Last week, I spent the whole week in Tennessee, doing professional development seminars across the state. I was hired by the Tennessee State of School Librarians and it was wonderful. I did “Handmade Tales” in the morning and “Kamishibai Story Theater” in the afternoon. My host, Allison Roberts, drove me all over the gorgeous state of Tennessee. I saw the Smokies, the Appalachian mountains, the plateau, and all the beautiful greenery across the state. We started in Greenevillle, went to Athens, traveled to Murfreesboro, and then ended in Jackson. Unfortunately, I was so tired after my full day of workshops that I neglected to take pictures during our drives.
In Greeneville, our host was Mitchell, the librarian of Greeneville High School. He was so kind and helpful! Thank you, Mitchell!
All the workshops began with a creativity exercise in which the workshop participants had to create a self-portrait on a paper plate using items from their pocketbooks (Yes, Allison, I learned to use the word “pocketbook” LOL).
And look at this one… how cute!
Then I began with the draw and tell story of Catching a Pest in 7 Steps. It’s a fun story that uses the numbers 1-7 to create the picture.
Another draw and tell story followed: The Emperor’s Dragon, a story to represent the country of China. It’s such a cool story with great visuals. I know the librarians will be using this story in school!
I even showed a story from my new book, A is for Alligator: Draw and Tell Tales from A-Z.
They learned the cut and tell story of “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat.”
Then I showed them some extras that were not in the handout: Russian nesting dolls made of paper and a “cootie catcher” magic story starter. I showed them how to fold towels to create an ugly duckling and a beautiful swan. So adorable!
They learned the cut and tell story of “Papa’s Teepee,” which by the end of the story, turns a coffee filter into a snowflake. Then I have all the librarians stand up and create a snow blizzard. Mega cool! 🙂
They learned how to make a star with a single snip of the scissors.
Then it was time for “Bandana Man,” one of my most popular Handmade Tales. Workshop participants turn bandanas into cute little figures. The story is a riff of the classic “Gingerbread Man.”
They learned a string story, “The Stubborn Turnip,” which has a cool magic trick in it that always wows an audience. It is the most challenging of the Handmade Tales but once you learn the one move, it’s a cinch and always garners the “Oooh and Aaah” factor!
In the afternoon, I taught them the Kamishibai story theater process.
The group was assigned a story from Asia. The story was divided amongst the participants in the group and they had to illustrate their portion of the story. In Greeneville, they performed “The Battle Between Wind and Rain,” a story from the Philippines.
In Athens, Murfreesboro, and Jackson, they performed “The Mouse’s Wedding,” a tale from Japan. And the artwork was stunning! Here are some Kamishibai cards from different venues in order of their story sequence.
Father Mouse wants his daughter, Sachiko, to marry the mightiest creature in the world, not Makoto, a poor pauper of a mouse.
So Father Mouse sees Mr. Sun, whom he thinks is the mightiest creature in the world.
Mr. Sun says he is flattered but Cloud must be the mightiest because Cloud covers Sun.
So Father Mouse sees Mr. Cloud, who must be the mightiest creature in the world. Mr. Cloud says he is flattered but Wind must be the mightiest because Wind blows Cloud across the sky.
So Father Mouse sees Mr. Wind, who must be the mightiest creature in the world. Mr. Wind says he is flattered but Wall must be the mightiest because Wall stops Wind dead in his tracks.
Finally, Father Mouse talks to Mr. Wall.
Mr. Wall tells him that the mightiest creature is the one who chews a hole through him… that is the mouse!
So Father Mouse gives his daughter, Sachiko, permission to marry, Makoto, a mere mouse. Oshimai. The End.
In Jackson, we even had time to make the cool accordion dragon puppet from my book, There’s a Dragon in the Library.
It was a fabulous week!! Thank you to all the librarians who came to the workshops. Thank you to our wonderful hosts: Mitchell in Greeneville, Beth in Athens (who treated me to a star dinner at her incredible house, where I stayed the night before), Dolores in Murfreesboro, and Tina in Jackson. Finally, a big thank you and hug to Allison Roberts, my hostess with the mostest. We had great (though hot) weather and perfect travel conditions (no traffic!) all the way through. It must have been her good “mojo!” 🙂 She kept me fed (with chocolate) and watered (with Diet Coke). What more can a girl ask for?
I feel like I really know Tennessee now. What a BEAUTIFUL state! I can’t wait to return!
Until next time…