Let the wild rumpus start!

My story session at the library in January was inspired by the demons that appear in the nativity story here in Spain. I’m sure that other English people living here also find these extraneous characters especially if you have made a fancy dress costume for your child to wear during the festive season but that is what is so great about different cultures.

So inspired by Spanish demons, I chose for the younger children, in my view the best monster books ever written in English; The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler


and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.


We roared, learned the word for claws and chanted The Gruffalo song. Then we did some colouring and vocabulary.

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For the older children in the second group I told Rama and the Demon King; An Ancient Tale from India. I was so proud of my group who followed the story with such interest and really enjoyed the episodic tale of Rama, Sita and Lakshman who were banished to the forest for fourteen years, fought the demons and were tricked by Ravana, the ten-headed king of all the demons.


The illustrations from Jessica Souhami are wonderful and this is the second book I own of hers the other being Baba Yaga and the Stolen Baby which I told back in February 2012.

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I told the children about the Hindu festival Dussehra  that commemorates the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana marking the victory of good over evil.

Here is a photo of  an Indian artist who rests near his effigies of mythical demon King Ravana. The effigies are burnt on the Hindu festival Dussehra.


Photo from Hürriyet Daily News taken by EPA/JAIPAL SINGH


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.

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot!

It’s been a long time since I celebrated Guy Fawkes Night as I’ve lived in Spain for thirteen years but tonight I enjoyed telling my son all about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. It’s a very exciting story where the conspirators make a deadly plan, a dramatic escape but come to a gruesome end. The Gunpowder, Treason and Plot website makes an excellent resource for telling this historical story.

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night is celebrated annually on 5th November. It commemorates the Gunpowder Plot, which was the conspiracy of English Roman Catholics to blow up Parliament and James I, king of England.

James I of England

Guy Fawkes a British soldier and his conspirators rented a cellar under the House of Lords and stored 36 barrels of gunpowder. But the plot was discovered and Fawkes was arrested. Tried and found guilt he was executed opposite the Parliament building. The conspirators

Preparations for Bonfire Night celebrations include making a dummy of Guy Fawkes, which is called “the Guy”. Some children even keep up an old tradition of walking in the streets, carrying “the Guy” and beg passersby for “a penny for the Guy.” On the night itself, Guy is placed on top of the bonfire, which is then set alight; and firework displays fill the sky. 

Penny for the guy

Bonfire Night is not only celebrated in Britain. The tradition crossed the oceans and established itself in the British colonies during the centuries. Today, November 5th bonfires still light up in far out places like New Zealand and Newfoundland in Canada. guy-fawkes-effigy1

The events of 1605 are also remembered in a nursery rhyme.


Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.


Gunpowder, Treason and Plot website from the Parliamentary Archives


This website is packed with archival material – documents, journals, engravings, paintings and more, making it the ideal basis for historical study. Researched and written by historical and educational experts, the material is trustworthy and authoritative. The website is structured around a set of playing cards from the late 1600s. Their beautiful illustrations tell the whole story, from the plotters’ huddle in an inn to the firework displays of the present day.

Download the playing cards to use as a basis for sequencing activities, storytelling, writing or artwork.