Press and News

 Scribble Press 

 Scribble Press is an amazing app that lets you be the author and illustrator as you create your own books. This is one cool tool! Kids can use their imaginations while writing, illustrating, and publishing an ibook, which can then be shared. Wait, it’s get better. This app is not only FREE, it is phenomenal! There are three parts: My Books, My Drawings and Gallery. Scribble Press was created by two moms,
Anna Barber and Darcy Pollack, who were following their childhood dream when they created a place for kids and families to write, illustrate and publish their own books. Anna adds, “I am a lifelong book lover and grew up in a publishing family in New York City.  I started the company five years ago, Scribble Press operates retail studios where kids publish their own books in NYC and LA.”

Fast forward… their retail studios are such a success, they decided to go digital. Now anyone can make a book and actually get a real copy sent directly to their mailbox starting at $9.99. No other app offers that service! What a delight in this digital age that kids can get a hardcopy of their own creation. “Most kids draw well before they write well,” says Anna. “The iPad is a good medium for that, but the computer isn’t… The minute [the iPad] came out, I thought it was the perfect channel for what we were trying to do.” They use Faber-Castell materials and even have an e-shop, so don’t feel bad if you can’t make it to CA or NY.

Scribble Press for iPad makes it easy to create a book on the iPad.  Children, and grownups too, can write original stories or use one of over 50 story templates, draw using over 500 drawing tools, upload photos or original artwork and instantly publish in the ebook gallery or share with friends anywhere in the world.” — Scribble Press Team

Got writers block? Don’t like your own drawing? No problem, they’ve got you covered in every conceivable way. There are 50 story templates to get you started as well as all the goodies listed below:

  • over 500 drawing tools, including markers and stamps in a vast array of colors
  • a unique sticker collection
  • your own photo library
  • an easy and fun to use book layout tool
  • sharing tools that make it easy to show the world – or just family and friends – your great finished product!
  • PLUS, you can use Scribble Press for iPad to read books created by other kids, from all around the world!

“There are several classrooms using it in the US and abroad”, shares Anna. This is a perfect fit for the classroom. It could be part of writers workshop or set up as a station/center for students to use instead of paper and pencil. From our perspective, the publishing feature is the real draw. As teachers, we would like to have the ability to turn on or off certain extras, to promote the creative writing process as well as the illustrating, during a structured activity. This could be used in any subject area from social studies to science to math, and of course ELA. Also, a great way to see if students understand a concept.  It would be great for homework as well as classwork. We found our creative students were very drawn to this app and with time, we saw other less creative kids taking risks. Overall, this is a great app for fun, or for assignments in those schools lucky enough to be implementing iPads into their classrooms. Exciting news, scribble press will soon offer board books – so your toddler can get published!

 Scribble Press is dedicated to inspiring and empowering all kids to create and share their stories. Scribble Press for iPad takes the fun of doodles and imagining and turns it into the satisfaction of creating a finished story. 


Scribble Press for iPad is a featured Staff Favorite on iTunes! Check it out under Education. Download and be creative today!





New Favorite App: Scribble Press

I just discovered Scribble Press. The app for the iPad is amazing! It is absolutely perfect for my little grade one class. You can create stories on your own, or use a template provided. You add in your own pictures, and then publish! You are done! You can send it off via email, twitter, facebook, etc. You can even have it printed through the website! And best of all – it is free! Awesome! I’m having a hard time writing my report cards because all I keep thinking about is “how am I going to use this app?”


iPad App Lets Kids Publish Physical Books

Scribble Press has three brick-and-mortar stores where more than 30,000 children have created their own books. Now, with the help of the iPad, it’s gearing up to become a global business.

The company has launched a free iPad app that digitizes the coloring and writing process usually completed in its marker-lined studios. Within the next week, Scribble will begin publishing board books — the kind with cardboard covers thick enough to chew on — created with the app.

“Most kids draw well before they write well,” says Scribble Press co-founder Anna Barber. “The iPad is a good medium for that, but the computer isn’t…The minute [the iPad] came out, I thought it was the perfect channel for what we were trying to do.”

There are plenty of websites that will publish a book you create, but dragging a mouse lacks the freedom of coloring, and scanning pages is a bother for mom and dad. Before the iPad, there wasn’t a good way to take Scribble Press’s “Build-A-Bear for books” experience outside of its stores.

Using the app, kids can draw and write freely. They can also choose from templates such as “I Love My Mom” or “My Babysitter is a Zombie” that give them a head start, and eventually, the company hopes to add themed worlds that kids can use in their books for an added cost.

The app itself not that different from many other apps that let kids create ebooks, but Barber says the potential physical publication of the book helps define the experience.

“I still believe as much as everything is going digital, there is still value in physical artifacts,” she says.

In addition to ordering a professional-quality print of their book, young authors — whether writing from a store or their iPads — can increase their statuses as published authors by adding their creations to Scribble Press’s public ebook library. A 6 year old who wrote about his hearing implant, for instance, has had his book viewed 7,500 times.

Printed books ordered through the Scribble Press iPad app will cost $9.95 plus shipping.


Calling all budding authors… Unleash your literary creativity with Scribble Press!

A new iPad app to the rescue! Scribble Press has created a well thought out and surprisingly easy to use ‘self-publishing’ app for the under tween set.

My first impressions are sitting next to me and they are dying to tell you this is a fabulous product!  I had no idea really what it was before we got it loaded. DUDE! It’s a virtual book shop… and the owners, authors, illustrators and editors are YOUR KIDS!

EVERY mother loves THAT!

I have a super-duper-uber creative 10 year old daughter. She took one look at the Scribble Press app and declared: “Cool”. (Translation: “Wow, this is exactly the type of fabulous new idea that will keep me entertained and using my creative brain cells for hours on end, delighting grown-ups and wowing my friends.”)

Mom Confession; I downloaded the app and walked away.  (It’s free right now on iTunes for a limited time.) I simply handed it over to my two kids (7 and 10 year old) first they watched the short video tutorial (right on the opening page of the app) and within 15 minutes they created their first book! Taking inspiration from the holiday decorations in our house, they photographed themselves into ‘A Christmas Story’.

My daughter spent the rest of the afternoon creating two more stories. First she crafted and illustrated a crazy dream story, and then she used prompts from the many story templates and hundreds of REALLY terrific sticker-like clip art images.

{image of the ‘Family’ one she created}

Scribble Press for iPad makes it easy to create a book on the iPad.   Children, and grownups too, can write original stories or use one of over 50 story templates, draw using over 500 drawing tools, upload photos or original artwork and instantly publish in the ebook gallery or share with friends anywhere in the world.” — Scribble Press Team

Sharing Your Books and Utilizing the Beauty of  iPad on the go

Scribble Press has a quick and easy share feature; show off your fiction to facebook friends, the Twitter universe or simply email a copy of your kid’s latest literary genius to the Grandparents!  Upload the books to the Scribble Press Online Gallery and share with all the other Scribblers out there! (NOTE: I would choose a safe username and discourage using real names in the stories if you intend to share books publically. However they do have a simple feature to remove your books from all shared areas and the link is destroyed.)

Reasons Scribble Press is Mom-Approved

The creativity factor is VERY high, and everything about the app encourages kids to dream and write and think up even more ideas. I would categorize this app as one part artistic and one part educational.  Reading stories from other children (around the world!) is a great motivator for even more creativity.  I especially love the fresh artwork provided within the app. This literally will keep your kids entertained for HOURS.

Mom Cautions

The social media share feature is built in to the app and I don’t see a way to disable it. (Signing out would effectively disable it though.) Always prevent your kids from giving out too much information with anything that might be shared online— names, school names, street names, and other personal information. Also beware, you might not get your iPad back!

PS. I would SO love if they made this app available on Android, trust me, all tablet users will rejoice!

Carissa was asked to take a look at the Scribble Press app and share with the Famigo readers her opinion. The app was free to download. She was not compensated for this review and her thoughts and opinions are her own.


Scribble Press

Scribble Press is a free iPad app that lets you unleash your imagination to create drawings and books. Let’s start with the drawings. Users are provided with a blank piece of “paper” and oodles of colored markers. I watched my toddler use the app and she figured out the marker selection process in no time. You simply tap on the marker icon and it pulls up a screen full of colors. Tap on the color you want and then drag and drop the size or stamp marker you like down to the work space at the bottom of the screen. When you go back to your canvas the markers you chose will be there waiting for you. Draw your picture and use the stickers that are included in the app or import photos of your own. You also have the ability to type text directly onto the page. When the drawing is perfect you’ll have several options. The first is to share it with others and the second is to order a copy for yourself. You can turn the drawing into a puzzle, clipboard, notebook or greeting card. Whatever you choose the drawing will remain on the iPad in a gallery where you can revisit it and make changes later on.

On to the books! Scribble Press comes with fifty story templates plus a blank book that can come straight from your imagination. The templates are broken up into categories that include aliens, family, fantasy, holiday, humor most popular and school. The book templates come with fill-in-the-blank text and the pages have a large area of white space where you can draw your own illustrations. The drawing works like it does when you’re creating a single picture. Once you’ve finished a book it can be shared with others or you have the option of ordering a hard copy. Again, a copy is saved to your gallery on the iPad.

Scribble Press comes with a video tour that demonstrates the app’s features and the different things you can create. It’s a great starting point when you first download the app. I always love a helpful help feature. Final thought? I’ve been very impressed with Scribble Press. It’s a powerful tool for creativity, and it’s free!

*This is an iPad only app.*

Price when Reviewed: Free

See the app in iTunes

Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 5.0 or later.

Seller: Scribble Press


 Reader’s Choice Educational Apps, 2011

Apps for Homeschooling Reader's Choice 2011

Thanks for voting in Apps for Homeschooling’s 2011′s Reader’s Choice Awards!  You, our readers have spoken and voted for your favorite educational apps of 2011 here and here (we’re looking for a more streamlined procedure for next time!)

You can tell a lot about a review site by its readers recommendations, and I’m thrilled to see your choices for the best educational apps you used in 2011!  We own all of these apps except for one, and have reviewed many of these choices already.

Any winning apps that haven’t yet been reviewed here will have reviews added shortly, so stay tuned for those!

Here are your top 10 choices of 2011 sorted by popularity, #1 received the most votes, down to #10 in descending order.  There were a few ties so some of the placements are approximate.

1. Stack the States

Stack the States was FAR and away the most popular app of 2011!

App Description – “Stack the States makes learning about the 50 states fun! Watch the states actually come to life in this colorful and dynamic game!

As you learn state capitals, shapes, geographic locations and more, you can actually touch, move and drop the animated states anywhere on the screen. Carefully build a stack of states that reaches the checkered line to win each level.

You earn a random state for every successfully completed level. All of your states appear on your own personalized map of the United States. Try to collect all 50! As you earn more states, you begin to unlock the three free bonus games: Pile Up, Puzzler and Capital Drop. Four games in one!”

Universal (iPhone/iPod/iPad) – $0.99Mac – $1.99, Windows Phone – $0.99

A free Universal (iPhone/iPod/iPad) lite version with 5 states included is available to sample.

Watch for my review, coming soon!

2. Rocket Math

Rocket Math Homeschooling App

4/5 Apples, Universal (iPod/iPhone/iPad) – $0.99

free ad-supported version of Rocket Math is also available.

“There are few game-based math apps that you can use to practice such a wide variety of math skills as you can with Rocket Math – and for only $0.99, it’s easy to see why this app is such a fast favorite amongst homeschooling families.  If you are learning a primary level math topic, you’ll likely find one or more mission in Rocket Math to use as a fun educational supplement AND your children will have fun blasting into space while they do it.”

Read the full review here!

3. LanguageBuilder

iPhone/iPod – $5.99, iPad – $7.99 both with additional in-app purchase options

LanguageBuilder Deluxe, iPad – $14.99 includes all the in-app purchase content in the regular versions

App Description – “Language Builder is designed to help children accomplish the following educational goals: 1) Improve sentence ideation ; 2) Improve sentence formation; and 3) Improve receptive and expressive language. Extensive use of audio clips promotes improved auditory processing for special needs children with autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing disorders. Auditory playback of child’s voice offers reinforcement for language development.  Language Builder offers a rich and fun environment for improving the ability to create grammatically correct sentences.”

Watch for my review, coming soon!

4. Splash Math

Splash Math First Grade Math Workbook App

4/5 Apples, Splash Math Grade 1 iPhone/iPod – $4.99 , iPad – $9.99

A free lite iPhone/iPod and iPad version including the first two chapters are also available to sample.

Splash Math is also available for Grades 2-4 with full versions for both devices and free samples as well, find the full developer listing here.

“Splash Math Grade 1 is the most diverse, thorough, comprehensive math app that I’ve seen when it comes to teaching grade 1 math skills.  It seems like everything is included, the statistics, tracking, progress reports, and customization are top-rate.  With a nearly endless number of questions available in fifteen different chapter-based skill sets, this is a very complete math app for extra practice or remedial work.  Splash Math is a serious educational app, and I’m glad to see the breadth and depth of its offerings.”

Read the full grade 1 review here!

5. Frog Dissection

Frog Dissection Homeschool App

Golden App, 5/5 Apples, iPad – $3.99

“If dissecting a frog is part of the requirements for your students in high school biology – this app will save you the trouble of hunting down a stinky dead frog for a lab.  Even if your children don’t NEED to dissect a frog and just want to learn more about frog anatomy, live cycles, or anatomy, you’ll want to buy Frog Dissection.”

Read the full review here!

6. Toontastic

iPad – Free with in-app purchase options

Right now Toontastic is celebrating their 1 year anniversary and you can buy ALL their in-app packs (and any future packs) for only $9.99 (26 packs, normally $0.99 – $1.99 each) (I just bought it last night – my girls adore this app.)

“Toontastic makes exploring the world of creative storytelling a complete delight. Deeply motivating and truly a joy to use, your children will beg you for a chance to explore the basic structure of stories as they craft their own animated cartoons. This free app is incredibly rich and full of features (but don’t be surprised if your children ask you to buy some expansion sets – they are fabulous). Toontastic isn’t an app you want to miss – go get it and give it a spin!”

Read the full review here!

7. Space Boards, Language Arts

iPad – $49.99

A free sample app is available to give you an idea for how these apps operate.

A wide range of Space Board apps are available, those that cover a range of subject matter for a specific grade level (PreK, Kindergarten, Grade 1 – Grade 5), and those that focus on a subject area with many grade levels (Grade 1-6) of content included (Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Math).

We had some votes for Language Arts in particular, and others for Space Boards in general. Find the full listing here.

App Description – “NeoLithix First-Sixth Grade Language Arts Space Board iPad App contains 18 great digital workbooks (Learning Modules), plus two BONUS digital workbooks for added fun & learning. First-Sixth grade age children (+ older children remedially) can hand-write in these workbooks countless times “digitally” using a stylus, rather than just once using “write-once and throw away” conventional workbooks. A great “green” product! Students’ hand-written work is digitally recorded for later review by parent, teacher or tutor.”

Watch for my review, coming soon!

8. Scribble Press

iPad – Free

“Scribble Press for iPad makes it easy to create an ebook – either write your own or use one of over 50 story templates. How about “My Babysitter is a Zombie” or “The Dog Ate my Homework”? From serious to seriously fun, you can make a book about any topic and instantly publish to the gallery or share with friends anywhere in the world.”

You will soon be able to order printed versions of your children’s digital creations through the app as well.

Watch for my review, coming soon!

9. JANES ABCs 123s

Universal (iPhone/iPod/iPad) – $0.99

App Description – “Our app can help any child learn not only their ABCs, but 123s, Colors, and Shapes too. Prepare your pre-schooler to read with JANES ABCs 123s.

• Retina Graphics
• Interactive Words
• Pronunciation of each letter in every ABC word
• Interactive Images
• Counting from 0 to 20
• Twelve interactive Color pages
• Twelve interactive Shape pages

JANES ABCs 123s is a set of interactive flash cards, developed to teach children their ABCs and letter sounds to prepare children how to read. The program also includes Numbers, Colors, and Shapes.”

Watch for my review, coming soon!

10. Simplex Spelling Phonics 1

Golden App, 5/5 Apples, Universal (iPhone/iPod/iPad) – still on sale for $0.99, will be $4.99!

“Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 is one of the most powerful spelling apps for phonics I’ve ever used.  The arrangement of 450 high frequency words according to phonetic sounds and principles, the self-correcting, direct-instruction, statistics, multiple users – it meets ALL of my criteria.”

Read the full review here!

11. Honorable mentions to 25-in-1 Free Educational Apps.  We had a four-way tie at the end, and 25-in-1 was one of those winning apps, so we’ve added it as #11!

5/5 Apples, iPhone/iPod – FreeiPad – Free

“If you’re curious about A&R Entertainment’s line of educational apps and puzzles, this is where you should start.  This one free download will let you and your kids try out 25 of their popular educational apps.  Don’t be surprised if you find a few favorites that you want to buy full versions of for your collection!”

Read the full review here!

Thanks for reading us, and  I hope you’ll join us at the end of 2012 to decide the Reader’s Choice 2012 winners!


CC Books Time With Scribble Press

Thanks to Scribble Press, the make-your-own-book store in Santa Monica, CC has now created her first hardcover tome. Its title? Drum roll please … “The Pig Cat.”The adorably creative shop on Montana Boulevard offers lots of fun options for little artists and authors. While CC used a combination of markers, stamps and pencils to pen her 6-page masterpiece, kids can also choose to make calendars, bookmarks, place mats, among other options.
When we visited, on a laid-back weekday afternoon, Scribble Press was ours for exploring. (We had been invited by co-founder and CEO Anna Barber.) The shop itself is cozy yet spacious, and the work studio is a place where kids — and parents — can get their creative juices flowing.Not only is there an awesome wall of markers — design-friendly moms will go crazy for this! — but there are also lots of fun stencils, stamps, paper products and caddies to tweak tykes’ imaginations.The shop part of Scribble Press had tons of fun artistically geared items for little ones — from paper dolls to books to paints and marker sets. We bought at least 5 mini erasers shaped like pandas, hamsters and koala bears, as well as a cute and colorful animal stencil set.
The best part, though, was taking home a book made by CC (price range: $25-$29), complete with her photo on the back. Now, that’s something we’ll keep forever.
Scribble Press
1109 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
310-899-0495Most make-your-own items range from $15-$30, but click here for pricing details.


Give a Book from Scribble Press

We would like to welcome Darcy Miller Nussbaum, Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings, to the Living in the Family Room blog. Darcy will be guest-posting for our blog periodically, and we are so excited to hear what she and her daughters Daisy, Ella, and Pippa Dot have been up to! Take it away, Darcy.

I think all moms and kids have that favorite thing they do on Saturday. And that thing changes as they get older, of course (I know the day will come when my daughters’ Saturday plans will not include hanging out with me all day, but I’m not going to worry about that quite yet). For Daisy and Ella and me, one of our favorite activities is going to Scribble Press.

Scribble is a make-your-own-book store based in Los Angeles and New York City. Maybe it’s because I love scrapbooking and work at a magazine that I love going to Scribble Press with my kids—but I really think that’s not it. I think it’s because Scribble Press is actually an activity we can do together. Sometimes it’s an all-afternoon project (writing a book) and sometimes it’s just a shorter stint to get us out of the house on a rainy day (making a notebook). Not only is it an activity where we can hang together, talk and share ideas, and be creative, but afterward you have a finished product you can leave with. The greatest part is that you really want to hold onto these things (books, calendars, bookmarks) unlike mounds of the other things your kids bring home on a daily basis (don’t tell my girls I said that because I do keep a lot!).

llustrate and publish a book for your own library. Make copies for your friends and family! Choose from hardcover, board, or paperback books.1 llustrate and publish a book for your own library. Make copies for your friends and family! Choose from hardcover, board, or paperback books.
At Scribble you can use your own artwork or photographs to create meaningful gifts and keepsakes. Notepads, notebooks, cards, placemats, bookmarks or calendars are available.2 At Scribble you can use your own artwork or photographs to create meaningful gifts and keepsakes. Notepads, notebooks, cards, placemats, bookmarks or calendars are available.
Scribble Press’s Author’s Tool Kit has everything you need to create a professionally bound paperback keepsake book, made by you! Available at, $29.3 Scribble Press’s Author’s Tool Kit has everything you need to create a professionally bound paperback keepsake book, made by you! Available at, $29.
“King Daddy” book my daughter’s made for my husband.4 “King Daddy” book my daughter’s made for my husband.
Daisy’s 2011 calendar will make a great holiday gift for family.5 Daisy’s 2011 calendar will make a great holiday gift for family.

One of my favorite reasons to go to Scribble is to make gifts. No doubt the star of this year’s Hanukkah presents at our house were the calendar and books that the girls made (a “King Daddy” book for Andy). If you are near NYC or LA, I highly recommend stopping by if you need a gift for a parent, grandparent, friend, babysitter, or teacher gift. And if you’re not in the neighborhood, they also sell a kit so you can make a book and send it in for them to print!


Work, Life & Balance: Anna Barber

Work, Life & Balance: Anna Barber
by Kristi Valentini
May 04, 2011

Ever wonder how you can balance it all as a mom? This is one interview in a series talking to moms who have found a way to make it work. Meet Anna Barber, founder of Scribble Press  and mom to August (6), Edwin (4), and stepmother to Christian (13) and Locke (11).

As Anna Barber boarded a plane seven months pregnant and sat down next to Darcy Pollack, she had no idea that the conversation she was about to have with her seat mate would launch her into an entirely new career. After five hours of discussion on their cross-country flight, the two parted ways with a handshake and the intention of becoming business partners. Post birthing and two years later, the duo’s vision has developed into three Scribble Press stores – one in Los Angeles and two in New York City – where kids can write, illustrate and publish their own books.

What do you love about being a mom?

I love being able to experience the world as though for the first time through the eyes of my kids. What we take for routine, they think is thrilling. My son just discovered Monopoly and now he wants to play it all the time.

What do you enjoy most about working?

I like the challenge of being slightly in over my head and constantly learning new skills – what Daniel Pink referred to in his book DRIVE as the “pursuit of mastery.” I also find the process of taking an idea and turning it into an actual business very exciting. It’s creative in the most basic sense. Because Scribble Press is dedicated to inspiring and celebrating kids’ imaginations, I get up every day feeling like I’m helping to create something positive in the world.

What’s your biggest challenge in juggling both?

Like most mothers in my situation, I never feel like I am giving 100% to my work or my family. At the end of the day, I feel like there is a long list of things that went undone. The challenge is learning to be ok with that. My husband also runs a small company, so between the two of us and four children, we have a lot of logistics to work out.

How do you deal with it?

I know that I am a better mother because I am so engaged in building Scribble Press and I bring the energy and fulfillment I get from work home with me. I also practice triage as much as possible. It’s freeing to accept that I don’t need to go to that fundraiser or be at every school pick-up. Someone else can handle those things. The important thing for me is to be there at night to read with my boys and make up stories, and for the morning routine.

Also, the great thing about my work is that my kids can join in. My family spends a lot of time at Scribble Press and I love that they understand and appreciate what I do. It makes my whole life feel knitted together rather than work and home being in opposition.

How do you re-charge?

I enjoy alone time because it’s so rare. I love to read novels and go for walks.

What advice would you give other women considering being a working mom?

It’s important to sift through what you think is expected of you and figure out what’s going to make you most content and the most effective in your various roles. Your way of doing it isn’t going to be anyone else’s way. Often, we mothers are so hard on each other and judgmental. Whatever works for your family and for you is a great plan. My husband and I work long hours, travel a lot and share child care duties. That’s what works for us.

Who inspires you?

My mother has always inspired me and I’m incredibly lucky that we are so close. She came from a small town in the south, got her Ph.D. in English, and started her own literary agency in New York City. She worked happily throughout my childhood and I never saw her tearing her hair out about her choices. It was always so clear that working made her happy and I never wished anything different for our family. She’s always supported me 100% in all my choices. I hope to be for my kids what she was for me.

What one thing can you not live without?

Bluetooth in my car. I live in Los Angeles where half my life is spent driving and that’s where I have my most focused conversations.

If you had an hour of time to yourself, how would you spend it?

I would get together with my girlfriends or talk to them on the phone. One of my closest girlfriends is a dancer and a choreographer, and has the same challenges in juggling that I do but such a different experience. I just love hearing what’s going on with her and discussing our lives.


At left: Anna Barber, co-founder of Scribble Press. Above: Two young patrons collaborate on an art project at Scribble Press.

Some of us get our best ideas in our sleep, in the shower or on the subway. The idea to open Scribble Press, a colorful, doit-yourself-bookmaking shop with locations on the Upper East and Upper West Sides as well as in Los Angeles, came to life in an unexpected place—on a flight across the country.


It Starts With A Scribble

The City’s Only Make-Your-Own-Book Activity Center Is Helping To Ignite A Love of Writing In Even The Smallest Scribes

Left: Anna Barber, co-founder of Scribble Press.  Right: Two young patrons collaborate on an art project at Scribble Press.

Some of us get our best ideas in our sleep, in the shower or on the subway. The idea to open Scribble Press, a colorful, doit-yourself-bookmaking shop with locations on the Upper East and Upper West Sides as well as in Los Angeles, came to life in an unexpected place—on a flight across the country.

It all began when Darcy Pollack and Anna Barber, two literature-loving moms, happened to sit next to each other on a flight in 2006. “The conversation began when I commented on the book that [Darcy] was reading, and we discovered that we had a lot in common,” says Barber, a mom of two sons and two stepdaughters and a trained lawyer who had worked in internet marketing, consulting and corporate law. “We both lived in L.A, we were both mothers, we both loved books, and we went to the same college. By the end of the flight, we exchanged our whole life stories,” Barber says. Pollack, also a mother of two, holds an MBA and had worked in investment banking and the entertainment industry.

The conversation eventually led Pollack to share her vision of a store where kids could publish their own books, a place that would inspire creativity and foster a love of writing.

“I come from a book-loving, publishing family—my father is an editor, my mother is a literary agent and my sister is a writer,” Barber says. “So when I heard Darcy’s idea, it was like getting struck by lightning, it was one of those moments.” Just hours after meeting, Pollack and Barber decided to become business partners.

“I was seven months pregnant at the time, so when we got off the plane my husband sort of looked at me skeptically and asked, ‘Do you really think you are going to start a company with someone you just met on a plane?’” Barber says with a laugh. “Which, of course, only made me more determined to actually see it happen!” After their initial meeting, Barber and Pollack worked diligently to make their vision come to life, researching different technologies, finding equipment suppliers and reaching out to other parents for support. In 2008, their hard work paid off when Scribble Press opened its first storefront in Los Angeles, a brightly-colored creative oasis as alluring to kids as a candy shop—and much better for them, too.

Barber, a native New Yorker, knew that Scribble Press would be a tremendous asset to New York City families as well. “I always wanted to [bring Scribble Press] to New York,” she says. “Families here care a lot about education and the arts, and everyone in New York is looking for something to do with their children.”

Fueled by Barber and Pollack’s passion and the enthusiasm and support from New York City parents and friends, Scribble Press subsequently opened its Upper East Side location in April of 2010, followed by its Upper West Side outpost this past November.

But regardless of what side of the city your child is scribbling in, the process of getting started is easy and inviting. When kids enter the shop, they begin by choosing the format in which they want to present their work, selecting from hard and soft-cover book templates, notebooks, calendars, greeting cards, bookmarks, placemats and more. The projects range in price from $17 for a lined notebook with the child’s design on the cover to $40 for a calendar filled with a year’s worth of drawings. Plus, while older children pen their stories, kids ages 2 and up can have fun with a simple drawing project.

After they choose their projects, guests can grab a wooden caddy and head over to the vast marker wall to grab as many colors as they like before setting up shop at a large drafting table. If kids need more inspiration along the way, there are stencils, idea cards and fill-in-the-blank “cueprints” on each table, with prompts like “I Love My Mom” and “All About Me.”

“We want to provide as many tools and opportunities as possible to get kids to roll up their sleeves and be creative,” Barber said. What’s more, children are encouraged to take their time on their creations. “We want kids to feel like they can take as long as they want to work on their projects, and [for parents] not to be concerned that they have spend a lot of money each time they visit.”

After children finish their masterpiece, the books are whisked off to the production studio, where they are scanned, printed and bound into a professional-looking finished product—all in about 30 minutes.

“It was important to us that children be able to leave the same day with their book,” Barber says. “We think a big part of the magic is being able to see your work transformed instantly into something permanent— there’s nothing like feeling like your work has become indelible,” she says. “The idea of thinking of yourself as a writer is so tied up with seeing your work in print.”

In addition to drop-in sessions, Scribble Press also offers a variety of classes for children of all ages, from simple art classes for toddlers to more advanced courses—like vocabulary building and creative writing—for tweens and teens. What’s more, Scribble Press’ unique birthday parties have also been a huge hit with city families.

“I think people like the idea that there’s a creative and literary birthday party option,” Barber says, “and that all the children get to go home with the book that they created.”

Barber hopes that parents see the unique opportunities that Scribble Press has to offer in nurturing children’s creativity and helping them find their voice. “We see our objective as inspiring kids and giving them the tools they need to be creative, and the finished product is really personal,” says Barber. “When a kid comes in here and writes a story called ‘Deepa The Magical Ninja’—who rescues a lost cucumber from the sunken forest—you just couldn’t make that up!”

Scribble Press is located at 1624 First Avenue (between 84th and 85th streets) and 215 W. 84th Street (at Broadway). For more information, visit

Scribbling At Home

There are many small things parents can do at home to open up the world of storytelling for their kids. Here are a few ideas from Scribble Press co-founder Anna Barber.


There’s nothing more exciting for a child than the words “Once upon a time…” spoken by mom or dad. You don’t have to be great at making up stories—you can borrow liberally from classics, movies and books you’ve read recently.


You can also borrow the structure of a favorite picture book and add your own personal details. This shows kids that it’s okay to copy (all writers start out by copying), and gives them an easy way to structure their own stories.


She can write (or dictate to you) one sentence a day about something that happened. This is easy to do and has the added benefit of creating a great keepsake. I like to use an old-fashioned composition book with wide lines for this. This can be a part of your bedtime routine.


Take three pieces of copier paper and a colored piece of construction paper for the cover, fold in half, and staple. It’s very tempting to create a book when presented with the empty pages. You can paste a photo of your child on the back and write a little author bio every time they create a book.


If you put all the books your child makes in school and at home on the same shelf, they’ll have a real sense of accomplishment, and also be able to see their progress. For more ways to inspire your kids to love writing, visit the Scribble Press blog (scribblepress. Happy scribbling!


A West Side Scribble

The City’s Only ‘Make Your Own Book’ Workshop Debuts A Brand New, Upper West Side Location


 Attention all aspiring writers: Scribble Press, the wonderful creative oasis that gives aspiring authors and illustrators the opportunity to write (and publish) their own books, now has locations on both sides of NYC. This past weekend, Scribble Press debuted a colorful new location at 84th and Broadway.

No matter what your kids’ talents, writing level or interests, Scribble Press has great classes and workshops that offer to nurture their skills — and have some fun!  Families can drop in to write and illustrate a book (or just do some scribbling).

If you need a bit of help to get the creative juices flowing, kids can work with teachers or sign up for a drop-in workshops or classes (for preschoolers to eighth graders).

Have an upcoming birthday to celebrate? Scribble Press also offers hands-on birthday parties. They offer everything from book-making supplies to goodie bags. Best of all? Every guest leaves with their very own book to commemorate the day.

For more information about Scribble Press and its offerings, visit

Scribble Press

Scribble Press
Scribble Press
Scribble Press
Scribble Press
Scribble Press

Finding a new rainy-day activity is the Holy Grail of NYC parenting—after all, how many times can you look at dinosaur bones or paint a sparkly ceramic mug? So when Scribble Press, a make-your-own-book shop, opened on the Upper East Side, I was eager to see what it was all about.

“We wanted to create a place where kids can get away from technology and engage their imaginations,” explained cofounder Anna Barber on a recent afternoon. Nearby, big kids worked on graphic novels and note cards, while toddlers glued feathers to construction paper (prices range from $17 for a notebook-making project to $40 to produce a calendar; or you can pay $15 to just drop in and play with the art materials).

My crafty kids, Bellamy, 8, and Molly, 6, were lucky enough to get a tour of the entire bookmaking process—including the stages that are usually off-limits to visitors (see the girls’ explanation of all the steps below). We watched as the staff scanned in Bellamy’s artwork and printed it out on board stock (for the cover), then trimmed a stack of paper to the right size, punched holes in it and rolled a spiral through the whole thing. My little bookmakers even got to (carefully!) press some of the buttons on the machines. Not a bad way to spend a day, rainy or not.

Scribble Press, 1624 First Ave at 84th St (212-288-2928,

Step 1 Choose a project “I picked a notebook because I love to write poems, and it was something I could finish quickly,” says Bellamy. Molly decided to make a laminated place mat.

 Step 2 Grab your markers “The marker wall was definitely the best part,” says Bellamy, who plucked about a dozen bright shades for her wooden caddy. “They had a million different colors.”

 Step 3 Get creative Bellamy worked on a self-portrait for her notebook cover, while Molly went to town with the letter stencils. “M is for Molly, so everyone will know this is mine,” she explained.

 Step 4 Hand it in When the kids finished, the team printed and bound their creations in a secret lair at the back of the store. Molly got to look on as staffers worked their magic.

 Step 5 Collect your masterpiece About 20 minutes later, projects are ready to take home. “I love my notebook,” says Bellamy. “And I love that I didn’t have to wait a week to pick it up!”
Click here to find out more!

Scribble Press

MYFOXNY.COM – Scribble Press is a unique new store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where kids can write and illustrate their own books. They can also make things like notebooks and place mats.

Kids love the fact that they can create something all their own, and parents love that their children get to use their imagination to bring ideas to life. Creating a book cost $32 — but there are many projects that start as low as $20. You can also throw a party or attend a class.

Scribble Press in NY

Click here to find out more!

 Eleven new birthday party spots for NYC kids

We’ve rounded up the city’s hottest birthday experiences for 2010.

Scribble Press: At this Upper East Side bookmaking shop—we’re talking actual books, not bets—kids get crafty with age-appropriate party activities. Tots up to age five work on place mats and themed crafts (i.e., princess capes and crowns). The six-and-up crowd may devise their own Mad Libs–style books (called Scriblibs), or make notebooks, mini cards or calendars. In addition, the guest of honor gets a keepsake filled with pages the other guests have designed, plus two pages he creates himself. The cover has a snapshot of the birthday child and the back, a picture of the entire party. Pizza, juice and cake are all on the menu; the in-house party manager will work with you to plan games and music, order any additional food and put together goody bags. 1624 First Ave at 84th St (212-288-2928,


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