Kids love hearing stories but what if they are given the chance to tell their own? That’s the idea behind Storymakery, a fun and unique shop where kids can tell and publish their very own story. We caught up with Payal Kindiger, the mom and CEO behind this magical self-publishing store and tested out two different, age-appropriate ways to create a book. Scroll through to see how our story begins and ends but *spoiler alert* it’s an inspiring place that all kids will love.

photo: Andie Huber

The Setting

Storymakery is located in the Irvine Spectrum Center, about an hour drive south of L.A. which may seem like a long way to go but if you haven't been to this outdoor mall yet, you are in for a treat. Make an appointment to create your book when you first arrive and then, while the book publishes (depending on which book you choose to create, it takes about four hours for the book to be printed), plan to spend time riding the train, the carousel, get lunch and shop before retrieving your kid's masterpiece. This mall has everything. If you can't spend the day, Storymakery can mail your finished books to you. 

photo: Andie Huber

Choose Your Adventure

Depending on your comfort level of participation, Storymakery has an option for you (including a great space to host birthday parties, book group events, field trips and camps). For older kids, there is a DIY-approach that includes typing in their own story to options that include a dedicated writer to assist your child through all the steps from start to finish. For the most serious of authors-to-be, choose the dedicated workshop where your little writer will walk away with not only a book but a poster and custom tee-shirt with their character on the front. For my three-year-old, they recommended a soft-cover book with fewer pages, ideal for those with shorter attention spans. While my eight-year-old, who can sit for longer periods of time, choose a hardcover book with 16 pages.

Character Studio

Once you decide on a book package and the book's setting, you head to the "Character Studio" where your kids will begin to create their world.

photo: Andie Huber

Main and Supporting Characters

In the "Character Studio," the kids got to choose what the main and supporting characters, their clothing and any special accessories or powers would look like. The touchscreen function is especially great for kids who can't read yet.

Writing Studio

After the characters were chosen, we moved to the second station, called "Writing Studio" where another set of computers were located. This is where the storyline gets developed. Each writing helper is equipped and adept at asking age-appropriate questions that help the budding authors develop the story such as, "Your character is dared by their best friend to go into a spooky house. Once inside, they encounter a ghost. Is this a friendly ghost...or should they run?."  You can watch your kid's imagination come to life as they excitedly decide which twist and turn the story is going to take. After all the questions are answered, the store inputs the information and merges all the illustrations. 

photo: Andie Huber

Edit Meeting

From the title and dedication page to the author's bio, Storymakery has thought of everything to make these special book come to life. Hilariously, my oldest dedicated his book to his family and my younger one dedicated her book to herself. It was fascinating to see their different temperaments as well as see where they were developmentally in their story-telling journey. 

photo: Andie Huber

Publishing Printers

Once all of the input is complete, this is where the magic happens. Our package came with a poster, illustrating their main character and title of their story that both kids hung on their walls as soon as they got home.

photo: Andie Huber

First Run

The results are stunning for both books and the kids are thrilled that they can choose something they wrote to read at bedtime. We loved the whole process at Storymakery and hope you get a chance to experience it with your kids as well. 

photo: Andie Huber

To Be Continued...

The kids loved creating their stories and getting to hold their very own words. The sense of pride was palpable and is such a unique experience that both you and kids will treasure for years to come. Great present alert: They can even print multiple books if you want to share them with the grandparents.

Ready to plan your visit?

825 Spectrum Center Dr 
(Irvine Spectrum Center)
Irvine, CA



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Do your kids love books? How do you encourage a love of reading and writing? Let us know in the comments below!

—Andie Huber