Do not underestimate the power of storytelling.
In addition to performing, I am proud to have been an artist educator for many years. I’ve worked with companies that have brought live theater to thousands of kids who would otherwise never have been exposed to it. And over the years I have continued to be amazed at the way well-told stories can grab a child’s attention. Even in these days of the Nintendo DS and iPod Touch, kids can get wrapped up in a simple story that sparks their imaginations. Just this week a theater company I am a member of has been performing a story-theater style piece about Greek Mythology at Lincoln Center. I have seen, with my own eyes, city kids sitting on the edges of their seats…to watch three actors, several funny wigs and a bamboo staff weave the tales of the Cyclops and the story of Echo. I have to remind myself of this often.
My daughter responded similarly to Johnette Downing’s wonderful new CD, “Reading Rocks.” This innovative new album is the singer/songwriter/childrens book author’s first to combine spoken word with music, and it’s a delight. Downing’s CD interweaves readings from five of her picture books with eleven new songs that range in style from bluegrass to rock. She’s based in New Orleans and the varied musical influences of that city ooze out of every lyric and line. My little one was caught up in the CD when we listened to it….asking me questions and singing along. Amazing, the power of a story. Be it set to music or simply read.
Much like the Greek Myths, many of the stories in “Reading Rocks” cleverly explain natural phenomena. Stories like “Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud” or “Why The Possum Has a Large Grin.” Kids love these tales.
So this holiday season…maybe think about stuffing the stockings with stories. Pick up a copy of “Reading Rocks” on Johnette Downing’s website or at our affiliateAmazon.com.
Your kids will be glad you did.