The 4th annual Storytelling Under the Stars program (an ongoing collaboration between Story Squad and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus, was a rousing success. We told folk stories about the night skies from the Native American and First Nations traditions, and from Estonia and Hawaii. Eight-five members of the planetarium and their guests enjoyed tales about fox and raven stealing the moon from sleepy bear; lazy coyote decorating the heavens with pieces of an unknown shiny material that becomes stars; six wives who eat wild onions and leave their unloving husbands (who can’t stand the smell) to live in the skies as the Pleiades; and two stories about the Milky Way: one about Lindu, daughter of the Sky King, who searches for a husband and decides on the Northern Lights. She weaves her wedding veil while waiting for her husband to arrive, but he never does, so her bridal veil spans the sky; and a Hawaii’an story of the hero Ka’ulu who vanquishes myriad foes as he rescues his kidnapped brother from the Chief of the Sharks, whom he throws into the sky to become the Milky Way. What a marvelous place to share stories….under the stars (and in climate controlled space, as it was mighty chilly under the real stars that night.
Story Squad storytellers will be visiting the Estes Hill Elementary School first grade classes each week to share stories of enchantment and wonder in the beginning of what will become an ongoing collaboration to help grow children’s literacy levels through story.
Story Squad storytellers shared stories from around the world with seniors at Charles House on Friday, November 15th, 2013. From Native American “pourquoi” (why things are as they are) tales of the stars and moon, to a Gullah tale about turtle’s cracked shell, to India for a story about the origin of shoes, to Japan for a tale of a stone cutter’s discovery of his true power, and on to Russia for a tale of a snow child who blesses a childless couple, the stories shared the delights of global culture and understanding. One of the storytellers summed up the experience, “Telling stories at Charles House was a lot of fun. The audience members and staff were very kind, and they even provided brownies as payment.” Everyone had a great time.
Story Squad provided thrills and chills to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in Smith Middle School just before Halloween this year. Students came voluntarily during their recess break to hear scary stories, and many left saying things such as, “Wow, that was creepy,” and “I nearly jumped out of my skin.”
Ghost tales, urban legends, and horror stories from literary masters provided the fodder for a truly spooky time. Thanks to middle school librarian Natalie Harvey for inviting us out.