Stories from You

Young, Little Storytellers

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This boy is the youngest, most talented storyteller I’ve ever seen. He’s only 2 years old (At the time of recording) and he told…Jack & The Beanstalk! I saw this on John’s website and thought of sharing with you too 🙂

What do you think? Isn’t he amazing??? 😀 What a joy to watch, huh 😉

Thanks John for sharing!

And while watching that video, I saw this related video – Star Wars according to a 3 year old. It’s soooo cute and funny! And she is sooooo adorable!

Aren’t children great storytellers? 😀


The Gruffalo-Inspired Artwork & Stories

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The storytelling sessions in SStwo Mall, Petaling Jaya

My very first storytelling session outside of a bookshop. The set up was definitely different, hence I was faced with different challenges. There weren’t many willing participants to come on stage to listen to a story, so we ended up having to beg some children to come onto the stage haha

I was very drawn to a young boy who was reading a book at the book sales nearby. So I approached him (the boy in the Angry Birds t-shirt). The conversation went like this:

Before storytelling session:
Me: Would you like to join us for a storytelling session?
J: No thanks (His exact words. Not impolitely, but with a cute smile on his face :))
Me: Why not?
J: ‘cuz I think it’s gonna be boring.
Me: Don’t worry, it’d be fun!
Boy still looked doubtful.
Me: Ok, why don’t we make a deal. If in anytime you find it boring, you can leave the session. Deal?
J: Ok! Deal!

After storytelling session.
J: Mom, can I come for the storytelling session again next week?
Mom: Did you enjoy it?
J: Yeah! I thought it’d be boring at first. But I enjoyed it! So can we come again?
Mom: Sure. As long as you remind me again next week.

Really hope he’d come again next week 😀

After the storytelling session, we had some activities, one of them was colouring. I told them they could recreate The Gruffalo if they want to. The two below were some of the creative ones. Thanks to their mommy, I can post them here 🙂

Jia Le's very own Gruffalo
This picture on the left is Jia Le’s recreation of the Gruffalo. He decided to make The Gruffalo as colourful as the rainbow 🙂 And those little speech bubbles there, were inspired by his brother (as you can see from the other artwork below). Jia Le’s Gruffalo is 20 years old. He loves tarts and poisonous mushrooms. His Gruffalo is constantly bothered by the fleas on his head (also inpsired by his older brother). Warning to those who haven’t met Jia Le’s Grufflo: He’s an angry and poisonous one! 
Jia Liang, his brother, drew his Gruffalo (the one below) because he doesn’t really like colouring. And he’s one very talented artist. When I first saw what he drew, I was drawn to the little bubbles he drew on top of the gruffalo’s head. When I read it, I realised they were indeed speech bubbles. He created a ‘mini story’ using his own drawing 🙂  
Jia Liang's very own Gruffalo

One of the fleas on the head: Living in the gruffalo’s fur isn’t that bad.
The other flea: I agree!

Horns: He always uses us when he charges at something. Aren’t you tired of that?
The other horn: Of course! What do you think I am?

Gruffalo’s brain: Get that berry! I’m famished!
The Gruffalo: As you can see, I’m just a figure to scare away predators!

The Gruffalo’s tongue: It’s a poisonous tongue, which is why it has those white spots.

The fingers: Isn’t it strange that this big-headed gruffalo have us – small hands and fingers?

The legs: Never! I’m sleeping. No, wait! I’m hibernating!

Tail: I always get sit on!

Aren’t they all creative? :)) Looking forward to posting more. They keep me inspired! 🙂

Children have such amazing minds and spirit. They keep me going, no matter how tired I am. They make my days meaningful 🙂

Group picture taken after the storytelling session

Stories from my students

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Stories come in many shapes and forms. In this section, I’d be publishing all of my student’s stories (with their consent of course :)). No amendments/corrections have been done as I want to keep them original. Hope you enjoy reading them!

Stories using sentences they’ve made on prepositions
Edward Wong, 8 years old

We learnt some new prepositions in class. To give them more practice, I asked them to come up with their own sentences. Then I challenged them to create a story using the sentences they’ve just made. I let them decide whether they want to partake in this challenge or not. Two of them decided to do so. One of them is Edward, the youngest student in this class, but one of the most polite, pleasant and hardworking 🙂

Edward is indeed a joy to have in class, always willing to help and share. Never once has he created havoc in class. He adheres to all classroom rules and puts his whole heart and soul into all the class activities. And this is the story he’s written 🙂

My Dream by Chien Wen (page 1)

Chien Wen is one of the most enthusiastic and hardworking students I know. Her vivacity and positive attitude are infectious. She has shown great leadership qualities too. Her love for reading is amazing. This girl has definitely got a bright future ahead of her. Keep up the spirit, Chien Wen! 🙂

My Dream by Chien Wen (page 2)

Vámonos with stories in English and Spanish (by Lillian Rodrigues-Pang)

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This is a collection of folk tales told in English with repeated Spanish phrases so you can enjoy the culture, the Latin American and Australian locations, the characters and the language – fun for all ages.

(Vámonos means ‘let’s go’ in English) I was a little apprehensive about buying this CD. Listening to stories without any visual stimulants could be quite a challenge for me, because I’m more of a visual person. But because I like Lillian’s style, I trust that this CD will be worth the try. And I was right. The stories were good but Lillian made them even better and more entertaining.  The music also set the mood of the stories and made them more intense too. Listening to them made me laugh and shudder; smile and wonder; definitely took my mind off the busy roads on my way to work 🙂 This is the list of stories and songs:

  • Mouse Family – Raton Familia
  • CD Introduction
  • Perfect present – Regalo Perfecto
  • Leave this place – Sal de Alli
  • Senior Billy Goat – Senior Cabro
  • The Butterfly – La Mariposa
  • Wings of Blue – Alas de Azul

It’s hard to pick my favourite story from this list. But if I had to, it has got to be ‘Mouse Family’. Lillian’s voice is so versatile. I loved how much character she gave to the mice and the cat by merely using her voice. ‘Perfect Present’ was warm, endearing and a beautiful story to tell younger children. ‘Wings of Blue’, which is a song, has a very catchy tune. Singing along with it would definitely take away your Monday blues! 

A great company to be with when going on long family trips and to keep your children entertained! 😉 Ask them to guess the ending of the story, play a game like ‘What happened when…’/’What if’ after listening to one story, learn new Spanish words together, or try singing along to ‘Wings of Blue’ together 😀

The Stories Every Student Needs To Know (by Roger Jenkins in MISF 2011)

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The Moso Bamboo

List of stories from Roger Jenkin’s workshop in MISF 2011
Here are the stories I managed to list down during the workshop. I’ve also included the links so that you can obtain the complete story.

Honesty & self-respect: Jewels under the Saddle: to make an abstract concept concrete (on honesty and self-respect) Tried googling the full version of this story but couldn’t find any, so I’m going to write what I can recall. It’s about a man who bought a horse and found jewels under the saddle. Deciding against his friend’s advice, he returned the jewels to the rightful owner. To show his appreciation, the owner asked the man to take one of the jewels for himself, to which the man said, “No, I returned these jewels without expecting anything in return. Moreover, I have came here with 2 jewels in my hand – honesty and self-respect.” (It was of course told in a more interesting way)

Inspiration and motivation: The Man who moved the Mountain

“How” stories: How the years were named in a Chinese calendar: This is a story you could pass on to your future generation, or to make learning more fun when learning the Chinese horoscope. Here’s one for the Roman calendar.

Unity: Chopsticks: If I recall correctly, it was about a dying father who wanted to his children to learn the importance of staying united, so he asked them to break one chopstick, then a few, then a whole bunch. I’m sure most of you already know this story 😉

Kindness, faith and perseverance: The Sword of the Wood: About a poor man who finds opportunities in every challenge he faced.

To confront stereotypes: The Good Samaritan.

To give hope and encouragement: Personal or true stories are good to comfort and inspire someone, for example, the story of William Kamkwamba and his windmill (The Boy who Harnessed the Wind) or Vaishali Kiran Grover, who discovered a biodegradable enzyme treatment using papaya and pineapple, a better alternative to the usual anti-fouling paint that was commonly to get rid of barnacles that attach themselves to the hulls of ships.

Team work and to add general knowledge: Why geese fly in a ‘V’ formation, and the Moso Bamboo tree story. The moso is a bamboo plant that grows in China and the Far East.  After the moso is planted, no visible growth occurs for up to five years – even in ideal conditions. Then as if by magic, it suddenly begins growing at the rate of nearly 2 ½ feet a day, reaching a full height of 92 feet in six weeks. It’s not magic. The moso’s rapid growth is due to the miles of roots it develops during those first five years; it has to build a strong root system; i.e. If you want to succeed, you got to first lay a strong foundation for yourself/be well-prepared.

To explain natural phenomena to explain natural phenomena: Pourquoi tales. For example: How the leopard got its spots; Why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears.

Hope some of these are useful to you, or will be useful to you one day 😉

The Musical Fart

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I read this real-life (I think?) story from a friend’s Facebook (FB) post, and it really made my day. And I hope it’d brighten your day too 🙂

“I was in Starbucks recently when I suddenly realized I desperately needed to fart. The music was really, really loud so I timed my fart with the beat of the music. After a couple of songs I started to feel better. I finished my coffee and noticed that everyone was staring at me! And suddenly I remembered I was listening to my ipod…”

I shared this story with some of my friends just to make them smile. And they did! You and I know a smile can do wonders right 😉

Moral of the story? Don’t fart in public! Haha!

Go on, make someone smile or laugh today! 🙂


911 – The 10th Anniversary

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I’m sure we can all remember September 911. I thought of sharing what I found on FB with all of you. These are stories to be shared with everyone. Forever. As they teach us about how fragile life is and how adversity can strengthen/change us.

Of all the 4 videos that I saw, this story touched my heart deeply as it reminds me again how important it is for us to treasure our loved ones. Always tell them we love them. Show them how much they mean to us through our words and actions.

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 35,000 interviews from more than 70,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. For more information on what they do, click here.