Saturday, September 24, 2005

Family nights

Quite often I'm booked to tell stories at Family Night at schools. I love these!

My favorites are when the theme is "let's have fun with reading and stories," however it's billed. The kids bring their parents, siblings, grandparents. Sometimes the teachers and principal are dressed up for a theme, like last week's pirate theme at Spring Branch Elementary, or in pajamas and slippers. Everybody expects to have a good time. The students are wildly excited to be at a special event, with their friends, at school but with fewer restraints. I remember running full speed down the corridor during intermission at a play at John Howland Elementary School when I was in 4th grade. Exhilarating!

Even with all that excitement, the kids love the stories at Family Night and will listen for as long as I'll tell. I tell stories from books, especially by Robert Munsch and Philippa Pearce, two of my favorite authors (both of whom have given me permission to do so). I wind them up a bit with "The ghost with the one black eye," then calm them down for bedtime with "The gunniwolf," or another suitably peaceful story at the end of the program. Many of the kids come up to say goodbye to my puppet Trixie, who graciously shakes hands and occasionally kisses. There might be refreshments after the stories--Spring Branch had sundaes. Yum.

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