Local News

Storytellers Keep Ancient Art Alive

Posted September 28, 2000

— The hills are alive with the sound of stories this weekend. Wake County Public Libraries is holding their annualStoryteller's Festivalon the hills of Historic Oakview County Park.

Every storyteller has a story to tell about the time the "story bug" bit them. Ron Jones works for the State Library System as a consultant for youth services.

"I really did see the power that storytelling can have," he says. "Getting children excited and interested in reading and developing creativity in a child and helping them with their listening skills."

Donna Washington has published some of her own children's stories. For her, the writing will never replace the storytelling.

"I wouldn't trade what I do for anything in the world," she says. "It's the most amazing job to have. I travel around, and to have people ask you to tell stories -- it's fabulous."

"I've always kept my fingers in storytelling, and I'm about to make a big transition," Jones says. "In December, I'll be leaving my job to pursue writing full-time and storytelling."

Washington and Jones made this art-form their lives' work. Both say it should be a talent every adult who loves children should practice.

"When you're reading a book, the child is focused on the book, but when you're telling a story they're focused on you," Washington says.

"Children love to watch you tell a story," she says. "If you can stick them in there, that's even better, because children love to hear a story about themselves."

The Storytelling Festival continues Saturday at Historic Oakview County Park from noon until 5 p.m. The park is in Raleigh at the intersection of the Beltline and Poole Road.

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