Category Archives: Jiaan’s Blog

Jiaan’s View of the World



Students Stretch into their Poetic Selves!

Students Stretch into their Poetic Selves!

Writing, writing, writing!

Writing, writing, writing!


Every year the Dallas Public Library sponsors the “Express Yourself YOUTH POETRY COMPETITION for students grades 2 – 12.






This is my second year to participate in teaching Poetry Workshops in various schools. What a delight it is for me to see all these young people writing poems!

The Heritage Farmstead in Plano, Texas Celebrates 125 Years on the Farm!

Back in October it was a beautiful fall day at The Heritage Farmstead Museum! Perfect for telling stories!  Today we are cold in Dallas today with a hard freeze predicted for tomorrow morning.  It is December!

Storyteller poets, Willie Sims and Beth Turner Ayers join me at The Heritage Farmstead Museum.

Storyteller poets, Willie Sims and Beth Turner Ayers join me at The Heritage Farmstead Museum to tell stories and represent the North 40 Storytellers’ Guild!


News May and June!

I have a healthy respect for all the folks who keep up with their Blogs, Tweets, and Facebook postings as I am a here again, gone again visitor to my own Blog pages.









Coming events – May and June: Travels and lots of gardening are on my calendar. Those are two items I love and devote time to along with my storytelling. In Dallas as part of the annual Dallas Water Wise Garden tour you can visit our gardens the 1st Saturday in June. Here are some pictures of our gardens. Contact me for more information. You can see the flowers and trees have certainly benefited from all those Spring rains I’ve mentioned in my recent posts.


April News!

April: I am pleased that I was invited to tell stories at the Yesterfest in Bastrop, Texas. Thanks, Ms. Deborah Johnson, of Art Connections Gallery, and all the volunteers for the invitation and all your work!  And a special thank-you to the Texas Commission on the Arts for making my storytelling possible!

Telling at Yesterfest in Bastrop, Texas

Telling at Yesterfest in Bastrop, Texas









This annual Festival the last weekend in April celebrates the Pioneer Days and features gunfights, music, and storytelling up and down the streets in old Bastrop. My storytelling friends, Bernadette Nason, DeCee Cornish, and Eldrena Douma were telling, too! There were lots of great eatin’ places and lots to shop and buy. We had been somewhat concerned about getting rained out only to have beautiful weather.  Family and friends and a great lunch (Thanks, Ms. Janice!) topped off the day after my storytelling.








IMG_3581April 14 – 17 Texas Library Association Conference 2015: Librarians, storytellers, authors, poets, vendors all descended upon Austin, Texas for the Annual TLA conference. I am delighted to report that as part of the StorytellingRoundtable Annual Concert Spike and  I got to tell stories on stage with wonderful tellers and performers, DeCee Cornish, Lucas Miller, Peggy and Gene Helmick- Richardson, Donna Ingham, and Sue Young.




Peggy and Gene Helmick-Richardson


Lucas Miller


Sue Young
















Donna Ingham

Donna Ingham

News Updates:


Look at all our new friends!

Look at all our new friends!







March: Again, special thanks to Ms. Jamie King, youth librarian at the Palestine Public Library and all the staff and volunteers for all the hard work to put on the first Dogwood Trails Book Festival on March 29th. As part of the Festival events on Friday the 28th Spike and I told stories to more than 1,160 students at two primary schools!






logo-tsa-headEarly March: We Texans are happy to talk about the rain and late chilly weather that lasted into March here in the Dallas area. At the 30th Annual Texas Storytelling Festival folks sloshed out into the storms and joined me for my “On Your Feet and Telling”, a 101 storytelling workshop. They were all willing to jump right in and land on their feet and tell like the pros. Spike and I had a great time on





IMG_3531March 4 with the preschoolers at Westminster Presbyterian Preschool in Dallas. Spike wore his blonde wig and insisted on being Goldilocks and we had three children volunteer to hold a bear while I narrated the story. They were wonderful! Sorry, we can only post photos of the Bears and Spike here!









February: Amid reports of possible snow showers and icy roads in late February I traveled to Harpool Middle School, Denton ISD, for two days to tell Texas History Tales to 7th graders. What a lovely group of young people. I hope they don’t mind me saying that. I know their principal and teachers would be proud. Thanks, Mrs. Sherry Brandt, librarian, and Tejas Storytelling Tellers in the Schools Program.101_7090

Happy New Year – 2015! And now it is February! Happy Valentines Day!

Round-up of 2014 Events:

December 19 Spike and I visited The Montessori Academy in Arlington, Texas for performances with the Lower Elementary classes and Upper Elementary classes. The Upper Elementary classes also participated with me in a Telling/Writing Workshop. I had a great time watching and listening to these students interact creatively! Thanks TMA Teachers!

December 10 Spike and I spent a wonderful day at the Godley Intermediate School telling holiday stories. Thank you, Mrs. Vicki Kattner and all the students and teachers at Godley.

December 6 Lantern Light at the Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano, Texas is an annual event celebrating the beginning of the Holiday Season. I participated with other North 40 Storytellers Guild telling stories.

November 20-23 104th National Council of English Teachers Convention What a great group of people! All these English and Language Arts teachers gathered in Maryland across the Potomac River from Washington, D. C. I got to present at the Saturday early morning Poster Session. Here I am in front of my poster with some of the wonderful librarians I met! FullSizeRender-6 FullSizeRender-4


OCTOBER 2014 is already history!

Spike and I traveled to East Texas. We participated in Region 7’s Imagination Fair. We had a great time. A special thanks to Ms. Donna Ashby, Ms. Rhonda Baird, and Ms. Janice Baker for all their hard work!


Here I am with Kathryn Madigan, one of the amazing storytellers we met in Nacogdoches.

Kathryn Madigan did an amazing job telling, “Rapunzel”.

Here I am telling stories in East Texas at Region 7 Imagination Fair.

Here I am telling stories in East Texas at Region 7 Imagination Fair.









Each year 1st – 3rd grade GT students learn stories to tell.

We heard wonderful storytellers, and we got to share some stories, too.



October 22

On the way home from the 4th day of Imagination Fair in East Texas I stopped in Lindale and did a workshop with 4th graders. They all participated in the storytelling activities and worked on solving riddle tales. They were smart as they could be! Thank you, Ms. Lisa Vader!  And thank you, students, for your good work! (see more photos in the photo gallery)


4th grade students at E. J. Moss Intermediate School, Lindale, Texas

4th grade students at E. J. Moss Intermediate School, Lindale, Te



Living History Day – November 7

Every year the students, faculty, and parents at The Covenant School in Dallas create a living history day. The 2nd graders studied the Ancient Greeks. Then they celebrated with Greek foods, costumes, and activities at Cottonwood Park in Richardson, Texas. I told Greek tales and fables for the event. (see more photos in the photo gallery)

Here I am telling ancient Greek tales.

Here I am telling ancient Greek tales.


Washington, D.C.

Later this month I am traveling to Washington, D. C. I get to present a poster session at the yearly conference of the National Council of Teachers of English. I’m pretty happy that Spike has insisted on going along to see the sites!




September 2014 UPDATE

Hello everyone, Spike and I had a good summer. In mid-June we traveled to the Panhandle of Texas and visited the Lovett Memorial Library in Pampa. Later in the summer we worked with students at the A+ Prep School in Plano and told stories to the children attending summer camp at the Westminster Presbyterian Preschool in Dallas. We also got to work with preschool teachers in Plano and Dallas, too.


Here I am having a lovely time telling stories with all these good people at the library in Pampa . You can see more pics in the photo gallery.


Of course, we’ve been swimming and catching up on our reading every chance we get. Richard Peck is still one our favorite authors. If you are a cat lover (as we certainly are) and haven’t read his Secrets at Sea, go get a copy. It is about a family of mice, and Mr. Peck makes funny references to cats all through the book.


If you have a favorite book, you think we need to read, please send us the information and email us at


We are excited about our upcoming trips planned for storytelling this fall.

This Saturday, the 19th of September, we will be at Kids on the Hill Creative Arts Festival in Cedar Hill.  Check out all the info at the official website:  

Spike and I are going to be inviting kids to participate and to tell stories with us. Come on out and join us there!


In October we will be in Kilgore, Nacogdoches, and Tyler telling stories for students who are attending Region 7’s Imagination Fair and hearing great student tellers.


In November we are excited that we are presenting at the National Council of English Teachers’ Conference in Washington, D.C..


In December we will be close to home doing performances and a workshop for students at The Montessori Academy of Arlington.

Check back for pictures and updates.