Three hunters track a great bear across the night sky, appearing as constellations and turning the leaves on the trees red and orange every autumn. A plucky, prince-saving Rapunzel declares, “I can rescue myself!”
All across the country, tens of thousands of kids are listening, rapt, to these stories told with wit and warmth, fun and friendliness on The Stories Podcast, a bedtime story-style podcast for children and their families that’s produced on the North Shore. ?
“There’s only so many times you can listen to the same Disney soundtrack over and over,” says Daniel Hinds of Haverhill, who created the podcast three years ago after being unable to find anything to listen to with his daughter, Grace, who’s now eight.
Hinds, an email marketer by day, writes every installment of the weekly podcast, scouring the globe for folktales, fairy tales, myths, and legends to share with listeners.
The stories told on the podcast are drawn from traditions from around the world. For every story like “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Jack and the Beanstalk,” there are others like “The Inch High Samurai” and “The Girl Who Kissed the Moon,” based on a traditional creation myth from the indigenous Tupi-Guarani people of Brazil.
It’s a rich reminder that stories are powerful forces across cultures, shaping our consciousness and collective memory, and helping to explain big questions about life, death, love, and existence.
Daniel Hinds?’ Daughter, Grace
Hinds’s research is extensive, and he strives to be culturally authentic in his retellings. For instance, he interviewed Mohawk storyteller Kay Olan to research “Why the Leaves Change Color,” a traditional story from the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, Native Americans.
“I’m really proud of that one, because that’s the authentic story that they used to tell, and now we can share it with the world,” he says.
In addition to traditional folktales and myths, The Stories Podcast also tells original stories written by Hinds, like the wildly popular and funny “Dog King.”
The woman responsible for writing the “Dog King” music and for hosting the podcasts is Amanda Weldin of Andover, who works as a therapist and music therapist. Hinds’s sister, Kelsie, who helped him start the podcast, also sometimes hosts the show.
Over the past several years, the podcast has grown incredibly, averaging about 150,000 listeners a week, and topping 650,000 listeners in August. It was nominated in the Kids & Family category at the 2017 Academy of Podcasters Awards. The team is working with the Cambridge start-up Woobo to write original stories for its “smart” stuffed animal and is launching a spin-off series based on one of Hinds’s most popular original characters, Mick Munter, Monster Hunter.
Through it all, The Stories Podcast remains devoted to its audience of kids, who are captivated listening to stories that are told to them by someone who feels like a friend.
“We are aware that we have a really wide reach and feel lucky to be able to do that,” Weldin says.
The Stories Podcast