We had a fantastic weekend storytelling at Plymouth Volksfest 2012. Four days of sitting in a field listening to some great local bands while my kids got to enjoy unlimited bouncy castles, face painting and craft workshops for free. How did we get such a great opportunity? Because mummy is a storyteller!
I’ve been story telling with Barefoot Books for over a year but this was our biggest event to date. It literally came about after a chance conversation with one of Plymouths play leaders a couple of weeks before. I’d mentioned that I had dropped some of my writing clients in order to concentrate on Living Barefoot and found out that a story teller was needed for Plymouth Volksfest. A quick phone call and we were booked for the weekend, and what a fab weekend it was. I would say it was one of the most successful events I have done with Barefoot Books so far.
So what kind of stories did I tell? As a Barefoot Books Ambassador I have a fantastic selection of stories from around the world so I picked a few of my favourite anthologies and away we went. Top stories for the weekend came from The Barefoot Book of Monsters (sadly out of print right now but available as a collection of early reader chapter books), Tales of Mystery and Magic and The Barefoot Book of Princesses, but there were a few surprises too!
For example, only one child had heard the story of The Princess and the Pea before! I couldn’t believe it. It was one of my favourite stories as a child and one that I always used to play act when getting out of the bath (she was so wet that you couldn’t tell where her hair ended and the rain began). Well we soon rectified that one and many more kids will be wondering about the royal museum where the pea is still on display.
Another shocker for me was that although the vast majority of children had heard the story of The Gigantic Turnip at school – not one of them knew the moral of the tale! When asked why it was the hungry little mouse who got the turnip out of the ground every single one of them thought that it was because he was super strong. Oh no, dear children, the mouse wasn’t that strong. The reason the gigantic turnip came flying out of the ground when he joined in was because it doesn’t matter how small you are you are big enough to make a difference – and if you all work together you can do ANYTHING you want!
So goodness knows how they tell stories in schools (I’m soo glad we home ed) but it seems to me that whoever told them that story totally missed the point. Stories are there to help us learn about the great concepts in life, to explore universal themes that transcend culture or religion and to help us to realise that no matter where we come from, as human beings we share a commonality that has lasted throughout the generations.
One thing I learnt this weekend was that the work I do is as important and relevant today as it has ever been throughout history. Telling stories is how we connect as human beings. Sharing them with others creates a special kind of life and energy that cannot be recreated through the commercialisation of childhood which is sadly so omnipresent in our society today. The closeness and the intimacy of gathering a group together to share a good tale is something totally unique. Despite all our modern technology and the ability to share information at the click of a button, nothing comes close to the experience of sharing a story.
Storytelling at Plymouth Volksfest allowed my whole family to have such a fantastic weekend. I can’t wait until tomorrow when we’ll be doing it all again and taking the story tent to Freedom Fields Community Festival too. We really need more story tellers throughout the UK, though, so if you’d like to become part of the Barefoot Community then why not join us as an Ambassador? The starter kit is just £59.99 until the end of June which means you can be all ready with everything you need to make story time an integral part of your family’s life too. Love Living Barefoot ♥!
Just some of the stories we told at Plymouth Volksfest 2012
The Story Tent before the festival opened
Sharing a story with mum after a whole lot of bouncing!
Find out more about becoming a Barefoot Books Ambassador!