REVIEWS AND ENDORSEMENTS…
To protect our planet, we have to completely reimagine our relationship with the natural world and all its wondrous diversity. Storytelling plays a crucial part in that healing process, as Georgiana so beautifully and powerfully reveals in ‘The Natural Storyteller’. Jonathon Porritt CBE, Forum for the Future
On a cold winter’s night I found myself running into Georgiana’s storytelling. My companions, world-leading climate scientists, swiftly followed. In an increasingly fragmented world, suffering the impacts of climate change, this glorious anthology is both challenging and comforting. Professor Ros Cornforth, meteorologist and leader of Walker Insitute for Climate system research
The book is life affirming. All of its stories are about taking delight in creation. But what makes the book unique is that Georgiana’s years of working as a storyteller gives it a sense of adventure and fun. Hugh Lupton, award-winning storyteller
A life of dedication to nature,storytelling and young people courses through the pages of The Natural Storyteller. Chock full of good stories and creative activities. A wonderful and needed resource for children in today’s world. Laura Simms, Storyteller, Writer, Humanitarian
ABOUT THE BOOK…. This book is a seed packet, full of dynamic story seeds. When you open the book and read a story seed, you plant it in yourself, unleashing courage, creativity and love of nature. True stories of environmental heroines and heroes, botanical tales of living trees. Stories gleaned from the treasures of world traditions, but re-visioned for todayâ€™s child and told with great energy and panache. Adventures between birds, animals and people. Fairytales from the forest and true tales of sea, earth and sky. Some so good readers will retell them at once. Shared at bedtime or around the campfire under the stars, these stories inspire wonder and service for Mother Earth. Here is a handbook for the natural storyteller, with story maps, brain-teasing riddles, story skeletons and adventures to make a tale your own.
The Natural Storyteller, Wildlife Tales for Telling by Imelda Almqvist
The Natural Storyteller is a gorgeous heart-warming book full of stories that children (and people any age!) can relate to. It is a collection of stories, carefully gathered over a period of years, from all over the world (different sources, locations, periods in history). Some are based on myths, others on legendary figures or even saints (e.g. St Francis of Assisi makes an appearance – but in the story we meet his child self!) or extraordinary things that happened in the lives of ordinary people.
What steals my heart about this book is that it Â unflinchingly addresses the turmoil and realities of life in the 21st century. The author does not shy away from tackling themes such as deforestation, war or corporate greed.
My favourite story is the King of the Deer (perhaps because I live in the forest in Sweden for part of the year where see deer daily and observe them very closely). I had a rather traumatic encounter with deer hunters only two weeks ago and this story (about the King of the Deer putting a stop of the hunting of all animal species) really pulled at my heart strings.
I live in London for the larger part of the year and there is a lovely story about a London woman who finds a wounded baby sparrow on her doorstep during World War II. She takes him in and he becomes her companion, eventually bringing comfort to people who lost their homes in air raids. The woman was called Clare Kipps and I am under the impression that this story is based on a real life person.
The author describes herself as going on hikes and actively asking strangers to tell her stories. Predictably many people first say they don’t know any stories before proceeding to tell a very unique story indeed. Many of those stories are about friendships between humans and animals.
I love the scope of subjects, characters and locations. I also love the fact that she does not shy away from the difficult aspects of life. When children hear about characters in stories surviving such things and even finding courage or beauty under challenging circumstances – then that same resilience is reinforced and inspired in the audience.
Many stories end with a Q&A section where the storyteller can ask questions to test if the children have understood the storyline correctly. There is also a Myths from the Land of You section where children are encouraged to connect the story to their own lives and experiences.
This book is that rare thing: it unlocks emotions, ideas and a wild surge of creativity. Even I now want to take myself off on hikes around London and ask complete strangers to tell me stories about sparrows and crows (and may just do that for a day!)