Early Beginnings: Mary Ann began “telling stories” at a very early age. Her anecdotes made people laugh out loud, exotic tales created distractive wonder, and colorful embellishments initiated gossip! Many stories later, Mary Ann was serendipitously drawn to tell at a Stettler Public Library Story-Hour where her gift of oral expression was recognized. Encouraged, Mary Ann set out in 1991 as a freelance storyteller donning a pocket covered cape celebrating her label, Story in My Pocket.
Evolving Art Form: As an Early Childhood Educator in Day Care, Preschool and Kindergarten, and as a K-6 Special Needs Educational Assistant, Mary Ann was able to develop and hone her storytelling craft on a daily basis before children, teachers and librarians. Passionate in her craft, Mary Ann’s present day intergenerational storytelling is an evolving art form that blends an engaging educational experience with animated entertainment. While traveling with Story in My Pocket since 1991, Mary Ann has told stories at fish camps in Alaska, a historical village hall in England, a New Mexican ancient cliff dwelling, and to passengers and crew on a West Jet flight from Yellowknife!
- CCBC (Canadian Children’s Book Centre)
- SC-CC (Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada)
- SA (Storytelling Alberta, formerly TALES Alberta -The Alberta League Encouraging Storytelling)
- SAS (Storytelling Alberta – Strathcona Chapter (formerly TALES Strathcona Chapter)
- YABS (Young Alberta Book Society)
STORY in MY POCKET
Include but are not limited to the following:
- Alaskan Fish Camp
- Alberta Arts Days Collaborations
- Alberta School Tours
- Ancient Cliff Dwelling, New Mexico
- Boomtown Trail Historical Characterizations
- Cenovus/YABS Wordpower / YABS Taleblazers Tours
- Children’s Library Programmer’s Training
- Community and Church Clubs
- Conference Workshops across Alberta
- Country Fairs
- Early Childhood Program Workshops
- Family Literacy Facilitator Training
- Fort Edmonton TALES Storytelling Festival
- Historical Village Hall, Priston Parish, England
- Keynote and Motivational Addresses
- Library: Family, Ladies’ Group, Senior and TD Summer Reading Programs
- Markerville Icelandic Saga Collaboration
- 90th Birthday Celebration
- Senior’s Lodges, Nursing Homes
- Summer Camping Programs
- Storytellers of Canada / Conteurs du Canada National Conference
- Teacher Professional Development Institutes
- Thanksgiving House Concert, Greenville, South Carolina
- Wainwright Ghost-tellings
- West Jet flight from Yellowknife to Edmonton
- Wilderness / Interpretive Centre Collaborations
- World Storytelling Day Concerts
Include but are not limited to the following:
- Alberta Early Years Conference
- Alberta Prairie COW Bus, Alberta Centre for Family Literacy
- Annual Family Day Home Providers Conference
- Camrose Arts Society & District Museum – Aboriginal Celebrations, Jay Walkers Jamboree
- Candora Society of Edmonton
- Drumheller Golden Prairie Parent Link
- Edmonton City Women’s Symposium
- Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
- Edson and District Community Learning Society
- First Nations and Metis Communities across Alberta
- Girl Guides of Canada
- Hanna Learning Centre
- Heartland Youth Centre
- Laurier House – Strathcona Capital Health
- LINC – Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada
- MacEwan University
- Norquest College Day Home Providers Programming
- Prairie View Hutterite Colony
- Red Deer College
- Rocky Community Learning Council and Library
- Albert International Children’s Festival
- Strathcona Wilderness Centre
- TD Canadian Children’s Book Centre Book Week Tour – New Brunswick
- U of A Campus Ministries
- Women Teachers Alpha Chapter – Delta Kappa Gamma
- Yellowhead Regional Libraries – Staff Training and Development
Please note that Mary Ann is not touring with Taleblazers in 2022.
PUBLIC AND SCHOOL PRESENTATIONS
Mary Ann believes oral storytelling is a timeless medium that brings people together to understand, connect and support the global community. Whether dressing up as a leprechaun to entertain Tiny Tots, or regaling Seniors with pioneer stories, Mary Ann is committed to providing an interactive presentation to intergenerational audiences that is reflective of the vital communication link between the written word and the universal traditions of oral storytelling.
Private, School and Workshop Booking Inquires and Requirements: General inquiries and booking information are welcome year round. Be advised to consider booking well in advance as Mary Ann is an active touring oral storyteller with limited availability. firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-941-3843
- In-person presentations only. Virtual Presentations currently unavailable.
- Available year round with 3 months advance booking recommended.
- Bookings of any group size will be considered.
- Rural Alberta inquiries welcome!
- Non-Taleblazers bookings are readily accepted, subject to non-Taleblazers presentation fees and mileage.
- Mary Ann offers preschool to adult presentations for public and private bookings.
- (YABS) Taleblazers presentations focus primarily on Gr. K – 9 audiences.
- Mary Ann is not First Nations but has been honored to receive invitations to advocate and support First Peoples (FNMI) by sharing “Teachings and Lessons of Wisdom,” which all people, irrespective of heritage and spiritual beliefs can learn from.
- One hour uninterrupted presenter set-up time prior to first presentation.
- Access to drinking water (to refill water bottle).
- 2-3 rectangular tables for materials (number required confirmed with booking).
- A personal head-set or lapel mic required for large groups / venues.
- Mary Ann will discuss presentation details directly with booking host over the telephone and prior to a presentation.
- An enclosed library or program room conducive to oral storytelling is preferred. Gymnasium or community hall presentations must be discussed with Mary Ann prior to a booking confirmation.
NEW REPERTOIRE MATERIAL FOR EACH PRESENTATION!
Touring as “Story in My Pocket,” Mary Ann welcomes inquiries of her diverse repertoire and story-adaptations for intergenerational audiences. Celebrating a multicultural mosaic of universal oral storytelling traditions, audiences of all ages are magically engaged in an interactive audiovisual extravaganza of oral storytelling techniques that may include string, draw and tell, cut and tell, instruments, costumes, puzzles, puppets, props, Signed Language, and traditional music.
Classroom and Curriculum Connections:
- Mary Ann brings her wisdom from life-experiences as an Early Years Educator, Elementary Educational Special-Needs Assistant and Touring Oral Storyteller.
- Mary Ann is sensitive to diverse student needs, respectful of teachers and aware of curriculum accountability.
- Mary Ann’s flexible custom programming is a blend of interactive oral storytelling entertainment, curriculum connections and multicultural content.
- Perpetuate literacy and learning with engaging storytelling that generates language development, stimulates a desire for the written communication and inspires the enjoyment of life long reading.
- Connect to current Language Art and Social Studies curriculum with an extensive storytelling repertoire that is newly customized with each presentation.
- Partner with educators to advocate literacy by using effective oral storytelling that teaches by modeling, active participation and illustrating diverse oral telling forms.
- Compliment literacy programs with inspiring oral storytelling that fosters an aesthetic appreciation for the oral language.
- Celebrate the family and community spirit through a positive experience of interactive oral storytelling.
- Advocate tolerance and acceptance for the diversities of fellow mankind by incorporating values of respect and compassion with a multicultural mosaic of stories.
- Inspire curiosity, imagination and creativity through the artistic energy of oral storytelling.
- 3rd Generation Family Stories, Personal Stories
- Localized Farming History, Alberta / Pioneer History
- First Nations Grandfather Teachings, Legends, Trickster and Wisdom Stories
- Nature, True Adventures
- Global and Community Cultural Diversity
- Conflict – Resolution, Anti-Bullying
- Understanding, Tolerance, Respect, Acceptance
- Leader-In-Me, Personal Choices, Friendships
- Visual / Performing Arts
- Life-long enjoyment of story listening, telling, reading, and writing
- Fables, Fairytales, Folklore
- Legends, Myths, Tricksters
- Poetry, Rhymes, Transitional (Movement) Action Songs / Chants / Hand Games
- Oral Storytelling workshop
- India, Peru, Ukraine
- FNMI First Nations, Métis, Inuit
- Historical Characterizations
- Alberta Farming, Pioneers
- Appreciation of oral storytelling as the oldest yet current art form
- Creative Expression, Interpretation and Inspiration
- Performer’s Presence, Public Speaking
- Diverse Oral Storytelling Techniques
Audience Limit: K-Gr. 3: 80; Gr. 4-12: 100; Adult: 150-200
Presentation Limit: 4 one-hour / day, or 1 one-hour per evening
Full day fee: $575
Half day fee: $375
“What a great way to draw children to literature! Thank you for inspiring us.”
“You told with such enthusiasm and wonderful use of your voice that the children had their eyes and bodies totally focused on you. You managed to relay a lot of facts in between the stories without losing their interest.”
“You are by far the most dynamic, charismatic storyteller I’ve come across — very enthralling! Thank you for sharing your gift with us!
“I appreciated your warm relationship and discussion with the students on aspects of Native Culture.”
“Very motivating, entertaining and touching. Good practical ideas for all levels.”
“You have a good sense of humor and I think reading will be more fun now.”
“A story-teller like no other I’ve ever heard, Mary Ann makes us laugh, cry, sing a-long, imagine, and most of all draws us into her amazing story world. Students and adults alike are enchanted and spellbound when Mary Ann is in the room. She commands an audience and shows us how everyone has a story to tell. You won’t want to miss an opportunity to hear this extremely talented story-teller!”