Next show is:

Friday, October 22, 7:30pm
Traveling Home: Stories and Songs
Roy Street Coffee & Tea
700 Broadway E (Capitol Hill)

See the poster below for program details!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Traveling Home - October 22 and November 6

Nothing changes your notions of home more than getting away from it. Avery shares stories of her own travels, as well as traditional folk tales about the lessons travelers learn. Interspersed with original songs she wrote on her travels, Avery’s stories will lead you on a delightful journey!

Friday, Oct. 22 - Roy St Coffee & Tea (700 Broadway E, Seattle)
Saturday, Nov. 6 - Couth Buzzard (8310 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle)
Both shows start at 7:30pm, and they are both FREE!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fall line-up

I've started booking for the fall, and here's what I've got so far for your calendars:

Saturday, September 11, 7:00pm
IslandBooks: "Back-to-school!"
3014 78th Avenue Southeast
Mercer Island, WA

Join me for some unconventional lessons with stories about two quarreling brothers, a young man who learns the oddest of languages, and the first man's first lesson.

Saturday, October 2
3rd Annual NW Conference on Teaching for Social Justice
Portland, OR

I'll be presenting a workshop with two colleagues called "Storytelling in the Classroom: Voices for the Voiceless".

Friday, October 22, 7:30pm
Roy Street Coffee and Tea
700 Broadway E, Seattle (Capitol Hill)

Show theme TBD. Any suggestions? Free admission. Donations of $10 or more get you a free CD. Come check it out!

Saturday, November 6, 7:30pm
The Couth Buzzard
8310 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle

Show theme TBD. Any suggestions? Free admission. Donations of $10 or more get you a free CD. Come check it out!

Interested in booking? Always looking for new contacts and connections. Feel free to email me at: Thanks - hope to hear from you soon!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Story making

While drawing with a four-year-old girl I'll call Nikki, she commented on how much she liked a bird I drew. I thanked and said I think she would make a great hero in a story. "What kind of story do you think she could be in?" Through our ensuing conversation, the following story emerged:

Once upon a time, there were three princesses. They were walking in the forest one day, when they got stuck in the mud. Then a mama bird came and she grabbed one of the legs and pulled it out with her beak! She did it for all of them so they could all walk again. Then, they all turned into baby birds and the mommy bird brought them food. Yummy worms!

There was a bad guy who got stuck in the mud. Mama Bird pulled out his leg and ate his leg up. Because he was bad to her. He hit her.

Then the three princesses went back to the castle and became princesses again.

Nikki draws and writes her story. The mama bird's nest is pictured on the left, the three princesses and a smaller nest on the right. The little blue bird on the right-hand picture is the bird I drew. She asked me to cut it out and then she taped it onto the nest she had drawn.

I marvel, again and again, at the human capacity to make stories of anything: a picture, an image in our minds, a feeling, an experience. People say, "Even four-year-olds can do it!" but I find that so diminuitive. Because really, four-year-olds are some of the best story makers I've ever met, far better than I could ever imagine myself to be as an adult.

I'm making all these observations while concurrently reading several books about storytelling, story making, and how inherent narrative is to how our brains function. I'm working on a few posts that relate to each of these books, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Family Storytelling, Week 2

Family Storytelling continues ... This week, we saw a few of the same kids from last week, and a whole gaggle of new folks.

We started by remembering the story of Coyote's Whiskers from last week, with the help of the drawings each of the kids made. It was such a joy to hear those who knew the story take over the role of storyteller as they related the tale to those who hadn't heard it.

Then came the new story of the week, a tale from Africa, made popular in this country by Pete Seeger and his banjo:


Now, as you can see, there is a book for this story, unlike Coyote's Whiskers. As you will see, though, this did not hinder the children's image-making once they set to their drawing.

But first, the telling! It is a wonderful story-song, in that the teller can fade in between singing and telling pretty easily, and the music provides a lovely backdrop anytime in the story. I'm working on a recording of the story, complete with illustrations by the kids, which I'll share here soon, but the gist of the story is as follows: a village throws out a magician and his ukulele-playing son for making too much magic in the town, only to be saved by them when a large giant threatens to eat up everyone and their animals. The little boy placates the giant with a pleasant little song about him: "Abiyoyo ... Abiyoyo ... Abiyoyo ..." The giant begins to dance faster and faster until he falls to the ground and the boy's father makes him disappear.

My favorite part of the day was when the story was over, and I started asking questions that the story didn't answer: What do you think Abiyoyo looked like? What kind of village do you see in your mind? What were the father and his son wearing? A flurry of voices answered all of my questions and more before everyone took their images to paper, along with a few I shared in the story.

The artists get to work - One holds up a finished product proudly: Abiyoyo's hand! "He's so big, only his hand fits on the paper!"

And now, the rest of the gallery:

Stay tuned for a "story video", in which I lay a slide show of this and more children's art over an audio recording of the story of Abiyoyo.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Family Storytelling Party!

I am so very excited to be involved with Atlantic Street Center, thinking about programs and projects to collaborate on together. Our pilot project this summer is a Family Storytelling Party, the first of which was held today (you can join us next week!). Here are some photos from the very successful event!

The premise: Supporting general literacy skills in communities of recent immigrants, whose children attend local elementary schools

The Very Hungry Caterpillar with a sock puppet that eats through one apple, two pears, three plums, four strawberries, five oranges ... goodness gracious!

Three little mice creep up, one by one, on Coyote in "Coyote's Whiskers".

ART TIME! Taking the images in our minds of "Coyote's Whiskers" and putting them to paper.

It was inspiring to see everyone's different images. One girl (upper right photo) even made a kind of storyboard for it. It looks like we'll be able to make a picture book of them as a way of remembering the story for next time.

I've enjoyed the stimulation this project has provided my thinking about connecting storytelling with literacy development. Though storytelling and literacy are two different things (oral v. written/printed word), there are so many ways they can support each other, and can support children together. This project has been a great way to understand that better through my experiences and the reactions of the kids.

We've got some things to think over for next week, but all in all, it was a success. We will see what next week brings! Hope you can come!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Folklife Festival Storytelling

Come one, come all, and gather yourself around this fire
For I have some tales to spin
To frighten, to comfort, to excite, and to inspire...

Four solid days of Folklife ... wow, that's a lot of activity. The Folklife Festival is a Memorial Day Weekend tradition in Seattle, and each year, it seems to get better. This was where I first came across the Seattle Storytellers Guild: at the Monday story swap, I believe it was. Who would have thought that two years later, I'd be featured in the Saturday night Ghost Stories Showcase ... their most attended event!

The two stories I prepared actually were not about ghosts, per se, so I started off with the classic tune of "Ghost Riders in the Sky", which everyone sang along with...

An old cowpoke went riding out one dark and windy day Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw Yippee-yi-yay! Yippee-yi-yo! Ghost riders in the sky!

Then I transitioned into "The one you don't see coming", a tale from West Africa that I learned from the very first storyteller I ever met, a guy named Ralph...

There is a village deep in the jungles of West Africa
where the old warriors gather at night around the campfire
and tell stories about The One You Don't See Coming.
A fickle and cunning prey it is,
for not only can you not see it coming,
you cannot smell it
you cannot hear it!
Indeed, you cannot catch The One You Don't See Coming,
because it always catches you first!

Finally, I closed it out with "The Uwabami", a Japanese story from Cathy Spagnoli's collection of Asian Trickster Tales. The uwabami is an evil trickster python that gets tricked, himself, by a small schoolboy on his way home to nurse his mother back to health ...

Kusaku had to think quickly.
"How do you know I am a human? I could be like you
- a trickster -
in human form.
Indeed, I am the great trickster Fox!"

It was a fabulous evening, and I enjoyed hearing the other tellers of the showcase: the Baltuck-Garrard Family Tellers, Anne Rutherford, and Robert Rubinstein. No wonder folks keep coming back to this event.

Thanks to Christen for the photos!
(I always forget to ask someone to take some)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Storytelling!

Here are my summer performance dates for 2010. All events are free, unless noted. Hope to see you out there!

Saturday, May 29 - Folklife Festival (Seattle)
"Ghost Stories" - 6:45pm in the Center House Theatre

Thursday, June 10 - 7:00pm - "When are you going to grow up?"
Seattle Storytellers Guild's Tales for a Thursday Evening
Haller Lake Community Club
12579 Densmore Ave. N., Seattle, 98133

Thursday, July 1 - 7:00pm - "Trickster Tales"
IslandBooks Pajama Storytime
3014 78th Ave. SE Mercer Island, WA 98040

Tuesday, July 13 - 11:00am - "Family Storytelling Party"
Atlantic Street Center at New Holly
7050 32nd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118

Tuesday, July 20 - 6:00pm - "Family Storytelling Party"
Atlantic Street Center at New Holly
7050 32nd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118

Saturday, July 24 - 1:00pm - "Trickster Tales"
Kitefest 2010, presented by the Model Family Mentorship Program
Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way, Seattle, WA. 98115
(Enter the park at 65th & Sand Point Way)

Check back soon for more dates that will be added in the interim!