Three hundred children sit mesmerized in the school’s gymnasium watching a 2002-2003 Touring Stories
performance of the folktale, Why Leopard Has Spots. They’re drawn in by the actors’ expressions, movement, and the magic of seeing a book unfold. After the performance, a kindergartner asks one of the actors, Carob Lambert, “Do they make dolls of you?”
Why Leopard Has Spots (Grades K-5)
David Copperfield (Grades 6-Adult)
The Phantom Tollbooth (Grades K-5)
Tam Lin (Grades K-5)
TIP: Don't miss our interview with Tam Lin author Jane Yolen
“Since there’s little set or costume, children experience a book actively because they’re forced to create everything in their minds,” says Book-It All Over! (BIAO) Education Director Gail Frasier. “For some children, words on a page can be dead. As a child, I had a hard time reading, and drama was a life-changing experience for me. I believe it can transform a child’s interest in the written word.”
BIAO was formed in 1996 by Co-Artistic Director, Myra Platt, who fell in love with children’s literature after having a son. She developed the Touring Stories Program to introduce literature to children and young adults through theater. By saying only the words the author has written and preserving the author’s voice, actors speak both narrative and dialogue in the unique Book-It style, including the “he saids” and “she saids.” Each story is 25 to 45 minutes long and aimed primarily at grades K-5, although performances are intended to inspire all ages to read. The performance is followed by a hands-on workshop where students develop and perform a story of their own.
To date, BIAO has performed over 50 books throughout
“The books we choose are a fine balance between entertaining kindergartners yet mature enough so that fifth-graders won’t roll their eyes,” says Frasier. “I have a passion for multicultural literature. I believe it’s important for children to hear cultural stories and to see people of diverse backgrounds.”
Frasier admits she was a bit apprehensive about performing David Copperfield at
In addition to the Touring Stories, BIAO offers longer Residency Programs to older students. “Four years ago, I realized we needed a different way to reach middle- and high-school students,” says Frasier. “Our first residency was with
Laurie Levine, drama teacher at
Discussion is encouraged in BIAO’s Danger Books program, aimed at middle- and high-school students. “We read controversial excerpts from books that have been banned or challenged in the
Next, Frasier hopes to get the rights to perform The Cinderella Stories, which includes a story from
That’s what education is all about. Book-It All Over! makes a difference by fostering an interest in reading and awakening young minds to think, question, dream, create … the possibilities are endless within the pages of a book.
2002-2003 Touring Stories
Book-It All Over!
The Book-It All Over! Touring Stories Program includes:
- One performance for up to 500 students.
- One 45-minute workshop for 30 students.
- A study guide and copy of the book for your library.
For information on Touring Stories, Workshops, or Residency Programs, call 206-770-0880 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: www.book-it.org .
Raheena Charania is a mother of two. She serves on the Advisory Committee of the Washington-N. Idaho chapter of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and reads, writes, and dreams of children’s stories in her free time.
From Seattle's Child, June 2003.