Friday, September 04, 2009

Stories to Tell

Oh wow, so it's been a while now, but I hung out at Coolspring Crazy Camp on Friday, August 28th, and told stories to the "campers." It actually went pretty well-- although I've told stories before and even took the storytelling class during summer session, this is the first time I've told to a non-adult audience. I think it showed, as I'm not yet comfortable with the kids jumping in and trying to take hold of the story. I'm still working on finding my voice, but I did get some nice compliments from parents and even a few kids. The kids were mostly good-- I only had one misbehaver, and one other antsy boy was really too young for this sort of thing-- which helped me be more comfortable. In addition to the stories contained in the books below, I told "Good Day Fellow! Axe handle!" found in Norwegian Folk Tales, by P.C. Asbjornsen and J. Moe, and "How Much is a Smell Worth?" found in The Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish Folktales, by P. Schram and G. De Conno. I could not lay my hands on either of those books, so I told them from memory. I mostly learned the stories below by listening to classmates practice them in the Story Telling and Youth Programming classes last summer. A big thanks to Megan, Becca, and Lynn, who got back to my Facebook requests with titles, authors, publication dates, and the whole lot. I love using Facebook for work! Too Much Noise, by Ann McGovern; illustrated by Simms Taback. The kids like this story because of the repetition. Next time I tell this one, I'll invite the kids to participate on all the animal sounds. If you had stuffed animals or puppets of all the animals, you could pass them out and kids could hold them up when you say the animal name. One of the parents had kind of an "ah-ha" moment at the end and appreciated the moral of the story; I prefer stories that speak to a wider audience. This book is older, the illustrations school-house-rock cartoony, and done only in 2 colors. It's a great story, though, both to read and to tell. How Chipmunk Got His Stripes, by Joseph and James Bruchac; illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. "Just So" and "How [x] [verb] [x]" stories are good for a slightly older grade school audience, and I got good response when telling this one. I'm not normally big on voices, but just alternating the pitch between speaking for Bear and Little Brown Squirrel made a big difference, and the kids loved it. Again, the illustrations are cartoony, but very bright and colorful. The Kingfisher Book of Nursery Tales, by Vivian French; illustrated by Stephen Lambert. I did not read this whole thing, but just "The Three Wishes" tale, which I told. It's a good, short fairy tale for the K crowd, and you can really play it up. I'm happy to say that kids (and parents) enjoyed this tale probably the most of my selection for the evening.

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