Available for IN-PERSON visits in: Edmonton (+ regions 1.5 hours or so drive from Edmonton)
Home Location: Edmonton
Craft: Storyteller, Children’s Writer
Target Audience: Kindergarten – Grade 12
Cost for School and Public Presentation with CCBC subsidy: $200.00, plus applicable taxes
K- Grade 3 “Tell Me a Story”
Kathy has created this story set especially for children in the younger grades. Her performances encourage audience participation and maximum engagement, as she weaves seamlessly between original stories and world folktales. Kathy includes questions and prompts throughout the show, helping her young listeners relate to the stories on a personal level. A structured “wiggle-break” is included half way through, with students learning a poem/action sequence as a fun take-away experience. A final Q&A session is optional and, often, hilarious!
Grade 4-6 “One to Grow On”
Kathy begins this story set with a brief discussion on the importance of having a strong imagination- viewing it as a muscle that needs to be regularly exercised. This is followed by an engaging mix of original stories and world folktales. When performing original material, Kathy shares “the story behind the story,” helping students understand the writing process, and giving helpful tips along the way. With folktales, Kathy chooses stories that reinforce positive character traits and encourage cross-cultural tolerance and understanding. Kathy encourages listeners to share the “pictures” they were imagining as the stories were told, and draws a direct connection to this being a valuable skill in creative writing. Q&A wrap-up is optional.
Grade 7-12 “I’ll Tell You This!”
Teenagers sometimes struggle with understanding how storytelling can be relevant to their everyday lives. But Kathy believes stories are a great way to absorb life lessons and deepen our understanding of the world around us. In this set, she shares some of her favourite tales offering listeners little gems of wisdom, humour and kindness. From family stories to multicultural folktales that have been around for hundreds of years, these stories still connect with modern society and lay down pathways to explore experiences from other points of view. Kathy gives a bit of time for listeners to comment/react throughout the performance, and wraps up with a Q&A period where discussion can continue more fully.
Kathy is delighted to perform for family audiences, and has a wealth of experience telling stories to people of all ages. For family shows, she carefully selects stories with a broad appeal, offering plenty of opportunity for audience engagement and participation. The time flies by! These performances usually include a mix of original stories and world folktales. A Q&A period is optional at the end of the set.
Information on Audience Size and Presentation Space
Maximum group size: I can tell stories to any group size- from single classes to gymnasiums with several hundred students. What I tell all my hosts is that the smaller the group-the more intimate the storytelling, and the easier it is to interact with the students on a personal level. So that’s always the gold standard. If I do larger groups in a gym, then it’s going to be a more formal presentation/performance. In either case I aim to have audience interaction as much as possible, but large groups necessitate a session that’s more structured. I can tell stories to a mixed grade audience, I just need to know in advance what the age range is so I can plan my story program to suit.
Preferred presentation venue: obviously it depends on the group size. I require a microphone for big spaces like gyms and music rooms, but also for larger library spaces – especially if they’re open plan, with several classes, and noise that carries. My favourite venues are classrooms and small library spaces where children can gather on the floor in front. I always request a space that has no competing noise or distractions.
Edmonton children’s writer and storyteller Kathy Jessup has been entertaining audiences since she first learned to talk. Over the years she’s performed her original stories and world folktales in schools, libraries, concerts and festivals across Canada and internationally. Kathy’s stories and articles have appeared in various publications including the children’s magazine chickaDEE, and the Alberta Centennial anthology Under the Wide Blue Sky: Alberta Stories to Read and Tell published by Red Deer Press. Kathy’s CD LISTEN UP: Tellable Tales for Hungry Ears features a selection of her original stories for families, and is recommended by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre as a top choice. You can also hear Kathy on CDs produced by T.A.L.E.S. (The Alberta league Encouraging Storytelling.) When Kathy’s not telling stories, she keeps busy with a number of different workshops including her very popular writing workshops for children, and storytelling/ performance workshops for all ages. Kathy also presents at Teachers’ Conventions, Professional Development Days, literacy events, and enjoys speaking at engagements for a variety of organizations.