The Coldstream Tales Universe - Our Origin Story

We started with blue characters. We might have even considered animals. Mythical creatures. We even ended up with Greek names for a time.

What initially bound Taj, in Kansas, with Karen and Jesse, in Coldstream, was that if we were going to write children’s books with Plus Content in mind, we wanted the stories to not only represent a small portion of the population. The books had to represent as many people as possible. We wanted this to be a “big tent” universe. We wanted everyone to belong here and to feel welcome. We floundered between multi-ethnicity and no-ethnicity at all (remember: blue characters). We delicately explored sensitive subjects the three of us are not qualified to speak on. We brought up the notion of magic and non-magic and reality and fantasy and the stories we most related to as children and Guardians ourselves. We were in a global pandemic alongside explosive civil unrest in the United States, Canada, and worldwide amid all these discussions. We knew we needed to get this right, and the possibility of making grave errors terrified all of us. It still does. We needed to get the “big tent” right.

At this time, we are a small company. We do not have the resources of a large publishing company. We cannot feign diversity through the overuse of stock photography on our site, nor can we invest all of our time and resources into accessibility. We have to be strategic in making our characters represent the world, the real world—a world where diversity is beautiful and worth celebrating. But more importantly, if we want to tell diverse stories, we need to be a company with diversity at its core.

We decided early on that we wouldn’t write all the stories, nor would we illustrate them. We’d set the stage for others to do that, and we’d deliver those stories through our software, which we could upgrade and control to match each reader’s needs and abilities.

The Coldstream Universe currently consists of over 20 characters, depicting people from unique communities representing the larger world. Characters from every continent with many languages and backstories encapsulate the reality of human life and experience on this blue orb in space. Each character introduces, teaches, and explores exciting subjects that inspire and entertain children, including:

  • personal growth and development,
  • math,
  • travel and geography,
  • space and exploration,
  • tools and robots,
  • fantasy and imagination,
  • parenthood,
  • recreation and fun,
  • emotions,
  • science and invention,
  • music and art,
  • speech and language,
  • history and geology,
  • nature,
  • superheroes,
  • and diversity within abilities.

The wide range of topics and uniqueness of each character’s background means we are fundamentally structured to require diversity within our writers and illustrators to help evolve both the universe and the company. We developed The Coldstream Tales to follow children through their developmental stages from birth and beyond. Our software and book formats change and evolve to our stories’ topics and developmentally appropriate ways. It’s no stretch to think that while we’re developing picture books on day one, we will be producing graphic novels that leverage our accessibility-first mantra in five years.

The magnitude of this project has demanded an exceptional amount of foresight. We’ve based most of the rules and storylines around a single series geared towards adults (who we call Guardians). However, we’ve yet to conclude how best to deliver these stories – in serial form or a series of novels. The Guardian Series laid the groundwork for a universe where we can welcome new, talented, and diverse storytellers and illustrators to bring stories to life without compromising our overall vision of Coldstream.

Our priority is to launch both our eReader [software] and our first book. As we grow, we will continue to focus on our vision, our mission, and our values:

  • To create a cast of diverse characters
  • To represent many fundamental topics and areas of interest,
  • To create stories developed, written, and illustrated by people that represent a global audience.
  • To use technology to make the lives of guardians and practitioners more manageable.
  • And to help children grow and evolve by empowering and supporting them through an online, inclusive, educational and fun universe.


Would you like to know more about our company, the founders, or our collaborators? Head over to our Company Page for more information. To stay up-to-date on all things Coldstream, follow us on Facebook and Instagram and join our email list.

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Plus Content is provided with the purchase of a Coldstream Tale book and can be downloaded for use at home, in classrooms, or in a clincal setting. For the moment, all Plus Content is in English.

eBooks are provided in tandem with access to the Coldstream reader when you purchase any Coldstream Tale book. They can be downloaded for use at home, in classrooms, or in a clincal setting, and can be used on your tablet, mobile device, and some eReaders. eBooks are often better for use on mobile devices.


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