Touring In: Ontario
Ideal Audience Size: 1-3 classes
Maximum Audience Size: 3 classes
Grades: Preschool-Grade 5
Special Equipment: Chair, small table and water. Small venues like libraries or classrooms preferred. If a larger venue is needed, then amplification will be required (cordless microphone preferred if possible).
Explore the World with Stories
*30-50 minute programs which can be adapted for preschool or primary school audiences as requested
Are you looking for an energetic, language rich experience to inspire students’ imaginations? Shoshana’s stories and songs achieve this goal with gusto! Here’s a sample of the kinds of world class tales you can expect from Shoshana:
“The Magic Tree” (based on a Bantu tale retold by Celia Barker Lottridge) uses melody, rhymes and sound effects to invite students of all ages to belt out an original tune with Elephant, rush the verse with Cheetah, or chant ever so slowly with Turtle.
Preschoolers and kindergarteners enjoy Shoshana’s lively renditions of classic fairy tales like “The Gunni Wolf” or “Three Billy Goats Gruff” that help children overcome their fears with rhythm, melody and laughter. Modern sing-able tales with the spunky puppet, “Pete the Cat,” (adapted from James Dean and Eric Litwin) encourage children to keep walking no matter what.
Primary school students appreciate “The Noisy House” of Poland (adapted from Syd Lieberman and Margot Zemach) which uses sound effects like clanging pots, babies’ cries, roosters’ crows and bleating goats, to encourage students to celebrate life.
Another primary school favorite is “The Dragon’s Pearl” (adapted from Julie Lawson, Miriam Wells and Gary Chalk) which transports listeners to China where a resourceful protagonist saves the province of Szechuan from drought with the help of a green dragon puppet and an easy-to-join-in song.
With ample floor space, primary students can experience an original tale called “Play the World Awake” that invites amenable audiences to fly like birds, leap like frogs and toss the best skipping stones ever while envisioning a world made whole again for all creatures to enjoy.
Learning to sing “thank you” in as many languages as time allows provides a perfect way to end this global storytelling experience for all ages.
* 30 minute maximum recommended for preschoolers.
“Frida’s Flute” by Shoshana Litman
World on a Maple Leaf: A Treasury of Canadian Multicultural Folktales
Edited by Asma Sayed and Nayanika Kumar
(United Cultures of Canada Association, 2011)
Shoshana Litman tells vivid tales expressed in dramatic ways, inspiring audiences to imagine, sing and dream. Listeners of all ages have enjoyed her stories and songs, drawn from traditional and original sources, since 1997.
Family members with a love of fairytales gave Shoshana her first taste of story. Indigenous elders from Alert Bay B.C., Tucson Arizona and Toronto Ontario introduced her to storytelling as a magnificent way to share their culture. As an adult, she discovered her own people’s incredible stories, becoming Canada’s first ordained Maggidah (female Jewish storyteller) in 2008.
Before becoming a storyteller, Shoshana composed poetry. While completing a degree in Environmental Science at The Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington in the 1980’s, she heard a Whidbey Island poet, David Whyte, recite, instead of read, his incredible verses and thought, “…what a great way to inspire people!” She switched from written poetry to oral stories after joining the Victoria Storytellers Guild in 1992, though some of her stories and most of her songs still feature rhyming verse.
Shoshana has performed at storytelling festivals in Edmonton, Port Angeles & Nelson, BC. She toured Montreal for the TD Canadian Childrens Book Week Tour in 2012 and New Zealand in 2013. She often bicycles to preschools, daycares, Strong Start Programs, schools, libraries and other venues in the Greater Victoria Region to share stories and songs. Shoshana also introduces students of all ages to Canada’s oldest surviving synagogue through stories, melodies and local history.
From 1999 to 2008, Shoshana (also known as Suzanne Kort Litman) served as South Vancouver Island Regional Coordinator for the Way to Go! School Program, an active transportation program for B.C. elementary and middle schools. She lives in a heritage house in Victoria with her husband, Todd, a Transportation Policy Analyst. Together they raised two fine sons, Graham, a Wildfire Claims and Litigation Officer for the BC Wildfire Service and Raviv, who speaks Mandarin and serves as Operations Manager for Ubicycle, a Bike Share Program from China.
“Everyone was so pleased with Shoshana’s Earth Day performance. Both staff and students thought it was wonderful!”
—Laurie Tighe, Millstream Elementary School Teacher
“[Shoshana’s] stories were so much fun in these days of apps and internet.”
—Joy Huebert, Children’s and Family Literacy Librarian, Esquimalt Branch, Greater Victoria Public Library
“Shoshana’s stories are magical! She enriched the (ESL) course unit on storytelling by not only demonstrating how to tell a story but also explaining the techniques at the end of her presentation. I look forward to having her back.”
—Sarah Harrison, Children’s and Family Literacy Librarian, Saanich Centennial, Greater Victoria Public Library
“Shoshana’s interactive storytelling sessions are inspiring, not only because they are told so masterfully, but because her warmth, kindness and sincerity shine through and keep Shoshana’s stories alive long after her words have faded away.”
—Donna Lach, Programming and Outreach Librarian, Westmount Public Library, Montreal
“The children loved Shoshana’s humorous, thoughtful and gentle stories. Many students had never heard a storyteller before, yet they were enthusiastic and engaged even without “pictures.” This is a great gift and skill which Shoshana has in abundance.”
—Bonnie Farmer, Teacher, Author and TD Canadian Children’s Book Week English Language Tour Organizer, Montreal
“We really enjoyed the time spent with Shoshana and learned much from the stories that she had to share. It was a great experience for us all.”
—Sue McKerracher, High School Teacher