Benjamin Salka is the co-founder and CEO of Story Pirates, an education and media company based in New York and Los Angeles. Learn more.

What is Story Pirates?

I co-founded Story Pirates in 2004 to make 21st century education more collaborative, more creative, more engaging, more effective, and more enjoyable than anyone thought was possible. 

Jon Stewart with the Story Pirates on The Daily ShowWe aren't your typical pirates. We don't plunder — not money or booty, at any rate. What the Story Pirates steal are… stories. Stories written by kids ranging from crazy, imaginative ideas that only a kid could dream up, like alien tickle monsters who invade Brooklyn to rid the world of skinny jeans, to well structured persuasive essays about Amelia Earhart and other women who changed history, to scientific concepts like the spinning of electrons or the ethics of colonizing space. 

We think kids have the best ideas. And we know that within a few decades, today's nine year olds are going to be running the world. We believe it's important to show these kids now that their words, their stories, and their ideas really matter. 

Conan O'Brien performs with Story Pirates at the Geffen PlayhouseThat's why we dispatch some of the most engaging writing teachers in the country to work with children to write their ideas down. We focus on preserving the spark of creativity and imagination that's often lost on the way to adulthood. We also work on spelling, grammar, vocabulary and revision. Then we take their stories and give them to some of the best comedians, musicians and professional artists around, who use their talents to bring these kids' ideas to life. We turn them into sketch comedy rock musicals in theaters and schools. We transform them into music videos on YouTube that have received millions of hits. We perform them nationally on our weekly radio show. We're planning an album, a series of books, and you'll soon be able to see our shows streamed live, whether you live in Arkansas or Alaska. 

We're using every platform available to create highly memorable education experiences that are designed to honor kids as creators, and to foster a life-long love of learning.

If you think this all sounds like fun and games, well… that's because it is. But consider this: 

  • In 2004, Story Pirates launched a pilot program at a single school in Harlem, at PS 154. 
  • By 2008 we were working in 75 schools around New York and we were invited to perform election themed stories at theKennedy Center for President Obama's inauguration
  • In 2009, demand for our programs nationwide started to explode, and we opened a second branch of Story Pirates in Los Angeles in partnership with the Geffen Playhouse. 
  • Our latest partners include Penguin Books, Harper Collins, Sirius XM and Disney Junior, who are all working with us to bring Story Pirates to more kids around the country. 
  • As of last year, we were in over 200 schools and we received 30,000 original stories by kids, many of them from low-income, Title 1 schools.

Story Pirates is not about making learning a little more fun, or a little less boring. It's about great teachers and great performers coming together to create mind-blowing, positive educational experiences that can forever change a child's perception of learning. 

If you're interested in finding out more about Story Pirates, please email info@storypirates.org