“How was your day today?”
“What’d you do in school?”
It’s a conversation so cliché it’s become a hallmark of bad familial communication on screen, and yet it’s painfully real for more parents than would care to admit it. Two local moms frankly got sick of it.
Known by their pen names, A. Storie Twister had a quintessential Westchester suburbanite upbringing in Peekskille while C. Wunder grew up on the island of Dominica. Despite such geographically disparate upbringings, the pair ended up working together, living across the street from each other in Croton-on-Hudson, and even had their daughters around the same time.
“We both loved traditions with our kids and doing fun things, but we wanted something that was easy on parents, and that wasn’t just part of another holiday that had a lot of hoopla around it,” Twister says.
The idea the became The Secret of Slumberbury: An Unexpected Adventure will be familiar — albeit far less creepy — to anyone aware of The Elf on the Shelf: Parents and children can read the free Slumberbury ebook and then write a letter to the sandman requesting their own “nodling,” an adorable, plush companion sort of part-way between a koala and a fennec fox wrapped up in a raincoat, who arrives with a hardcopy of the text in a “secret” Sandman mail package. The story sets up a nightly tradition of positive thought and reflection on your child’s day, taking events and fanciful prompts and turning them into seeds for that evening’s dreams.
“We’d love to reach millions of children around the world,” says Wunder, “and allow them to foster meaningful connections with their families they cherish forever.”
Twister adds, “I think our background in HR and knowing the importance of dialogue and inquiry in talking to people really set in.”
Slumberbury is entirely self-produced. Twister and Wunder self-published the book in what they call a “truly global project.” Freelancing website Upwork provided them a team including Argentinian illustrator Javier Gimenez Ratti, as well as a layout specialist from Australia, a box engineer from eastern Europe, a video expert from Ireland, and more. However Bubblecorn Labs, their publishing house/production company, is based right here in Larchmont, making the production of Slumberbury as much of a local melting pot as Westchester itself.
“We chose self-publishing because we really wanted a level of control around the visual,” Twister says. “We had a very clear vision of what Slumberbury should look like and how it should function, and we knew if we went with a publishing house we’d likely have little control over that and what the end product would look like.” She adds, “We didn’t want it to just be another toy that shows up.”
Parents can get the free ebook of The Secrets Slumberbury: An Unexpected Adventure, print a personalized reply from the Sandman, and order their children’s very own nodling at www.slumberbury.com.