I’ve shared community meals and public bus rides with South American puppeteers to bring magic to children in remote villages of Argentina in the Festival Internationál de Títeres para Niños Campesinos. I got to swim in the Strait of Hormuz on a brief break in a Teacher Training Center tour presenting puppetry workshops for the Ministry of Education of the Sultanate of Oman. And on a train to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a stranger told me stories of their ancient puppet heroes during a US. Embassy English Language Specialist teaching tour. There is nothing like travel for opening the windows and doors of the mind!
Back home in New Orleans, Louisiana, close contact with the vivid imagination of children inspires me. I have learned and created along with third grade students making stop motion animations, led first graders to write and illustrate their very first book, and engaged children of all ages in self expression through puppets.
But I never have enough time sequestered in my studio to write and illustrate. I feel responsible to make accessible to teachers the effective arts integration techniques and projects that I have developed in countless classroom hours in a diverse array of schools. So I write for teachers.
And, I have endless stories of my own to bring to life now, as books for children. I work with both words and pictures to share them.
So I tour the world both with and without my hand made puppets – both as a performer and as an arts integration specialist through puppetry – either presenting stories, or helping and encouraging others to present their stories. And I work as artist in residence in schools that value the arts as integral to education.
Stories have always been, and always will be, a world wide connection among people. Stories matter, no matter how they’re told.