Creating a Book for Children Using AI Tools (How I Did It)
I’ve had a passion for children’s books since I can remember. Books and stories for children have to boil down the essence of good storytelling, morality, character development, and visual art to the absolute core and present them in a way that is understandable even to toddlers. As a child, I still remember being magnetically attracted to these books; some still impact me today.
So as a (visual) storyteller, I always wanted to get my hands into this kind of creation. But sadly, my drawing skills are nowhere near where I would like them to be.
A couple of years ago, I partnered with my former student and then coworker, the wonderful and talented Tamara Likon, with whom I planned to make a short animated cartoon. Unfortunately, we both ran out of time, so that project had to be abandoned.
But the story stuck with me, and now I decided to revisit the idea.
Honestly, even back then, I didn’t have the story plotted out with more than a few sentences. It wasn’t anything more than a pitch, basically going like this: A mother living in a jungle finds out her child is sick. To heal her, she has to go to the forest and find medicinal herbs. That’s it. Nothing special.
So this time, I decided to refine it and see if ChatGPT could help me with a more extended version (which I didn’t have the nerve to write). I decided to add another character (a daughter) and make her the protagonist. So now the daughter has to go to the forest to seek the cure while the mother stays home and takes care of the sick kid. On her quest, the little girl meets three animals, each presenting her with a riddle that she has to solve to advance her journey. Finally, she finds the medicine, returns home, and gives the cure to her little brother, and everybody lives happily ever after.
The italics above are more or less what I entered into ChatGPT, and below is what I received in return. The first version didn’t contain any riddles (it only said that Luna, which is the name ChatGPT gave to our girl, solved a puzzle), so I asked it again to also include the riddles, which it did.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl…