The Hungry Mirror with Rajani LaRocca


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This week’s Story Seeds collaboration brings together 12 year old creative rockstar Liyana and Rajani LaRocca, author of the 2019 middle-grade hit Midsummer’s Mayhem (a Kirkus Best Book of 2019 and a Must Reads in the 2020 Massachusetts Book Awards) .

Rajani helps Liyana grow this story seed:

A girl who doesn’t fit in with her family of celebrities (her mom is a Bangladeshi supermodel and her dad is a Japanese soccer player) gets a magic mirror from a fairy

Follow this magical Story Seeds adventure with host Betsy Bird as Rajani and Liyana:

  • Go on a hunt at a New York City antique store to find an (almost) magic mirror
  • Talk about the 3 key ingredients for an excellent urban fairytale: fairies, fantasy, and food
  • Celebrate and represent biracial characters inspired by Liyana’s heritage

The episode concludes with this week’s storytime (15:49) where Rajani reads the story she grew from Liyana’s story seed: Aina and the Mirror.

Books and media mentioned in this episode: Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Food mentioned in this episode: channachur, okra, hot dogs, pizza, and doughnuts

Calls to Action

Bonus Episode: Check back next week to hear Betsy's interview with Rajani. You’ll get to hear about not only her writing career, but wait ... guys ... she’s a doctor too!

Kids: Call The Story Seeds Hotline at 646-389-5153, email us at, or visit our website to submit your story ideas. You can also join The Story Seeds Society, our kids listeners club.

Grownups: Visit for subscription links, to sign up for our newsletter, and to download our printable activity e-zines for your kids (or the kid in you!). You can also follow us on Instagram @storyseedspod, on Twitter @litsafarimedia, and on Facebook @literarysafari.

Get our Imagination Lab: Experiments in Creativity activity book! It pairs perfectly with the podcast and features tons of episode-inspired prompts and projects! Order your copy here!

This episode is also available on YouTube. Subscribe here.

Show credits

Produced and written by Sandhya Nankani, Anjali Sakhrani, and Kayla Fedeson. Scoring, mixing, and sound design by Ania Grzesik and Matt Boynton of Ultraviolet Audio. Field audio recorded by James Boo. Hosted by Betsy Bird. Music by Andrew VanWyngarden, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of MGMT.

The Story Seeds Podcast is a creation and production of Literary Safari

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