Sandhya Nankani facilitated the virtual collaboration between Amalia Kylie and Tracey as they journeyed through the creative process of growing a story from a seed. Listeners can follow along as Tracey interviews Amalia Kylie and works with her to grow her story idea about an athletic girl named Joy and her magical relationship with an oak tree in her backyard. Then, a story-time segment unfolds as Tracey reads aloud "Joy's Challenge", the original story she wrote, inspired by their conversation and Amalia's life experiences.

Since its launch, The Story Seeds Podcast has been featured in The New York Times, Book Riot ("10 best bookish podcasts), Wired ("Best Kids Podcasts for Sheltering in Place"), CBC ("7 Kids Podcasts that are Perfect for Family Listening"), NPR, and School Library Journal ("Story Seeds: A Podcast for Our Time"). It has also been featured by Apple Podcasts as a New and Noteworthy show. The podcast is hosted by super-librarian and children's book author,  Betsy Bird, and its original theme song is by Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT. Each episode of the podcast comes with a freedownloadable Imagination Lab activity zine to help kids create their own stories, read about themes explored on the show, and even, engage in hands-on STEAM projects!

As an author and aspiring professional screenplay writer, Amalia Kylie’s philosophy has been "every person, regardless of age, gender or heritage, has at least 100 stories to tell."