December 31, 2011

2011: A Look Back

I’m starting off 2012 with a look back at 2011:

Having just returned from Hawaii, where I performed at the Honolulu Aquarium & the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, I kicked off 2011 with a weekend of professional development at the Asilomar Reading Conference in Monterey County.  A new year of storytimes for toddlers, preschoolers & family groups begins at the Livermore Public Library; I marked my first performance of 2011 at Children’s Fairyland; and I did some classroom storytelling in San Francisco.

More storytime fun in Livermore, including a few Baby Storytimes, which are always a sweet change of pace.  I had the pleasure of sharing more stories on the Emerald City Stage at Children’s Fairyland, and I also got to perform at a couple of my favorite events—Family Reading Nights—at elementary schools in Brentwood & Fremont.

I began a series of performances at branches of the San José Public Library, and I also got to perform twice for the Sunnyvale Library: once on my own, and once as a part of its annual storytelling festival.  More library fun: I got to do my thing in San Leandro, and of course there were the ongoing storytimes in Livermore.  There were also storytelling sessions at preschools in Milpitas, Palo Alto & Santa Clara; another trip to Children’s Fairyland; and I visited Livermore elementary schools to tell students about the library’s summer reading programs.

Summer is always my favorite time of the year—and not just because I thrive on the warm weather & long days—it’s Summer Reading season!  At the Livermore Public Library, I get to shake up my regular routine by presenting School-Age Storytimes (as well as the evening Family Storytimes I love), AND I book & present a season of very special family programs.  This year, I also made time for a nice variety of storytelling appearances: preschools & school-age groups in Alameda, Danville, & Lafayette; a gym daycare; a Girl Scout Day Camp in the East Bay hills; another San José Library; and my first storytelling trip to Palo Alto’s famous Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital!  And yes, I was even able to fit in a weekend at my beloved Children’s Fairyland.

The end of the Summer Reading Program is always a huge letdown for me, but this year I had something big to look forward to: a trip to Asia to attend the Singapore International Storytelling Festival & Asian Congress of Storytellers! Professional & personal development time, as I was exposed to hundreds of teachers, storytellers & other early childhood professionals & volunteers from throughout the region & also far-flung locations including Australia, Spain & the U.S.  The seminars were very much like teachers’ conferences I’ve attended over the years right here at home, as were many of the concerns & questions brought up by the attendees.  The festival portion of the event included one of the most amazing storytelling performances I’ve ever seen: the epic Indian tale of the Ramayana, told by six very different tellers.  So glad I finally made it to this big event; hope to be finding myself back!  I also took a lot of time to explore as much of Singapore as I could, and took advantage of a Hong Kong layover on the way home to explore that island for a couple of days—and even briefly took in the local Disneyland.  This was a fitting end to a trip that in fact did reinforce that people are so much the same—it’s a small world, after all.   Within a couple of days of my return, I was back to storytimes in Livermore!

Another first-time event for me: storytelling at a mall! I also conducted a course in classroom storytelling for preschool & elementary school teachers, and shared stories for families at an Oakland preschool’s Halloween party.  Of course, I also did my thing at Children’s Fairyland & the Livermore Library!

Winding down the year with classroom storytelling in Pleasanton & San Jose, a final pair of events for Children’s Fairyland (the second a special performance for the park’s annual “Fairy Winterland” celebration), and the last storytimes of 2011 at the Livermore Public Library!

So what’s ahead for 2012?  January kicks off with another round of professional development in Asilomar, another visit to Children’s Fairyland, and a new year of library storytimes in Livermore.  Beyond that?  Stay with me & find out!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you much health & happiness in 2012.

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