There’s something new for school age kids to do after school on Thursdays at the Menlo Park library. Resident tale spinner John Weaver will be holding forth every Thursday afternoon at 4:00 pm beginning October 31. And yes, the theme will be Halloween at that first story telling session.
John tells spellbinding tales— all told without a book. “I practice the traditional art of story telling, sharing tales verbally the way it was done before there were books,” he explains. “In contrast, story time is about reading and sharing books and singing songs.”
John says his story telling evolved when he first started reading to his then young child. He went on to enter a story telling contest sponsored by an East Bay library and won. “That was about 15 years ago,” he says. “So I started hiring myself out as a story teller.”
He uses neither costumes nor props when weaving his tales. “My stool is a kind of prop,” he says. “It turns into whatever it needs to be based on the story.”
John started filling in at the Menlo Park Library story times in the summer of 2012. ”I was back for several more fill-ins and special events in the months that followed, and I started as an official library employee this past January. My initial projects, in addition to Thursday story times, included helping to plan and implement both the children’s and adult’s summer reading program.
Now add “story telling” to John’s duties. “I love getting kids to ask parents to check out books,” he says. “I love getting families engaged. Story telling leads to book reading and that leads to family togetherness and literacy.”
Photo of John Weaver telling a story courtesy of the story teller