The importance of Storytelling
My book journey started way back, when I was a scrappy little cross-eyed kid with a wild imagination that would scare off most of the other kids. Every night, before bed, my parents would take it in turns to tell me stories. Their methods of storytelling were completely different from each other, but both were brilliant.
My dad would tell me stories from his own childhood, out of his own memory. He would use the same 5 or 10 stories that he would pick out on request, use all the actions and voices, and inevitably with each retelling the story was slightly different. Sometimes more exaggerated, sometimes involved different people and sometimes blended with another story entirely. I loved them all the same and would request my favourites.
My Mum always pulled out a magical book that had a story for each day of the year. Some were themed with the seasons, there were long stories that went on for pages, poems, short songs, it had everything. It was exciting to turn the page to see what we were reading that night and to hear her gentle voice guiding me to sleep.
I still have that book today. It has lasted nearly 40 years or more and sits on the shelf in its faded lilac cloth binding with wonderful vintage illustrations inside. I look at it and it reminds me why stories are so important.
These nights of sharing stories with my parents gave me so much. Not only were they a time when I could have some quiet time with each of them but through Dad I learnt the power of imagination, and from Mum I learnt the power of reading.
I wanted to learn more. I wanted to discover more. I wanted to listen, read and create, and I have never stopped.
I guess that is why I have ended up working with books. Having owned a children’s bookshop and working now as a school librarian I get to inspire a new generation with a love of stories.
I hope that by continuing to develop my illustration and writing skills I will be able to create some stories to inspire them to.
In short, never underestimate the power of a book or sharing a bedtime story. I treasure these memories. They can shape a child’s life.