A Heartwarming Testimonial

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Dr. Melodie Rosenfeld is a leading academic educator who apparently has fallen in love with Ourboox. When she asked whether she could write a testimonial, it was, well, music to our ears!

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To whom it may concern,

As a college lecturer in an academic college of education, I have been using Ourboox for over a year with preservice EFL teachers. I require my students to utilize Ourboox for themselves and their pupils, They have found almost endless ways to benefit from this free site. The most popular is that it provides an easy platform for children to write short stories and be motivated to correct their English sentences and paragraphs. It’s easy to convince kids that an authentic audience will be reading their creations and it’s quite thrilling to have a book that’s quick and easy to “publish” on the web. Two of my books have already been published on Ourboox and I look forward to continuing the series.

Melodie Rosenfeld Ph.D.
Lecturer: Talpiot Academic College of Education
Head of Department (retired): English Department, Achva Academic College of Education
Israel

IATEFL thoughts…

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I’m at Glasgow Airport, waiting for my flight to Heathrow and thinking about the IATEFL meeting where I was fortunate to talk about Ourboox in the context of teaching English as a second language. What better way to teach English than to encourage students to become English authors, create books of their own on practically any subject? I was also able to share a sneak preview to our next free feature, “ItsybooxTM”, which will enable kids (and the rest of us) to print out short boox on A4 paper and fold them into minibooks which they can share anytime. The response was very enthusiastic and I’m excited. 
One of the speakers, Steve Brown, talked about publishing books dealing with “parsnips” – uncomfortable subjects which are not covered in commercial English language books. I told the crowd that as a “Backwards Publisher” whose short term goal is to “lose money happily” that Ourboox will be delighted to publish unconventional English-teaching books as long as they do not shame or hurt others. 
I’m travelling buoyed by the positive feedbacks and my own personal feeling that Ourboox is doing something good for the world. 
Oh, and during the meeting a Palesinian book on teaching English was published! I proudly featured it on the Ourboox homepage, together with books from Israel and the rest of the world. I’m determined that (at least) on the internet, co-existence rules!! Check it out!! Wouldn’t it be special if the Palestinian authority makes all its school texts available on our website? They would be way ahead of the Israeli Education ministry (and that of many other ‘advanced’ countries as well). 

What are itzyboox?

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Have you ever dreamed of publishing your own books at home? Well, now you can!
Itzyboox are minibooks that you bring to life using your printer and a SINGLE PAGE.
All you have to do is create a book on Ourboox (up to eight pages long), choose the itzyboox configuration, print it out and fold it into your own amazing page-flipping book (that’s simple too).
Make two or three itzyboox, even a thousand. They are all free courtesy www.ourboox.com. If you feel an uncontrollable urge to thank us by donating a couple of dollars, that’s wonderful! We’ll use the money to grow and develop more cool free stuff for our community!

Steven Max Stern’s book

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Steven and I were brought together a decade ago by our love of music and children’s stories. I got to know his dear wife and daughters. He generously lent me his facilities to test my stories on a group of youngsters in English and Hebrew. When he closed his recording studio we somehow slowly lost touch, which was rekindled when we shared a coffee last year and he told me that he was grappling with a life-threatening medical condition. Since then Steven has been winning the fight and his courage and resolve are a lesson for us all. I am inviting Steven to our class at Shenkar college in a week or two to share his story and to coax our students to live their lives to the fullest and leave no stone unturned.
Steven has just published his truly amazing story on the Ourboox platform, and I am delighted that we were able to facilitate this wonderful, candid, inspiring book. I hope that our community will read, re-read, share and treasure. I know I will.
Link to the book:

Hopepage changes

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Hello, everyone!
Ourboox had a terrific week. During the last three days we have had over 10,000 page views each day. During this same time period we have welcomed almost 400 new books! To accommodate the growing number of excellent books we want to feature, we have added an additional line of ‘featured books’. We also have a new counter for the number of times books are read on our site (712,865 and growing every day).
Shout out to Ran Shternin who is continually surprising us with new features – expect more in the very near future.

Living Books

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As you all know, Stephen Pohlmann is a dear friend and supporter of Ourboox (and excellent writer, as well). This afternoon we had a conversation about what he calls “living books”. Stephen claims that one of the unique things about ourboox is that the books are alive. Since the books can be edited at any point in time, they have a continual nature to them. I tend to agree. I go over many of the books I have written during the past three years, add an illustration, tweak the text, bring them up to date, etc.
Combine this notion with the ability of authors to create ongoing interactive projects within the books (puzzles, games, padlets, etc) and you have a book that changes over time. Compare this with the books of yesteryear that were fixed and transfixed the moment they were published. Yet another distinct advantage to what we are doing.
Further, now that books appear the moment they are created, their development is like that of a baby growing into an adult.
Ourboox is growing all over the world. The platform becomes home to some hundred books (or more) every day. We feature the ones that we think are amazing (you are welcome to suggest books for featuring) and we are delighted to see how the library is growing and developing. Expect some exciting developments in the platform in 2017 as well.
In the meantime, wishing you a happy and fruitful February!
Mel for the Ourboox team. Email me at mel@ourboox.com

The Couch and I

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Hello writers, readers and Ourboox friends, 
This year I hope to regale you with discuss various aspects of storytelling, creativity, and how to make best use of our amazing platform. We have started with something a little out of the ordinary, by interviewing a couch. Expect a video and book next week. Just saying, 2017 will be a great year for all of us. Keep the books coming! We are growing by about 100 a day!!!!
Interview with The Couch That Yelled Ouch
http://bit.ly/2ivl6Zn

New Year’s Resolution

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Dear friends and Ourboox lovers,
Sorry for not blogging last week. We were busy celebrating Hagai Cohen’s 80th birthday. Hagai has been a contributor to Ourboox since the very beginning, and one of his stories on the platform (“The Two Blowhards” http://bit.ly/2iX9L2Y ) was mentioned during the event, alongside many amusing stories about his life.
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And now, I want to say a few words about my New Year’s Resolution of writing 1000 children’s stories in 2017. It’s quite a challenge I agree. And whether or not I make it in the end, it already is having a positive effect – I am constantly thinking about ideas for books!! I’ve started over thirty of them since January 1st. Unfortunately none are ship-shape so I’m not going to be sharing any for a week or so. But stay posted. I am on track. I challenge any of you to a similar resolution in 2017!!

To Our Dear Readers

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It’s that time of year to reach out to thank our thousands of authors and readers, across the globe. It’s been a great 2016 for Ourboox with over 750,000 unique page views (each book is a page!), and almost 8,000 books on over seventy subjects, and in twenty different languages. What does 2017 hold in store? More features and surprises, that’s what. So please spread the word about our free website and how it enables anyone to create amazing digital picture books, incorporating text, figures, maps, videos and almost everything else, including the kitchen sink. Please share the url’s of the books that you love, the ones you’ve written, and help us spread the word. We need you with us!
With best wishes,
Shuli, Mel, Ran, Maya and Ourboox lovers everywhere!

Happy Holidays !

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As the holidays of light draw nigh (Christmas and Hanuka arrive together this year), we are witnessing an influx of stories about the holidays. And why not? These two holidays for Christians and Jews are the time families get together, sometimes from far and wide, share gifts, stories, take photos, decorate trees and hanukiot,  and create memories. Ourboox is happy to be part of this process. On our platform, you can create a book, add a few words about your family, your memories, a few family pictures and even embed a video of Bing Crosby singing I’m dreaming of a White Christmas (I recently began to realize that Jews can also take pride in this song,  given that it was written by a Jewish guy whose original name was Israel Baline). On Ourboox, you can go back at any time and edit and update your book. And you can always share the url with family, friends and anyone. Oh, and it is completely free to use. So you can save your money for all the presents!