A Story for Bear

This month’s read aloud is A Story for Bear by Dennis Hasely, a tender tale about a bear who becomes mesmerized by the sound of a woman’s voice as she reads stories of sailors, goddesses, and far-off lands.I love the title of this book -it reminds us how important it is to take time to find just the right story for someone at different times in their lives.Often parents will ask me for a story recommendation particularly suited to their own child’s problems or concerns- a move, a death, a new sibling, or some squabble in the classroom.

Stories are great practice for life – they can give children a model for coping with loss or betrayal or anger, but they work best, if we feed them to our children BEFORE they actually have to experience the loss or the trauma.

A Story for Bear is a marvelous tribute to the joy and beauty of reading aloud, and it shows us too that stories connect us to one another – to the world around us – to our ancestors and to our descendants, and in this case, to a gentle bear deep in the woods!

“The storytellers go back and back to a clearing in the forest, where a great fire burns and the old shamans dance and sing, for our heritage of stories began in fire, magic, the spirit world.  And that is where it is held today.”   

Doris Lessing, Nobel Lecture, 2007