Once Upon a Time…
Once upon a time, there were three smart and beautiful sisters who lived in the Land of Aledo: Alexa, Bristol, and Charlotte. Their parents taught the sisters to love stories and reading, and these sisters, who were all good and true, if a little silly at times, wanted to share their love of stories with other children…
Every child knows that a good story begins with “Once upon a time.” And this is a good story.
The number one Kids and Family podcast on Apple is ABC Story Sisters. Sisters Alexa, Bristol, and Charlotte bring their favorite classic children’s literature to life in family-friendly, easy-to-listen to episodes. The first season told the story of The Wizard of Oz; the second season, which premiered in August, follows Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
I sat down with Alexa, age 9, and Charlotte, age 5, to talk about reading, adoption, and giving back.
The idea for ABC Story Sisters came from the sisters’ love of books and stories. Alexa said, “We really wanted a YouTube channel.” She then heaved a small sigh and executed a perfect preteen eyeroll. “But Mom said no so we decided on a podcast.”
Alexa is the ringleader of the sisters; she narrates the stories and helps corral the little ones. She is funny and patient as Charlotte, a bundle of energy and something of a wiggle worm and a giggle gus, bounces in the chair and interrupts with adorable non sequiturs. Alexa calls Charlotte the Crazy One and Bristol (who, when we talked, was sick and was napping) the Really Crazy One.
When asked why the sisters chose The Wizard of Oz for their first season, Alexa said, “I did the musical at Casa Mañana, and I love the story.” Mom Charity poked her head in to say that the stories are all in the public domain. Charlotte piped up, “I was the Scarecrow!” (Bristol, in case you were wondering, was Toto.)
Both Alexa and Charlotte go to McCall Elementary School in Aledo, where Alexa is in fifth grade and Charlotte is in first grade. Charlotte said, “I go to school at McCall where we get to take naps and do homework and have snacks and do Math Magic!” When Alexa doubts her love of homework, Charlotte says enthusiastically, “I love to learn!” Alexa’s favorites include science and reading (naturally), and she’s a budding basketball star.
The Story Sisters not only tell great stories, they also use their fame for good. The ABC Story Sisters is a “podcast with a purpose.” They have teamed up with publisher Tandy Books to raise money for Room to Read, a nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world.
When I asked Alexa why they decided to support Room to Read, she calmly dropped a bombshell. “I originally asked to help with giving food to the homeless shelter because I’ve experienced that, and that’s not something I want other kids to experience.”
Alexa was adopted by her aunt and uncle when she was six. Mom (and aunt) Charity explained, “Alexa is our biological niece, but unfortunately we didn’t get to be a part of her life her until we found out she was in foster care at the age of five. Until that time she had been in and out of foster care and homeless shelters much of her life. She was placed with us as a kinship placement at age five and was adopted when she was six. She is an amazing and resilient kid, and an awesome daughter and sister.”
Now Alexa, Charlotte, and Bristol give back by telling stories to other children and raising money for Room to Read. With a little help from Mom and Dad, they converted their playroom into a recording studio. Each sister plays multiple parts “because people are allowed to be two things!” according to Charlotte. Bristol is a little young to be a main character, but Alexa said, “She makes the sound effects; she sounds really cute!”
When asked what the future of ABC Story Sisters is, Alexa said, “When I become a teenager, Charlotte can be the host of the little kids’ [podcast]” while Alexa will narrate books for older kids. Being the superb big sister she is, she’s got it all planned out.
In the immediate future, the Story Sisters will interview local authors and start in with Alice and her crazy adventures. (Charlotte was quick to point out that she will be Alice. Alexa is going to be the Cheshire Cat, and “Bristol is going to be the BUNNY!”) And while we never know how our real-life stories will end, it’s pretty clear that for now, the ABC Story Sisters are living happily ever after.
Meet the ABC Story Sisters!
- What is your favorite book? The Harry Potter Series
- What is your favorite word? “Uplifting”
- Where do you like to read?On my rug
- Would you ever want to write a book yourself?No, I like reading them too much!
- Who is your biggest podcasting influence?My mom
- What is your favorite spotin Fort Worth? TCU Women’s basketball games
- Would you rather travel, visit a museum, or go to a birthday party? Travel to someone’s birthday party that’s in a museum!
- What is your favorite book? Shimmer and Shine Save the Rainbow
- What is your favorite word? I love you!
- Where do you like to read? In my room
- Would you ever want to write a bookyourself? Yes, about rainbows!
- Who is your biggest podcasting influence: My sister Alexa!
- What is your favorite spot in Fort Worth? Dream Park
- Would you rather travel, visit a museum, or go to a birthday party? Go to a birthday party!
Bristol, 2 (with translation help from Mom)
- What is your favorite book? “Paw Po” (Paw Patrol, in Toddlerese)
- What is your favorite word?Daddy
- Where do you like to read?My bed
- Would you ever want to write a book yourself? “Yea, I write a book”
- Who is your biggestpodcasting influence? “….”
- What is your favoritespot in Fort Worth? “I go to trampoline park”
- Would you rather travel, visit a museum, or go to a birthday party? “Go happy birthday”