On the Internet: Kids-Space
    by Fiona Barnes (reader)

Kids-Space is an award-winning website that offers children from around the world a place to post their original art work, writings, and musical performances. It's one of a growing number of internationally oriented sites that connect children from various countries with one another. And to this end, Kids-Space devotes a large portion of its site to helping children to locate international pen pals, to provide them with a way for posting questions on an electronic bulletin board, and to create a way for kids to show off their own internet web pages. The only requirement is that these sites be non-commercial and unattached to organizations or schools. As with everything on Kids-space, the idea is that it should be, as per their motto: "of kids, by kids, for kids." And, believe me, it's a relief not to have commercial banners spread across the pages; or to have everything tied to curriculum objectives or school assignments.

Instead, you get to enjoy a gallery of pictures and shelves of stories for their own sake. But if you're inspired to add your own tale to go along with six-year-old Satuki's remarkable picture of an Oni, a Japanese monster, then there is a way for you to email it to her; or if you 'd like to try illustrating the folktale that 11-year-old Zacchary from Tiznit, Morroco, retells in his own words -- the one about the donkey who outsmarts himself -- then you're most welcome to post that.

There are sections with information about coutries and national costumes, craft projects, and links to other child-friendly sites -- all of which adds to the dedicated purpose of Kids-space which is, in their words, "to foster literacy, artistic expression, and cross-cultural understanding among the world's children....by promoting cross-cultural collaboration in creative projects." It's a truly a worthy goal, and it's a site worth visiting.

Copyright 2001 by John Cech

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Tuesday, 12-Jul-2005 15:32:18 EDT

"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for the Study of Children's Literature and Media and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."