STORYTELLING TO KIDS
”Well, he’s just a guy who loves to tell stories to kids”. You’re Right!
Storytellers chafe to ‘rise above’ the prevailing impression that ‘Storytelling is for KIDS’. We want to be taken SERIOUSLY as artists by ADULTS. I prefer to rephrase that truth as, ‘Storytelling is for KIDS OF ALL AGES.’
I’m a professional performer who’s style has been SHAPED by children. I’m visual, noisy, use voices and make faces. I speak KID. We love each other. We laugh a lot. I respond to them within the telling. They know I’m ‘Awake’, controlling the environment, keeping them focused and safe.
Short Attention Span? TV kids? Hey- these are OUR KIDS! They’re our FUTURE! Kids‘ll listen to me as long as I want to talk. No shortage of attention AT ALL. On more days than I can count I’ve driven home from telling stories to kids pinching myself with GLEE: “did I really just have THAT MUCH FUN with two hundred kids? Didn’t we ALL ROAR LAUGHING together? Didn’t the room freeze? Wasn’t the silence SCREAMING with their attention?” For me, telling tales to kids is NOT a demeaning classification, it is the highlight. Seriously!
Children are honest, direct, and sincere. They’re very bright. They know who’s in front of them. They teach me things constantly. I listen to them as I tell and they tell me what works and what doesn’t. When kids love something they show it. They’re ALIVE and respond!
Here are videos of stories for kids (also available as a DVD) (link to product)
SILLY ‘N SPOOKY (DVD – KID TALES) (& CD with more tales TOO)
(all with Les Adam, piano)
In Hawaii, when I ask kids what kind of stories they want to hear they always cheer for Spookies (which suits me fine!) Still, some are young. To avoid trauma, I created a variety of stories full of suspense, ending with a smile and a laugh (Silly ‘N Spooky CD). They are guaranteed home run, gregarious fun, just for children itching for a thrill & chill… and some touching tales too.
REVIEW of ‘Silly N Spooky’ CD in Honolulu Advertiser (2006)
First Day on the North Shore (beautiful personal tale & puppet bits, 5:15min) *
Under the Banyan Tree (the girl sees something white in the dark, 6min) *
The Glove (short fun, with video coloration, 3:40 min.) *
Aiea Heiau (builds on fear of walking Hawaiian spirits, ends in a joke. 6:30min) *
Zipper Hero (older boy uses humor to deflate embarassment, 4:45 min.) *
I love my CD ‘The Two Brothers’, a 73 minute musical roller-coaster spontaneous combustable adventure, a VERY FUN new skin on an old Brothers Grimm epic. Now I may not have paid much attention to that tale, but the kids were SO INTERESTED in it, insisting I continue telling it that I really started working it over with them. Pretty soon we REALLY had a JEWEL (it runs a solid hour solo. It’s not their lack of attention that keeps me from telling it more- more likely it’s a schedule that didn’t allow an uninterrupted hour.)
(Two Brothers CD)
I have music on ALL my Cds I’m totally fascinated with a gifted group of talented musicians on Maui (with piano wizard Les Adam in the center) who loves playing to stories as much as I love having them. I am thrilled at how their soundscapes extend and color the narratives of both Spooky Tales and Children’s stories. I love the way the music spontaneously pushes around my words, how I loose control of tales I know very very well allowing surprising new
life to spring up and out. You can hear this in the recordings. Feed your ears these delightfully fresh ‘events!’ (Duets: Tunes ‘n Talles article)
I also have had several years teaching the Honolulu Parks staff storytelling. In order to get these good-hearted servants of their communities to dare to do some ‘performing’ (a fairly unpopular notion to them) I’ve evolved some fun methods to build on success with small social exchanges. I taught them as a day-long workshop many times as a summer school class throughout the 90s, as evening classes (2009-11) and as Storytelling in Performance (University Hawaii, Spring 2017.) Please take a look if you’re interested (Tell Well System)(UH Storytell Class)
The Hawaii Parent Magazine asked me a series of questions about children and storytelling which you may read at Storytelling Q & A.