The Great Kapok Tree

In April at the library in Sant Pol de Mar I told the story of The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry.

It is a tale of the Amazon rain forest and before I opened the book I got the children to lie down and listen to the sounds of the rain forest that I had brought with me on a cd. I then sent them off individually to look for the animals I had posted up around the space. They had a great time searching up high for the animals that would be found in the canopy like the toucan and the sloth and the animals from the middle layer, under canopy; like the butterflies and the iguana and the animals from the understory, shrub layer; like the anteater and the tapir. I think it was the best activity of the year and wonderfull illustrations from the book also make it one of my favourite books from the year.

For some great colour flashcards have a look here at the teaching resources at Sparklebox and here is my handout THE KAPOK TREE with a wordsearch, an illustration of the rain forest and a explorers check list.


Stories for 9-12 year olds

Please find below a selection of stories available for Story Time for children aged between 9 and 12.


Jim and the Beanstalk

Themes: Fractured fairy tales, helping the aged and measuring.

Story Description: Jim woke up early one morning to find a plant that was very like a beanstalk growing outside his window. Climbing to the top of the beanstalk, he found a castle and a giant, but with very modern problems that only Jim could help solve.


Snow White in New York

Themes: Fractured fairy tales, Art Deco and Jazz.

Story Description: Pulsating with the rhythm and vibrancy of the Jazz Age, set in New York City in the 1920s. The story may be familiar, but the cast of characters will surprise you. Snow White is a beautiful jazz baby, protected by seven hot jazzmen. Instead of a wicked stepmother, her arch-enemy is the Queen of the Underworld. And her Prince Charming is a crack reporter from the “The New York Mirror”.


Rumpelstilstskin & Rapunzel

Themes: Tracing traditional tales and Italian Renaissance painting.

Rumpelstilstskin Story Description: The funny little man who spun straw into gold and helped the beautiful miller’s daughter marry the king gives her three days to guess his name or he will take away her child.

Rapunzel Story Description:  Trapped in a tower with no door, Rapunzel is allowed to see no one but the sorceress who has imprisoned her-until the day a young prince hears her singing.


The Thousand Nights and One Night

Themes: The storyteller and literary techniques.

Story Description: Welcome to an ancient world of enchantment and adventure where animals talk, genies grant wishes and sorcerers and sultans rub shoulders with men. Retellings based on the original nineteenth-century English translation by Sir Richard Burton.


Poetry Workshop

Using poetry in the classroom is a great way to teach English. Poems are often rich in cultural references, and they present a wide range of learning opportunities. This workshop concentrates on communicative speaking activities and pronunciation.

Stories for 6-9 year olds

Please find below a selection of stories available for Story Time for children aged between 6 and 9.


The Gigantic Turnip

Themes: Growing vegetables and weather

Story Description: A counting book, an animal book, and a book of the seasons all rolled into the one cyclical narrative.

Stone Soup

Themes: Sharing and food.

Story Description: Stone Soup is a popular folktale in many countries that has been told for centuries. I use a version of Stone Soup which is an imaginatively creative story with colourfully descriptive pictures that bring the plot about sharing to life.

Lazy Jack

Themes: Jobs and places of work.

Story Description: A mournful princess sits at her castle window. Meanwhile, Jack (probably the laziest person in the world) is sent out to work by his mother. On his first day he is paid a shiny coin, but he drops it on the way home. “You should have put it in your jacket pocket!” cries his mother. So the next day, having worked for a dairyman, he pours the jug of milk he is given in payment into his jacket pocket! In fact, he always follows his mother’s most recent advice when bringing home his day’s earnings: it results in the most ridiculous scenarios.

New Patches for Old

Themes: Kindness and clothes

Story Description: A traditional Turkish folktale. Poor Hasan! His trousers are too long and it seems that nobody will help him to shorten them. What will he wear on the holiday?

The Little Red Hen Makes Pizza

Themes: Kindness, cooking and ingredients.

Story Description: A spirited and quirky remake of the classic tale, about an industrious hen and the rewards of her hard work and self-reliance. Children will enjoy following the process of making a pizza as the Little Red Hen–who can get no help from the duck, the dog, or the cat–buys an appropriate pan, kneads the dough, cuts and chops vegetables (and other stuff) for a fabulous topping, and bakes a giant pizza.

The Magic Paintbrush

Themes: Selfishness and sharing

Story Description: As Shen draws pictures in the sand, a mysterious man gives her a magic paintbrush. She paints, fish, pots and ladders and watches them come to life for the poor people in her village. But when the emperor hears of this, how can Shen outwit his greedy plans?

Stories for 3-5 year olds.

Please find below a selection of stories available for Story Time for children aged between 3-5.

The Fat Cat: A Danish Tale

Themes: Friendship.

Story Description: A Danish folktale about a greedy cat who lives with a mouse and grows enormous as he eats everything in sight.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Themes: Animals and colours.

Story Description:A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck– all parade across the pages of this delightful book. Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle’s flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin’s singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Themes: Nature and food.

Story Description:Eric Carle’s classic tale teaches children about numbers, days of the week and time as the newly hatched caterpillar munches his way through the pages.

We Are Going on a Bear Hunt

Themes: Nature and weather.

Story Description: Follow the family’s excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of the bear.

World Storytelling Day

Conte en anglés a la biblioteca

World Storytelling Day: 19 de març, 18h00
Narradora nativa anglesa: Serena Worsdell
Lloc: Biblioteca Pare Fidel Fita, Carrer Bonaire, 2,
Arenys de Mar.  Telèfon: 937 923 253.  Gratis.

I went to the market …

This is a video from a Story Time I did at CEIP Sant Salvador in Cercs near Berga. During this term I have been to all corners of Catalunya as part of Pla d’impuls a la llengua anglesa by the Department of Education. I have been to Rubí, Reus, Barcelona, Tivissa and Arenys de Mar. Thanks to all the teachers for their help and their English students for being great audiences. After the Easter holidays I’m going to be visiting schools in Girona, Lleida and El Prat Llobregat .

Autumn Colours

look_low_resolution21When I was planning my art work for the storytelling project I was very certain that I wanted a tree to feature in the picture and Pedro Rodriguez has drawn a beautiful illustration with children sitting under the tree and fairy tale folk sitting in the tree both listening to the storyteller. Since moving out to Sant Pol in 2001 walking has become a great pastime of mine and the countryside where I walk a great inspiration.


As a family we have been walking since September 2007. We walk with a group which organises guided walks in our local national park, Parc del Montnegre i el Corredor. It’s a hobby which we all love and we look forward to our weekends with an added enthusiasm. Each and every walk is completely unique and I am constantly surprised at the end of the walk of what we have done or seen. I also love the moments I have, where my mind wanders and  I think about all the folk and fairy tales that have their roots in the forest.


This autumn Natura and ADF, two other groups, which are involved in rambling and the environment, were running a course on identifying trees. We thought it would be a great opportunity to further our arboreal knowledge and visit other national parks in our region so we signed up. We went out in 4×4 on three spectacular days to Parc Natural del Cadí-Moixerò, Parc del Castell de Montesquiu and Parc del Montnegre i el Corredor. We had a great time, the forest was particularly beautiful with its changing colours and hopefully now we can identify the beech tree from the birch and the ash from the alder.


Here are two great websites; The Spirit of Trees is a resource for therapists, educators, environmentalists, storytellers and tree lovers. You will find here an abundance of resources, in particular a varied collection of multicultural folktales and myths. Featured is an Estonian folktale Mikku and the Trees retold by Margaret Read MacDonald, which introduces children to the different trees of the forest and environmental issues.

Trees, mystical World Wide Web, offers an a to z tree mythology and an explanation of where the expression “touch wood” comes from and talks about the world tree know amongst Scandinavian nations as the “Ash Yggdrasil”.



All the photos taken on this blog were taken by myself in the national parks mentioned above.