I first fell in love with stories before I could read or write…how?
I LISTENED to them on the BBC radio during the Children’s Story Hour. After our “tea” (that’s what we Scots called our dinner), my two big brothers and I would crouch in front of the radio and listen to an amazing array of actors and actresses telling stories. And so I fell in love with language, with the music of it, with the power of words, with the magical way that words can paint pictures in your mind. Perhaps that is why, decades later, that, as an author, I am drawn to the picture book genre.
And so, in our current fast paced digital culture that offers a daily barrage of sensory stimuli, I think it is crucial to nurture the art of LISTENING in our children – big and little! That is why I wanted to offer a simple read aloud (audio only version) for parents and children. This is an opportunity for mum, dad, grandma, granddad, or teacher to cuddle up with a little one, close your eyes and LISTEN.
As I tell children all the time, LISTENING – REAL LISTENING, does not just involve our ears…it involves our hearts and minds and souls – after all that is where creativity comes from, not just one’s mind, but one’s heart and soul too. As W.B. Yeats says in one of my favorite poems, THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE,
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
When we listen – REALLY LISTEN – we will be able to hear the words of the story in our deep heart’s core. And to make our world a better place, surely that is where we must begin – by feeding our children’s hearts. GOOD STORIES = GOOD LIVES.
There are no activity guides to accompany these audio-only readalouds. LISTENING is the only activity. If you want, after listening, you can always invite your young listener to draw or paint pictures of the images the story planted in their hearts. You could also participate and share your own images and later, you could even compare your pictures to the ones in the picture book. Most of these can be found at your local library.