A wonderful confluence of events will bring a world-renowned storyteller to our doorstep this February. Anne Pellowski is in between visits to Ethiopia, where she taught families how to make their own cloth books, and Central America, where she will assist with the Bibliobus project. A native of Wisconsin and active member of the International Board on Books for Young People, Anne is truly a citizen of the world. Anne has kindly offered to present a program on storytelling for librarians on Friday, February 3rd at 10:00am in the SCLS auditorium. She will demonstrate how she makes cloth books and teach us storytelling techniques using our fingers, string, paper, and handkerchiefs.
Anne presented at SCLS about 18 years ago and it was a workshop Joanne K. of the Commack Public Library has never forgotten. “A librarian who attends Anne’s presentation on February 3rd will never forget it either,” Joanne said at the Dream Big meeting on January 17th.
If you work in a Suffolk County library, please register for Anne’s program online or by contacting SCLS Youth Services. If possible, please bring a handkerchief with you to the program. In the meantime, check out Anne’s books, which cover the whole spectrum of storytelling, from techniques and presentation ideas to history and research.
“Talking to you is like talking to thousands,” Heather Forest told the audience at this morning’s workshop “The Magic of Words” at SCLS.
The audience she was referring to was – of course – librarians. Librarians are the people with “positional power,” the “public intellectuals.” After the audience recovered from this high praise, we opened our minds and imaginations to Heather’s thoughtful presentation.
Libraries played a large role in Heather’s early life. She read comics, which her parents considered frivolous. So the family made a deal: if Heather checked out one book from the library every week, she would be allowed to continue with her comics. Heather marched down to her public library and made her way to the mythology section. She only veered from that section when a librarian steered her to the 398.2’s; Heather’s been there ever since.
Heather hates the word illiterate. “Every child comes into the world pre-literate.” She went on to point out how children read faces, read their parents’ tone of voice, read the clouds. They are living in a world of communication before they ever learn to read or write.
Today the audience learned how to discover the bones of a story, and just as importantly, how to memorize them. Through a series of exercises, we went into our own special memories where information stored in stories is easily retrieved. Once we saw the “movie” of a story in our minds, it was there for us to recall with relative ease.
Many librarians left the workshop wanting more. Heather mentioned she is interested in conducting more in-depth workshops for libraries by zone, as she did in the Huntington zone this past winter. If your zone is interested, please contact Heather Forest.
On Thursday, August 25th, Heather Forest performed in the community room of the Smithtown Library’s Nesconset Branch to an appreciative audience of children and parents. According to Christine Dengel, children’s librarian trainee at the Smithtown Library, Heather got the audience participating right from the get go. “Everyone was basically a storyteller,” Christine reported, and then went on to say the following:
Heather incorporates various musical instruments into all of her stories, so they can be appreciated as ballads. In one moment she’ll be singing and strumming her guitar, and then she’ll immediately shift gears and her voice becomes one of the characters in the story. The audience laughed every time Heather imitated the squeaking mouse. This was especially true for the circular tales like The Turnip and The Little Red Hen, which can become tedious in their repetition. Not true with Heather; she brought them both to life with music and humor. Even those of us who cannot sing were able to join in the music. We’d clap to keep the rhythm, so we were the percussion instruments. Then of course everyone clapped at the end because it was a fantastic performance.
To learn from this internationally known storyteller firsthand, join us on September 14th for Heather’s presentation The Magic of Words: A Storytelling Skills Workshop at SCLS. The program begins promptly at 9:30am.
On September 14th, 2011, Youth Services will host the program “The Magic of Words: A Storytelling Skills Workshop” featuring Heather Forest, storyteller and children’s book author.
For over thirty five years, Heather has been teaching and performing nationally and abroad as well as in our communities. This resident of Huntington uses a minstrel-style method of storytelling to share stories from around the globe with audiences of all ages. Heather’s virtuosity paired with her ability to teach makes her workshops unforgettable.
Heather – in addition to holding a Masters Degree in Storytelling and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change – is the recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award, the founder and director of Story Arts, Inc., and the webmistress of Story Arts Online.
The interactive storytelling workshop for staff of Suffolk libraraies will begin promptly on September 14th at 9:30am (coffee and tea at 9:00am) and end at 12:30pm. Registration for “The Magic of Words” is now open to all Suffolk Public Library staff. Take a peek at some of Heather’s books such as The Little Red Hen: An Old Fable, illustrated by another Huntington resident, Susan Graber.
Riley Roam and Kenny Mikey of Page Turner Adventures delivered on their promise to bring the Summer Reading Program manual to life with humor, movement, participation, video and music. In two sessions, they presented a plethora of ideas that fit the theme One World, Many Stories and You Are Here. My favorite was the mask wheel. This wheel of masks is easily made with dowels and allows the storyteller to “become” another character with a simple turn of the wrist. This photo shows four masks, but the wheel could actually hold eight masks if a second level was made.
Riley and Kenny also perform at libraries and would love to entertain in your community. For further information, visit their website.