Welcome! This is my first blog entry, and I appreciate you taking the time to read what I have to say. I am looking forward to blogging about subjects I do not cover in the educational newsletter I publish six times a year for teachers, librarians, parents and storytellers. As I blog, I will reflect on some of the day-to-day events, ideas, projects and travel that have become part of my work. I hope you will be a regular visitor, and that you will be inspired to leave comments or ask questions To send a message to me, just click on the word “comments” located in the grey bar at the end of this blog entry, and place your remarks in the comment box when it appears. I promise to respond promptly. I respect your privacy, and will never share your information.  

Since the recession began, my work as a storyteller has changed quite a bit. With schools and libraries having smaller budgets, my bookings now include more family reunion shows, teaching storytelling to adults, entertaining senior citizens, telling historic stories and sharing folk tales in bookstores. All this is happening as I continue to dream about taking another summer tour across the country. 

Have you ever been so excited about a project or idea that you simply can’t let it go? Well this is what’s been going on with me for the last two years. I’d like to share this dream with you, but first let me tell you about how Squirrely Shirley, a simple little squirrel puppet, became the star of a summer library show. 

In 2010, the national library theme for most of the libraries in the U.S. was “Make a Splash at the Library,” so I decided that pool and water safety would be a good complement to that theme. I selected a squirrel puppet to be part of the show and went to work writing the script for “Squirrely Shirley Makes Waves.” The idea was to have the kids in the audience tell the squirrel what she needed to do to be safe around water. We rehearsed and started on our tour through Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Montana and on to Pennsylvania. After our first performance in Oro Valley, Arizona, I knew we had a hit on our hands. The audience loved Squirrely Shirley, and before we knew it she had fans following her from library to library! The kids loved her, and identified with her child-like antics. Shirley had a paw hand stamp in her tree trunk, and offered to give “autographs” at the end of the show – a move that proved to be a wildly popular way to conclude each performance. The rest, they say, is history. We had a fantastic time with the show that summer.  

I’ll tell you a more about this dream and the Squirrely Shirley adventure in my next entry.