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WOW Storytellings in Print and on Film

A report following the study of AI’s capabilities as they relate to the publishing work of World of Water through its imprint, Little People Books.

(Above) Result of AI prompt for a back cover spread of ‘The Gathering’  (Author: Paul Stanley)

As the Editor of our charity’s publishing imprint, Little People Books, www.littlepeoplebooks.co.uk    I am excited to present the findings of our comprehensive 4-month study into the utilization of AI in publishing, with a particular focus on illustrated storybooks for young children.
Commissioned by World of Water, this groundbreaking exploration delved into critical subjects including environmental awareness, water in space, personal wellbeing, literacy and sustainability, plus the intriguing search for useable water on other planets.

(Above) AI version of data hub for IWAC [International Water Awareness Centre]

The project commenced with rigorous text-to-text research with ChatGPT. This initial phase provided a solid foundation, enabling us to craft engaging narratives to resonate with a variety of young audiences – each age group being analysed using AI rather than human focus groups.

For example, we were able to generate a story using this minimal prompt:  “Write a story about two fun fictitious characters living for the chance of appearing in their own book whilst having to work on producing graphic novels full of other less interesting OC’s”. We were then able to paste the story into a series of other AI programme to get Readability Grade Levels and Readability Scores. For example, the story generated by AI for the above prompt scored the following:

Readability Grade Levels:
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 14.3
Gunning Fog Index 16.3
Coleman-Liau Index 16.3
SMOG Index 15.8
Automated Readability Index 14.4
FORCAST Grade Level 12.6
Powers Sumner Kearl Grade 6.9
Rix Readability 12
Raygor Readability n/a
Fry Readability n/a

Readability Scores:
Readable Rating E
Flesch Reading Ease 23.2
CEFR Level C2
IELTS Level 8+
Spache Score 7.0
New Dale-Chall Score 8.4
Lix Readability 57
Lensear Write 62.9

This instant AI analysis facility made it simpler to adapt the original story into several similar versions, each matching a slightly different audience profile.

(Above) AI generated image using Little People Books ‘Dinolad’ story as prompt

Moving beyond text-to-text, we looked at Midjourney and Leonardo.ai for text-to-image. Initially, we found the results were not seamless – on close inspection, every image had some flaws. If you look carefully at the leg joints of the dinosaur (image above) you’ll see they are both inaccurate and impossible.

Whilst the AI produced captivating visuals, very few of them matched well with the illustration styles within our more traditional storytelling book list, but the latest updates allow us to upload our own illustrations and get AI to use them as style references.

We concluded that the greatest benefit of generating titles using AI will come from AI’s real time interactive ability to provide each of our readers with their own personalised story experience, somewhere close to their real life using immersive augmented reality. We read a few articles about AI neural link research but nothing suggested as yet that these would accept externally generated stories in the near future. It appears more likely in the near future that AI neural links may lead to an abstract dream-to-video AI application.

(Above)  “The Earth That Time Forgot” prompt by Midjourney AI

With our movie director hat on, we tested audio prompt for video, leveraging AI to ‘extract’ story from illustrations and animate simple images into bite sized movie sequences.

As the editing style of most modern film and TV progs. is to use quick cuts between rapidly changing scenes, AI productions like THIS using Sora fit the mood of the present market and this style is already in common use on platforms like TikTok. Youtube shorts,Instagram and Reels. Other signs of the trend to shorten communication include texting and emoji use.

During our research we listened to many views on the future of AI.  The most interesting view came from Max Tegmark, a renowned physicist and AI researcher leading MIT’s AI Lab: We humans have built our identity on being Homo Sapiens, the smartest entities around. As we prepare to be humbled by ever smarter machines, I suggest that we rebrand ourselves as Homo Sentiens.”

AI Literacy
Once upon a medieval time when people used the mark of “X”, it was because they were simply illiterate, but as human intelligence is always evolving, those who now “X” are simply those who once tweeted on Twitter. Though the use of “X” for Twitter is probably the shortest example of language abbreviation in recent times, Samuel Morse as early as 1836 designed code that reduced the letter E to a mere dot “.” (or dit) and the letter T to a dash “-” (or dah) – a very binary design which when extended to the full alphabet paved the way towards the development of binary language, computing and AI.

Our research findings suggest that the widespread promotion of word and sentence shortening has resulted in greater human illiteracy and the rapid uptake of AI applications.  Initially this seems to be a backwards step but the use of AI by so many has given it a data set par excellence  to number-crunch at speeds beyond human capabilities.

As AI controlled robots are now performing so many physical jobs faster than humans, our role as humans is set for a re-write.

(Above) Generated by a two word AI prompt in June 2023, “My Library”.

Our publishing imprint
If painting, carving, handwriting and other crafting skills stay afloat into the future, then bookbinding will survive so long as it keeps its head above water.  For the image above we used a two word prompt, ‘my library’ and you can see that through the ‘eyes’ of AI in June 2023 the resulting image included a library of books, or, if you are AI, a pattern in perspectives of thin multicoloured strips divided by receding brown lines.

Like an impressionist painter,  text-to-image AI apps mix ‘hues’ of visual and textual data in such a way that it makes a link in our minds. In the first week of our research we regularly changed text prompts before getting the results we wanted.  This took time but when you consider that AI regularly generates images in seconds that would take weeks to do manually, the few minutes used in re-writing prompts were of no concern.

Will WOW use AI to generate images for Little People Books?
There is one AI app that dropped a few months after our research period concluded that looks perfect for us and that’s a sketching app using predictive AI as you draw. This app also takes text prompts. From the vid we watched it interacts realtime with sketched line input so it’s like having a helping hand. I’ll post something about it after we’ve tried it.

Though using AI is nothing like working with an illustrator or author, it is an interesting tool and it can produce stunningly good quality images. When we concluded our research we launched a site specifically to share a few of our resulting publications. The site is not public access but here’s a slide show of some screen shots plus other images generated through text prompts:

(Above) Slide show of research artworks generated by AI using text prompts.

Output, output, output:
Throughout the course of our 4-month study, we achieved remarkable milestones, including the creation of over 50 captivating stories, the preparation of 10 engaging ebooks, the successful publication of 3 ebooks, and the launch of 2 print-on-demand books and colouring books.

Over the same 4-months however, thousands of other groups around the World used AI and produced a similar sized output. Print-on-demand houses were flooded with uploads and most needed to adopt some AI automation to cope with the deluge of raw, quick edited, low production value publications.

(Above) Prompt: “Robot surrounded by a network of linked icons in space”

The potential of AI in reshaping the landscape of children’s publishing.

Our journey was not without its challenges. While AI has revolutionized the creative process, it has created its own hurdles – ones that still demand human attention. Foremost among these challenges is the need to look carefully at AI generated images and check them for digital idiosyncrasies – the sort that a human illustrator would never make. Though AI came to its own rescue with ‘inpainting’, our photoshop skills remain in constant demand both inhouse and for our linked charities.

Whilst AI may not replicate the nuanced understanding and emotional depth that human authors bring to their work, it generates a vast variety of content, and faster than any group of humans. Our charity for example needed the wording for a specific legal document and not only did it AI produce the ideal document in seconds but it also worked in saving our charity time and funds.

(Above)  Prompt: “Busy Street Scene in New Media City”


With CCTV cameras and screens filling up our city high streets, there’s a big concern surrounding privacy. With AI, the concern includes algorithmic bias and intellectual property rights. We all need to be careful as we navigate the evolving landscape of AI-driven publishing and AI controlled smart cities, but, we also need to take care when appointing humans into positions of power.

Luckily, our new Mayor in Pembroke is Councillor Ann Mortensen whose goals include “improving the aesthetic of the town” and “leaning into the history of the town“. As the medieval burgage plot in Pembroke owned by World of Water dates back to before 1324 AD., we’ll be celebrating this 700 year anniversary with our first exhibition to feature AI: ‘The Story of Pembroke’s Marine History’.

Will WOW be using AI in their Exhibition Designs?
Generally, yes, AI will be of use in producing themed display ideas that our designers may never imagine.  But ‘not in the detail’, because if you look at the following AI image of exhibits very closely, you’ll find that AI has fudged the detail and not understood the picture it is generating. Take a close look –  it’s un-real, hard to construct, but it’s interesting nevertheless.

Whereas, in our Museum of

Re-Design, Decomposition and Decay

all the exhibits have had a practical life – this marine mooring for example:

and this post under a seafront sign:

Exhibitions on Film using AI
Our exhibitions on marine and freshwater subjects have historically been mounted all over the UK on tour but from our 2025 season onwards, they will be filmed and published on our YouTube channel.

With a small film crew and basic filming and editing equipment we’re hoping to use some AI for audio-to-video,  elevenlabs AI for voiceovers and vochlea for music scores.

Despite the various challenges, our study of AI yielded overwhelmingly positive results, supported by customer feedback from focus groups. Parents and educators alike lauded the educational value and engaging storytelling found within our AI-generated storybooks.

Moreover, our efforts to tackle pressing issues such as environmental sustainability and personal well-being were met with resounding acclaim, underscoring the profound impact of literature in shaping young minds and fostering a sense of social responsibility, regardless of the techniques and tools used in the making and the telling.

In conclusion, our foray into AI-powered publishing has been nothing short of transformative, reaffirming our commitment to innovation and excellence in children’s literature.
As we chart a course for the future, we remain steadfast in our dedication to harnessing the power of AI to inspire, educate, and empower the next generation of readers.

About Us

Little People Books is dedicated to igniting the curiosity and passion for knowledge in children. With a range of captivating materials, we offer an exciting journey that not only educates but also empowers young minds to understand the world around them.

As an imprint of the educational UK charity, World of Water (WoW), Little People Books holds a deep commitment to positive education. We firmly believe that by instilling a sense of wonder and understanding in our children, we can shape attitudes and foster a desire to improve the quality of life and living.

By delving into engaging stories and media, we inspire a profound appreciation for the environment – clean air, clean land, and clean water – essential for a healthier and happier global community.

Join us as we embark on this important mission to create a brighter future.
With our integrated materials, we aim to empower parents, teachers, and carers alike, equipping them with the tools to nurture young minds and guide children towards a deeper understanding of the wonders of life.

Together, we can inspire a generation of compassionate, informed, and environmentally-conscious individuals who are ready to make a positive impact on the world.

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