For child horror author RL Stine, nothing beats creating stories that scare children. In the 90s, those writing sessions became the Goosebumps and Fear Street books, but these days, their stories are more like podcast episodes.
Stine’s old books are still finding new life as they continue to adapt for the big and small screen more than 30 years after their publication: the original Goosebumps TV series in the 90s, two new movies starring Jack Black a The late 2010s and three-part of the movie series based on his Fear Street books coming to Netflix in July.
“I think readers of those books will be surprised by the movies, because the movies are rated R,” Stine told me. “There are many screams. Many children die.”
Thewill be released for three consecutive weeks: Fear Street Part One: 1994 will debut on July 2; Fear Street Part Two: 1978 on July 9; and Fear Street Part Three: 1666 on July 16. They will show 300 years of brutal murder in a small town called Shadyside, set in high school in the 90s and Camp Nightwing in the 70s, before going back to the origins of the curse in the 17th century.
“My involvement consisted of going to the set one day and watching them film a scene in a grassland in Atlanta where it was 120 degrees and in the humidity of Atlanta,” Stine said. “They built a colonial town, a whole amazing town with pigs running around, and I spent a day on set, watching them film.”
The movies were originally shot for Fox, butput an end to those plans when theaters closed. Then Netflix came on the scene, allowing all three movies to be released for three consecutive weeks. “This is watching movies: three movies, three weeks in a row. That’s kind of fun, “Stine said.
Podcast series increases literacy among kids glued to screens
These days, Stine is writing episodes for GoKidGo, a universe of podcasts started by other children’s author Patrick Carman. Born of COVID-19, podcasts sought ways to spark children’s imaginations in a world where technology, screens, and short attention spans dominate.
Carman, whose children’s books includeand the , founded GoKidGo together with entrepreneur Jennifer Clary and producer Maia Glikman. While the pandemic didn’t change Stine’s lifestyle – “I was always at home all day writing,” she says – for Carman, it ended his regular book tours of schools across the country to promote reading in schools. kids.
“I was trying to figure out how I can help kids get off screens and want to read,” Carman said. “Even before COVID, kids spent about four hours a day in front of screens, on average. With COVID, it was six to eight hours a day, and [Stine] And I both know that this has many adverse effects, drastically lowering reading scores. “
Studies have found that children who cannot read at a third grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
So how will podcasts help improve children’s literacy? In an age when children and adults are constantly multitasking, podcasts serve as a bridge to imagination.
“They almost go as far as a book,” Carman explained. “All the things that work in your brain to put you mentally in the same space that you would be in to read, are shooting … all the action is happening in your own mind, and that is the same in both podcasts and books. “.
Kids can keep playing while listening to the episodes, and podcasts are also delivered in short 15-minute chunks.
For now, GoKidGo consists of three shows: Bobby Wonder, Lucy Wow, and RL Stine’s Story Club. Stine’s episodes are like a shorter audiobook version of Goosebumps – slightly gruesome tales with twisted endings that will keep kids on the edge of their seats. Episodes are billed as sourced from RL Stine’s vault.
“I think the podcasts, the stories, encourage the kids to go out and buy the book,” added Stine. “I always found that to be true with television. Whenever you are in other media, it encourages children to buy books as well.”
COVID also helped Carman hire actors in his podcast projects, because with productions closed, everyone was out of work. “We’ve never met except through Zoom,” he said. “This whole company has been built without even meeting in person.”
GoKidGo podcasts launched on May 3 and is currently in the top 0.01% of the fastest growing kids and family podcasts on Apple’s list. Carman hopes the audience will grow: There aren’t many storytelling podcasts for kids yet, and parents are now “waking up to the idea” of spending too much screen time.
“We never, ever want parents to feel bad about it,” he said. “Once you open Pandora’s Box, you put an iPad in the hand of an 8-year-old, it is very difficult to get them to stop using it. But they are looking for ways to increase that, for their children to do more than just be in an screen “.
GoKidGo podcasts are free on Spotify, Apple Music, and all major podcast platforms.