The Story of Journey to Cloud City

By Eliot Kersgaard

Humanity’s creativity is our greatest asset in confronting global challenges. It allows us to create newness: new models for the world, new forms of communication and expression, and new solutions. Creativity is the way we bring our understanding into the physical world. Creative potential is unlocked when we are engaged and passionate about our activities. It’s truly a shame then that the students in United States school systems have becoming more disengaged from school since the 1980’s. There are 20 million students who are disengaged in US public schools— thats 40% of all students enrolled in public K12 schools. And not only does this lack of engagement hinder creativity, but it also inhibits academic performance as a whole.

With these facts heavy in our minds, we founded Myra Makes to create solutions and help prepare and create increasing opportunities for humanity’s youth. Our premise is simple: we can use adventure and play to engage students with the learning process. Decades of research has shown that play is a key ingredient of the learning process, especially for young kids. This makes it a natural fit for facilitating creativity.

We took this premise to kids and asked them: how can learning become fun? The answer we’ve found again and again is by introducing concepts through adventure, role-play, and by placing learning objectives in the context of characters and environments. Next, all we had to do was introduce this framework into a format that we can bring to kids across the globe. There are a lot of suitable formats: games, kits, and other tactile experiences; workshops, after-school programs, and other in-person environments; apps, web games, and other digital interfaces; and the age-old classic: books! We decided to jump into the book medium as a starting point because books are low-impact and easy to manufacture, broadly accessible, simple in design, and portable.

Our first prototype was a simple story which followed Myra as she adventured through a magical land with talking bunnies, bug warriors, and an octopus explorer. Each of these characters prompted the reader to use arts and crafts supplies they had at home to build a solution to a specific challenge. Over time, with feedback from over 40 kids and 60 parents, designers, and educators, we expanded the content, created original art, and included a broad variety of activities to be done right in the book: no outside materials necessary! We designed the book over 8 months, and created 7 different versions which we printed and bound in our basement and shared with others to harvest feedback on what was and wasn’t working. Finally, in July 2017, we launched our first book, Journey to Cloud City! We quickly made our way into a variety of local retailers and onto Amazon.

Our goal is to use the traction and profit made from this book to invest in the development of future products and experiences, such as the different media we mentioned earlier. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all the parents, kids, teachers, friends, and other believers that have helped bring this dream to life. We hope you’ll support our mission and help inspire some of the kids in your life by ordering your copy from Amazon today. Together, we will create a future in which the natural talents and passions of our youth are recognized as humanity’s greatest asset.

Have questions or other feedback? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email at Contact@MyraMakes.com or 303-304-4659.


About the Author:

Eliot Kersgaard is an artist, educator and entrepreneur working to facilitate a cultural shift emphasizing justice and play. He is the founder and director of Myra Makes.

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