Hearing a story told can be quite a different experience than having it read to you. Without any sense that one form is superior to the other, there’s something different about a story that’s adapted as it’s told, sometimes shifting emphasis to make a point, other times responding in the moment to the audience. Sure, mistakes abound (How does one suddenly add two heartbeats or momentarily forget a name?). At the same time, on a good day the immediacy of the telling can be magical.

These are some of the stories that have been shared at our Junior School. I offer a special word of thanks to Lucky Budd for capturing them.


If you want to remind yourself about the role of possibility and the value of creative thought in the toughest of circumstances, try The Faery’s Gift by Tanya Robyn Batt.

If you’re looking for something that speaks to when our single-mindedness blinds us to what’s important and we find ourselves needing to repair the damage, listen to The Busy Beaver by Nicholas Oldland.

If you seem to be having trouble disconnecting from your tech, When Charlie McButton Lost Power by Suzanne Collins might help you unplug and spend time with those you love. In order to preserve the wonderful rhyme scheme, this story was read rather than told.

If you find yourself doubting the intentions of others, Twenty Heartbeats by Dennis Haseley might help you rethink your approach and reframe your relationship.

If you’re looking at the powerful people around you and wonder what difference you can make, take a few minutes longer than usual to listen to Bloom by Doreen Cronin. For such a young audience, I told it in three sections, which Lucky edited into a single piece.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your task list or by an adversary, Fu Finds the Way by John Rocco underscores the impact of our preparation for challenging moments, whether mundane or extraordinary.

Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna

Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds

The Elephant’s Child by Van Gool

Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems

Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat by Jennifer Armstrong

The Cello of Mr O. by Jane Cutler

Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Schwartz

Winnie the Pooh (and the North Pole) by A. A. Milne

The Empty Pot by Demi

After the Fall by Dan Santat