For the Love of Storytelling
The first storybook I ever fell in love with reading out loud to kids was Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. Have you read it? It’s hilarious. I remember when I was a counselor at a summer camp and we had a bunch of rowdy, bored kids on our hands. I broke out that book and read it aloud and they all just stopped, all eyes fixed on me, and began laughing uncontrollably. They were hooked by a good story.
But you know why I love this book so much? Because when I was in school at Indiana Wesleyan University, I had a Children’s Literature professor read it aloud to us. Yes – us – a bunch of college students, all sitting on the floor at his feet while he read aloud a silly book about a pigeon wanting to drive a bus!
Ever since that class, I have LOVED reading stories aloud to kids. I love storytelling, I love capturing their attention with emotion and expression, long expectant pauses, and sometimes, tears. (Yes, I once cried while reading Let’s Get a Pup! Said Kate to the 4th grade class I student taught.)
I just love reading out loud to kids. It makes me come alive.
Storybook Ancestor Storytelling
So, beginning in October, I will begin holding my own Storybook Ancestor Storytelling times.
These programs are still in development, and the books I will read are nearing completion, and will be released in September. In early October, we will have a launch party in an original 1830s log cabin at the Johnson County Museum of History in Franklin, Indiana, to kick off the Storytelling series! Both ancestors I have written about were likely born in log cabins, so to have the launch party in a log cabin is more than fittin’ – it’s perfect.
Let me tell you a little about the books I will be reading:
The Storybook of Almyra King Hosclaw
When Mother Read Aloud: The Life Story of Almyra King Holsclaw
This storybook is based on a memoir written by my great-great-great grandmother, Almyra King Holsclaw. Myra was born in 1842 in Jennings County, Indiana to pioneer parents, and she lived in Jennings County her entire life.
The book is illustrated by five Indiana high school students, and includes the memoir in her own words, and a short biography with photographs of Almyra.
The book begins:
I am an old woman now, so old that some of my grandchildren have grandchildren of their own.
There has been much of sorrow and hardship but also much of joy in my life, and as I look back over the past eighty years, I can see my life like a pattern woven in with the lives of so many others. It seems, as I look at it from here, now that it is so nearly finished, that there is plenty of brightness to offset the dark, gloomy part of my weaving.
Two examples of the illustrations:
The Storybook of Nellie Hitchcock Mulry
This storybook does not have a title yet. It is a poetic rendition of the life of my great-great grandmother, Nellie Hitchcock Mulry. She was born in 1884 in Nashville, Indiana, and died in 1966 in Indianapolis. She has been described as “saucy” and “spunky” – and I have heard so many great stories that I just had to write about her. This book will be written and illustrated by my daughter and I, with input from members of Mulry relatives all over Nellie’s family tree.
The book begins:
Let me tell you about Nellie.
They say she was a “saucy gal.”
Nellie was born to a country family, but later came to live in the city – and she really was a city girl, with a spice of pioneer in her.
One day she was looking out her window onto the street and saw this tall, lanky Irish railroad man.
“I’m gonna get that man,” she said to herself. And she did.
Nellie Hitchcock and Lawrence Mulry soon became “Mom and Pop Mulry.”
The illustrations for Nellie’s book are in the formative stages – Ellie and I began sketching them just recently. Following are examples of Ellie and I’s sketches:
Teaching Kids to Write Family History Stories
Storytelling times will also include a mini-lesson to teach children skills on how to write their own stories about their family and ancestors. The lessons will be very similar to my Writing Family History for Kids e-book, and Family Story Time activity. Storytelling times will be geared toward students in 3rd-5th grade, and centered around 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Indiana Language Arts and Social Studies educational standards, though children of younger and older ages can certainly benefit and enjoy the program.
Schedule a Storytelling Time!
I am excited to announce that I am now booking times beginning the second week of October for Storytelling times. Libraries, schools, museums, homeschool groups, Scout troops, afterschool programs, etc. are more than welcome to contact me with interest and we will discuss times and a small fee. I prefer to stay within 50 miles of the Indianapolis area, but may make an exception for special situations.
Please contact me at Katie (at) storybookancestor (dot) org to discuss scheduling, or through or Submissions page. Also, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter for updates on Storytelling times, the release of the books, and also to get your free e-books and activities!
I look forward to working with you and your children!
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