Everyone must wear a mask in the library at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

Storied Sunday: Celebrating the Power of Telling Stories

November is a month where we celebrate many things.  During our celebrations, stories are told and heard.  We all tell stories informally around the dinner table, on the bus, in the car, on our walks with our family and friends. There are people in the world who make it their passion to share the power of words and stories. Every year, once a year, storytelling guilds and enthusiasts all around the globe share their talents in concerts held in cities and towns to celebrate the art of storytelling.

It’s hard to believe that only a week has gone by since TELLABRATION!™,  a storytelling celebration conducted worldwide on or about the third Saturday in November and sponsored by the National Storytelling Network.

After all the stories were told, the Three Storytellers — Angela, Ellen and Tata — stuck around to answer questions from the audience.

Here is a compilation of their advice to new tellers – we invite you to tell your hand at storytelling!

  • Don’t be afraid of embarrassing yourself.
  • Pick a story that you like and love.
  • Do some research if the story is from a culture other than your own. Show respect and read up about the background of the story so you can speak with authority.
  • Once you have a story you want to work with, read it aloud a few times until you get it sounding the way you like, then record yourself telling it. Play it back, sit back and listen to it a lot. Do not focus on every single word, just keep listening to it as you drive, as you walk, as you knit — let the story sink in. Close to the time that you are going to tell the story, write down major bullet points. Highlight them in your mind so you can create images in your head of the story to guide you in the telling.
  • Find your own storytelling voice – the only way you will do this is to keep telling stories!
  • Don’t try to memorize the story word for word. Remember key events in the story and gain fluidity by practicing in front of stuffed animals, real animals, friends and family.
  • Breathe deeply, go into the story with confidence.
  • Have fun!

You may have missed the local ZOOM event; however we invite you to hear some of our local storytellers tell other tales that they have recorded:

Click here to see Tata Canuelas tell the Aesop’s Fable “The Lion & The Mouse.”

Click here to see Storyteller LuAnn Adams tell “The Blue Faience Hippopotamus.”  Click here to listen to Robin Bady telling “The Overcoat,” a story based on a Yiddish art song with musicians Skip LaPlante and Conchetta Abbate.  Click here to see Carol Birch tells “Icarus Revisited.”

Here in Westchester, we are lucky to have the Rye Storyteller’s Guild.  The Rye Storytellers’ Guild is a group of adult story lovers who met at the Rye Free Reading Room on the first Tuesday of each month (pre-pandemic) to share traditional folk and fairy tales and personal stories. They have now moved to the ZOOM platform. Storytellers and listeners are always welcome to join them.  If you have any questions, or want the link to join, please contact: Angela at booksamc19@gmail.com.

Locally, Westchester Library System and Westchester Library Association sponsor The Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. This award was established to honor Anne Izard, the noted librarian, storyteller and Children’s Services Consultant in Westchester County (NY) who died in 1990. It is hoped the award will highlight and promote distinguished titles published in the field of storytelling and, in doing so, bring the many riches of storytelling itself to a much greater public recognition.  The 2022 Awards will be announced in May. More information about the Award and the past winners can be found here.We hope that this blog post has raised awareness about storytelling and gets you excited about storytelling. We hope that you explore some of our resources available to check out from local libraries:

Phil P. is Librarian II at Crestwood Library, has an educational background in theater and loves to read and tell stories.
 
Z currently serves as Crestwood Library Branch Manager and is a former member of the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award Committee and enjoys connecting people to stories.
 
LuAnn Adams has an M.F.A. Major in Acting, from Rutgers University, NJ. She has been a Storyteller/Artist in Residence in more than 600 Elementary Schools, conducted Master Storytelling Classes (5 years) at Northwestern University, (IL) for  & for the NYC Storytelling & NJ Storytelling Guild.
 
Storyteller, actor, playwright, teacher, Robin Bady works nationally and internationally. She is co-founder of the Bread and Roses Theater, Artistic Director of the Children’s Theater Workshop of the 92nd Street Y, founder of the storytelling ensemble Shirazad’s Children, and past Director of the Storytelling Center of New York City.
 
In 1998, Carol Birch received the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award given to storytellers recognized as master tellers by their peers, setting standards for excellence, and demonstrating a commitment and dedication to the art over a significant period of time.
 
Tata Cañuelas, a Children’s Librarian at White Plains Public Library, is devoted to sharing stories that celebrate holidays and explore cultural diversity. Tata brings passion and enthusiasm to her programs and looks forward to sharing them with Westchester’s families. 
 
Ellen Tannenbaum is Head of Adult Services at John C. Hart Memorial Library, a master storyteller and served as co-host for the joint Yonkers/John C. Hart Memorial Public Library TellabrationTM on November 20 via ZOOM. Ellen is currently the Co-Chair of the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award Committee.