December 29, 2012

2012: A Look Back

I’m starting off 2013 with a look back at 2012:

The year started for me with a weekend of storytelling at one of my favorite places to perform: Children’s Fairyland!  I also began a new year of storytimes for toddlers, preschoolers & families at the Livermore Public Library; spent a weekend of professional development at the Asilomar Reading Conference in Monterey County; and did some classroom storytelling in Sunnyvale & Pleasanton.

January at Children's Fairyland

More storytime fun in Livermore, plus school storytelling in Fremont, Hayward, Livermore & Brentwood.  I also got to pay a storytelling visit to the Sunnyvale Library—an opportunity I always welcome!

Storytelling at the Sunnyvale Library

I got to return to the Sunnyvale Library, this time as one of the tellers in its annual Storytelling Festival!  I also shared stories with the patients & their families at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and visited schools in Palo Alto, Fremont, Newark & Alamo to share some storytelling fun.  And of course: my ongoing storytimes in Livermore!

In May, I had a very unique experience: I was the stage announcer for the Augmented Reality Event in Santa Clara, California, “the first global conference dedicated to advancing the business of augmented reality.” It was fun to put those announcer skills to work!  I also returned to the Emerald City Stage at Children’s Fairyland, and shared stories at schools in Burlingame & Pleasanton.  In Livermore Library news, in addition to finishing up the spring storytime season, I visited local schools to promote the library’s annual Summer Reading Program.

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—newly-rebranded (by the new Children’s Librarian) as “The Dream Weaver Story Club.”  In addition to storytelling & book reading, we also had games, prizes, and super-cool science experiments!  The evening Family Storytimes I love continued, with the summer swell of people we tend to only see this time of year.), AND I book & present a season of very special family programs: guest storytellers, puppetry, animals and cultural presentations.  
I get to be reptile handler during an animal program at the Livermore Library.

June was a VERY busy month, with a nice variety of storytelling appearances: San Francisco’s Stonestown Galleria;  the Alameda and San Leandro Libraries; a school in San Ramon; a church in San Mateo; and a gym daycare in Pleasanton!  And yes, I was even able to fit in a weekend at my beloved Children’s Fairyland.

My busy weeks at the Livermore Public Library continued, with even more on my storytelling plate!  I started a weekly trek after dark to the Oakland Zoo, where I performed for the lucky families spending the night as a part of the zoo’s “Family Sundown Safari” series of events.  I had run-ins with the local wildlife—non-resident “residents” of the zoo: turkeys, deer, and SKUNKS! 
A scary little up-close encounter one evening at the Oakland Zoo

Another notable event in July was my first trip to the Menlo Park Library, as a storytime substitute (both English & English/Spanish bilingual events).  This was such a success that I’ve spent a lot of time there since!  I was at other libraries this month for storytelling performances: Daly City, Milpitas and Fremont.  As if that weren’t enough, I also shared stories at a school in Morgan Hill, a church in Concord, and a “park day” event in Pleasanton.

Two more sleepover events for the Oakland Zoo, one for Children’s Fairyland (plus a weekend of daytime storytelling there), more storytimes at the Menlo Park library, AND school storytelling in Santa Clara & Danville.  Along with all that, there were the final summer storytimes & special events at the Livermore Library.

The end of the Summer Reading Program is always a huge letdown for me, but I kept busy in September with what I called my “September of Storytimes” at the Menlo Park Library: I was there every Tuesday, sharing storytelling, book-reading & singing for English & Bilingual storytimes!  So much fun.  In addition to that: my regular toddler, preschool & family storytimes resumed at the Livermore Libraries; I performed for the youth at a Berkeley synagogue, and I spent another fun weekend at Children’s Fairyland.

ROAD TRIP!  A special storytelling tour of San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara Counties.  I performed silly & spooky stories at libraries in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Morro Bay, Cayucos, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero & Paso Robles.  I also held a storytelling assembly at a school in Solvang, and shared some silly fun at the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum (a place my son & I spent many fun hours back when he was a “wee little toot”)!  The change of scenery was invigorating, and I met a lot of nice people—including a family who told me they’d seen me perform at one of my Bay Area “homes,” Children’s Fairyland!
On stage, on screen, at the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum

Also in October, I performed for a corporate family party in Palo Alto, and of course was there for my storytimes at the Livermore Library.

A BOOK!  I am a contributing author to the freshly-published work, How to be a Storyteller: Essays and Advice on the Artof Storytelling.  I share my personal views of sharing stories with young audiences & their families in my essay, “How to be a Storyteller for Children.”  The book’s editor has spread the word that the electronic edition of the book “hit #1 in Kindle Performing Arts books, and top 20 in ‘Meetings and Presentations’ and ‘Communication.’”  I’ve also received some feedback from the Children’s Librarian at one of my regular storytelling stops: “I read yours first, great job. Lots of good tips for storytellers who would like to tell to a library family audience.

Also in the last few weeks of the year, I visited a school in Orinda, did the story portion for very fun art/story program at the Menlo Park Library showcasing Ezra Jack Keats’s “A Snowy Day,” and appeared for the final times (for 2012) at my regular perches at the Livermore Library and Children’s Fairyland.

So what’s ahead for 2013?  January kicks off with another round of professional development in Asilomar, another pair of fill-in storytimes at the Menlo Park Library, more storytelling for the Sunnyvale Library, a visit to an Alamo preschool, and a new year of library storytimes in Livermore.  Beyond that?  Stay with me & find out!
Looking forward to the 2013 Asilomar Reading Conference!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you much health & happiness in 2013.

(Want to revisit 2011?  Click here!)


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