Here, you’ll find a very small sample of the kind of stories I share in schools.
I share stories from Africa, Asia, Australia, The Caribbean, China, England, Europe, The Native Americans, Russia, South America, The Far East, U.S.A., and probably other places that I can’t think of at the moment! Sometimes, I also share my own stories.
I tell them in a way that enables children to access them, participate in them and enjoy them. I choose very carefully, keeping in mind the ages of the children. Stories and participation are always appropriate to age and ability.
The children can use genuine instruments from Africa, S. America and elsewhere.
They are inspired to create in a variety of ways and some schools follow up with major art pieces.
Stories from India –
Moon Lake (KS1)
The forest elephants live by a beautiful blue lake and enjoy eating the fresh leaves and drinking (and squirting) the cool water. But when the sun leaves only dirty, muddy water, they have to find another lake. After searching, one is discovered in the forest, but the trouble is – it belongs to the rabbits. How can the little rabbits chase away the big, fat elephants?
A papier mache elephant created by the pupils of Montgomerie Infant School, Essex.
The sparrow and the crow (Foundation/Reception)
A sparrow and a crow alight in a garden. The crow discovers a pearl in the grass and the sparrow attempts to bully the crow to hand it over. The sparrow calls on a number of people, animals and objects to help intimidate the crow e.g. the woodcutter, the king, a mouse, a cat – even an elephant. None will help until the mischievous mosquito is called into the action. A story about bullying and courtesy.
Stories from Australia –
This is a lovely mini-beasts story. Honey mouse loves the honey that the bees make – until the bee-eater bird comes along. However, listening to the bird singing, makes him wonder what makes all the birds so happy that they sing. He finds that they all “collect” different things like termites, flies and caterpillars. In the end, he asks the koalas to help him find something that he can “collect”.
The people don’t have fire but watch as an old and fierce man sits by the warmth of his. They watch him cook and eat his kill whilst they have to eat raw meat, sleep in the cold and have their babies snatched by the dingoes in the darkness. They try to ask for some fire, but all fail until a boy of the tribe makes an attempt. The old man tells him to find budbud sticks. But what exactly are they? It’s not easy to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for! When he does find them, instinct drives him to discover fire making. There is a twist at the end!
Stories from Africa –
The Snake Chief – from South Africa (KS2)
A father has two daughters who need husbands. He crosses the river in search of suitors. He returns from a visit to a village with news that the chief is looking for a wife. His eldest daughter insists that she goes to meet him. But she is headstrong and, going against all custom, she goes alone. Every time she is offered help on her long journey to the village, she responds rudely. In the village, she is tasked with grinding millet and making bread for the chief but she does this poorly. The chief is angered and the girl is despatched. Her sister, with father and a host of friends, follow in her footsteps but respond kindly to the offers of help. She makes good bread for the chief and becomes his wife. A lively and very interactive story.
Rabbit lives on the African plains and wants to be wise like skygod so he visits him/her. Skygod sets tasks – bring me the scales of the biggest fish in the world. Rabbit has to work out how to do this. Bring me milk from the wildest African cow. Again, this is a real challenge for rabbit. Having completed the tasks, he asks for some wisdom. Skygod tells him that it would be wise to watch out for those animals he had just tricked whilst completing the tasks for him/her! So how wise is he – how fast can he run?!
Stories from The Caribbean –
The pepperbush (KS2)
This story with a song is based on a tale from St Vincent in the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, there is a tiny dot of an island. When a cloud covers the sun, a shadow is cast over the whole island. The scheming witch becomes queen and uses the king’s pepperbush to hide a terrible secret. However, the singing of the princess turns the tables on her.
Anansi and the king’s cow (KS1/lower KS2)
Anansi has a plot of land next to the king’s field of prize cows. In the night, someone – or something – is trampling down Anansi’s corn, so he decides to throw some rocks at the intruder. He tries to persuade his wife (story within the story!) to fetch boulders from the river. Eventually, armed with the rocks, he attacks the culprit under the cover of darkness. Unfortunately for Anansi, he kills a king’s cow and knows he will be in big trouble. With the help of his wife – again – he tricks his best friend into believing he has killed the cow. Fortunately for his friend, he has a clever wife as well and manages to fool Anansi into confessing all to the king.
A story from South America –
Mole and grey Fox – Based on a Peruvian traditional story (KS1)
Mole and Grey Fox are best friends. They each live in a cave; each day mole goes into the valley to pull up worms, and fox goes off hunting. They meet one evening and wonder at the sun and where it might go. They watch the moon come up and fox wonders if mole has a dream. Mole tells his dream but is very surprised at fox’s dream – to reach the moon. Neither dream seems possible. The next day, whilst collecting sticks for a fire, fox thinks she knows how to reach her dream. However, there is a major flaw in her plan. They decide to ask condor for his help. On their ascent, the forest parrots mock mole and he is only saved from certain death by condor who is still flying round and watching. Looking up at the moon, they see fox has reached her dream; the parrots continue to laugh at mole who escapes underground – only to discover his dream. A beautiful story full of different emotions.
A story from Spain –
The King bemoans the fact that his son is always miserable. His ministers can’t help but the astrologers suggest that the prince had been bewitched when he was a baby. The only way to break the spell would be for the prince to find the golden orange. First, he would have to bake some wheat cakes, go into the mountains, face the wild dogs and discover the casket containing the orange. He does so, but when he opens the casket, the orange speaks and a princess (Naranja) emerges. She takes the prince home where they marry and a baby is born. The family now return to Spain, but while the prince goes to tell his father what has happened, the princess and her baby are approached by the wicked witch. She turns princess Naranja into a dove, whilst she becomes the princess holding the baby. Time passes and the baby – now a toddler – wants the dove that is flying around the garden. When it’s caught, the bird becomes Naranja once more, and the imposter becomes the witch who is banished.