A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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It’s Family Stories Month. Meet Joan Y. Edwards, An Author Who Has Been Telling Stories Since She Was a Child

Posted by lindamartinandersen on November 25, 2012

“It’s Family Stories Month.  Meet Joan Y. Edwards, An Author Who Has Been Telling Stories Since She Was a Child” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Today, we have a guest who likes to tell and write stories.  Many are about her family .  This is the month to do it because…

It’s Family Stories Month.

Join me in providing a warm welcome for Joan Y. Edwards.


Joan, tell us about your storytelling and writing…

Family is very important to me. In looking through my stories, almost all of them relate to an experience I had with my family.

Courtesy of Kids Shots Portraits

Larry, the Terrifying Turkey

Aunt Sophie’s Biscuits

The Day I Turned My Brother, Butch, into a Monkey

Mack and Mazie, Loggerheads forever (beach experience with family)

Miss Mary’s Beautiful Garden (neighbor)

Joan’s Elder Care Guide (my mother)

Just Like Sissy

The Day Daddy Saved Me from an Untimely Death.

Against the Odds (about family, not my family, but could have been)

Immigrant Heart (about family, not my family, but could have been)

Why is that? I can’t totally explain it. But, I’ll tell you how it all began.

One day when I was five years old, I made up a story about a little duck named Flip Flap Floodle. He has a new flute and wants to go play his flute for Grandma. His mother warns him about the dangers of Mr. Fox. Flip proclaims, “My song will keep me safe.”

Not at all charmed by Flip’s song, Mr. Fox swallows him in one gulp. When Flip’s mother finds Mr. Fox in the woods, she hears a familiar muffled sound coming from inside the Fox’s belly. She bops the fox with her pocketbook and sprinkles pepper on his nose. The fox sneezes out Flip Flap Floodle still playing on his flute. Flip plays his song for Grandma and becomes a big star, just like Mr. Chicken said he would. The moral to this story: Never Give Up even if it seems you’re inside a fox’s belly.

In 1945, we had a thick book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It didn’t have pictures. There were no picture books back then or none in our household. I only heard stories. I didn’t realize that people could write them down and get them published. I was familiar with newspapers. Their articles weren’t fairy tales. I loved the little Golden Books, but there were only two or three of them. When I was in fourth grade, I got a library card and checked out books like Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott; Heidi by Johanna Spyri; The Bobbsey Twins written by various authors under the pen name of Laura Lee Hope.

When I studied to be a teacher, I learned about picture books for children. Since then there are oodles and caboodles of picture books for children. These books fill whole sections of libraries across America. What is one of your favorite picture books? (leave a comment)

In 1967 when I was expecting my first child, Lorrie, I thought it would be neat to get Flip Flap Floodle published as a picture book, like the Golden Books. I thought it would be even more fun to have it in the school library and the county library for them and others to check out.

For five years traditional publishers said, “No.” I self published it in 2004. Flip Flap Floodle is available in paperback and as an ebook for Kindle and Nook.  Check here:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/flip-flap-floodle?r=1

Telling stories at home is a fun thing to do. Tell stories to your dolls, your toys, your Star Wars figures, and your Bob the Builder figures. Tell stories on the way to school. When it’s time to share at school, tell a story you made up. Don’t copy someone else. Tell or write your own story.

I’ll bet you tell your friends, parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, and uncles fun things that happen to you. You also tell them things that scared the socks off you. When creating stories, add a little fiction to the truth.

Here’s one of mine:  One time Mother had a turkey. She loved him. He hated my older sister, Judy and me. He flogged us whenever we went outside. I wrote “Larry the Terrifying Turkey” in memory of that story…part fiction and part true. That turkey scared me. That fear stayed with me a very long time.

Another story, “Just like Sissy” is about how my sister, Judy went to school in first grade and I didn’t get to go. I was downtrodden. My best friend was nowhere around and I missed her. I bought hot dogs at a drugstore down the street, took them to her class and expected to enter her classroom and sit beside her. That didn’t happen. They took the hot dogs and closed the door.

My stories go on and on. Your stories do, too. You may not have even thought about your stories as part of a fictional story, a picture book or chapter book in the library or bookstore. However, I am here to tell you that it’s possible. You can do it.

Write your stories in a notebook. A bound composition book is best.  Pages from spiral composition books come loose. I recommend that you use a pen, because it writes darker and is easier to read later on.  When your parents ask what you’d like for your birthday or Christmas, you know the answer: A bound composition book and a pen or pencil to inspire you to tell your stories which make you smile.

When you’ve experienced part of your story first-hand, you probably care more about it. It makes a difference – either good or bad for you.

I love the books that show the extreme opposites of things, like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz: http://www.amazon.com/Alexander-Terrible-Horrible-Good-Very/dp/0689711735

Another one is Fortunately by Remy Charlip: http://www.amazon.com/Fortunately-Remy-Charlip/dp/0689716605/

Followed by That’s Good! That’s Bad! by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by David Catrow: http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Good-Bad-Owlet-Book/dp/0805029540

Circle Stories are fun to tell over and over again.  Here is an example:  “If you give a mouse a cookie”by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrations by Felicia Bond. http://www.amazon.com/You-Give-Mouse-Cookie-Give/dp/0060245867

My story “Mack and Mazie, Loggerheads Forever” is a circle story. It’s about two loggerhead turtles love for each other. Two sailors save the turtles and then the turtles save the sailors. Loggerheads are a part of our family. They are part of nature. Nature is a part of us.

As you can see, family is a big part of my life. Friends are also an important part of my life. Therefore, family and friends are part of my stories. What you care about the most will find its way into your stories.

Readers, please leave your story idea in the COMMENT section below.  Joan Y. Edwards and all the other visitors at “A Writer’s Playground” look forward to reading your stories or story ideas.

Let’s let Joan know how much we appreciate her coming.  Storytellers deserve a group hug.  Ready?


How about it, Joan?  Can you feel the love?  We hope so!  Thank you so much for telling about your storytelling and writing.  Please come again!

Copyright © 2012 Linda Martin Andersen

44 Responses to “It’s Family Stories Month. Meet Joan Y. Edwards, An Author Who Has Been Telling Stories Since She Was a Child”

  1. A heartwarming and inspiring story, thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Backdoor Artist,
      Glad you enjoyed Joan’s story. It’s so good to hear from you again. Isn’t it great when you know what your gifts are as a child? You’re also very talented. I’m happy to be getting to know you and your artistic skills. Thanks for commenting here.

    • Joan Y. Edwards said

      Dear Backwood Artist,
      Thank you for writing. There are many beautiful and inspiring things in the backwoods. I love spending time with nature. Good luck in all you endeavor. Never Give Up.

      • lol…you have made my day! It’s backdoor, like sneaking in the backdoor because the front one was closed…but, hey, I grew up in the backwoods…so you may have something there! 🙂
        – Mary

  2. Joan Y. Edwards said

    Dear Mary, Backdoor Artist,
    I’m so sorry. I’m glad you have a good sense of humor! Thanks for letting me know my error. Enjoy your day being your sweet compassionate self.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  3. June said

    I learned so much about you and your writing. Thank you for sharing with us and Linda thank you for having Joan “speak”. I love you both

    • June,
      Isn’t Joan’s story interesting? I’m so glad you stopped by and left a comment. You are welcome for the post. Thank you for visiting.

    • Joan Y. Edwards said

      Dear June,
      Thanks for leaving a note. I’m glad you enjoyed learning about me and my writing. It is fun to tell stories and to write them down. It is especially fun to get them published and see them in book format on a shelf in a library. You have a gift. You are a great writer and also a wonderful encourager. Good luck with your stories.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  4. Oh, those family stories! Poor you and the hot dogs… that wasn’t nice at all!! One of my family stories happened when I was very little. I wandered about exploring my aunt’s vegetable garden and came upon this little bush decorated with beautiful red fruit. Would it hurt to try one? Surely not! And yes, they were red hot chilli peppers, and yes, I went into the house screaming that I was burning up. I have looked at chilli peppers with a jaundiced eye ever since!

    • Joan Y. Edwards said

      Dear Maureen,
      Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for sympathizing with me about carrying the hot dogs to my sister’s class and not even getting to see her. Bummer!
      I love the story of you exploring your aunt’s vegetable garden and tasting a red hot chili pepper! Ouch! Water! You needed water!
      Thanks for sharing it with us.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

    • Maureen,
      Red hot chili peppers! My eyes are watering. Thanks for visiting and for sharing your own experiences.

  5. Joan Y. Edwards said

    Dear Linda,
    Thank you for doing an interview with me on your blog. It is fun interacting with your readers. They are delightful. All of us have great stories to tell.

    Celebrate you for giving us so many reasons to celebrate each day of the year! I appreciate your sense of fun and adventure.

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

  6. happyinhim said

    Dear Joan,
    I enjoyed reading about the little girl in you! Thank you Linda for putting this on your blog. Now I know where those stories came from! I had a story when I was a little girl that I wanted to write about a little girl that travelled to the sun. I also had a little song about horses that I sung, that is actually quite silly: “Down, down, down and around, the horses are saddled and down and around.” (It just kept going on that way, lol!) One time I was going to make a notebook with every kind of face I could imagine in the world and simply entitle it “Faces.” (Hey, that was way before facebook!) I was creative back then but I didn’t think I was, and I never thought I was a writer either.

    I see that you were like I was Joan. Thank you for helping me to see that by sharing all the things that happened to you and how you turned them into stories. Delightful.
    Megan 🙂

    • Joan Y. Edwards said

      Dear Megan,
      Thanks for writing. Yes, you and I are a lot alike. We both to tell a good story. We’ve both told stories since we were little tigers. Hurray for all writers and storytellers. You are a great writer. Keep on writing and submitting your work.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      • happyinhim said

        I did not say on Pubsubber board, but one day after submission board I subbed my stinkbug poem and a sidebar to Clubhouse Junior magazine. You will never guess what happened this am. As I was making coffee, a stinkbug was crawling up my coffee pot! AHHHH!

    • Megan,
      I’m so glad you had so much fun reading Joan’s post and recalling fun stories of your own. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Hi Linda,
    I enjoyed the interview you had with Joan. And Joan, the titles you listed from your childhood memories were captivating. The cover of your book is sweet.
    Have a wonderful week! 🙂

    • Joan Y. Edwards said

      Dear Tracy,
      Thank you for writing. You think my titles are captivating. What a compliment! Most of them include a lot of humor. I love to laugh and have the readers giggle along with me. I also have stories that are sad and might make you cry. What are your favorite genres to write? Are they the same ones you like to read?
      Good luck with all of your goals – for writing, health, and wealth.
      Never Give Up!
      Joan Y. Edwards

      • Hi Joan,
        I love humor, hence my blog’s title,–Wacky World of Writing. Linda’s hat drew me to her blog. It wild and wacky. Right Linda? Sad stories are great too, they tug at my heart strings. I write for children, tweens, and teens. I read a lot children’s books, but I also love a good mystery.
        Thanks for asking so many great questions and for your best wishes.
        I’ll never give up! 😀

    • Tracy,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview and story titles. I have enjoyed your adventures and your dog’s stories on your blog too.

  8. Hi Linda and Joan, I’ve always wondered about the story behind Flip Flap Floodle and now I know. My grandchildren sing flip, flap, floodle-oodle at the top of their lungs and I join in! It’s one of our “granny” things.

    • Joan Y. Edwards said

      Dear Gretchen,
      Thank you for writing. It was good to see you at the SCBWI-Carolinas conference. The fact that you and your grandchildren go around singing Flip Flap Floodle’s song makes me smile! It makes Flip happy, too. May he bring you much joy and happiness.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

    • Gretchen,
      I’m so glad you get to do “granny” things. Thanks for letting us know all about it. I appreciate your comments.

  9. Yep, group hug, Joanie! I’m a story-junkie too. Loved the Bobbsy Twins!!

    • Carol,
      Thanks for joining the group hug! Wouldn’t that feel good about now?

    • Joan Y. Edwards said

      Dear Carol,
      Thanks for writing. Oh boy! A group hug. H-U-G. Story junkies forever. I think I read every Bobbsey Twin book that came close to my hands. Glad you enjoyed them, too. I hope your current work about the two girls is coming together nicely. I know the workshop you’ve been going through has illuminated places to focus and pull in the story’s strengths and eliminate any potential spots of weakness. I am proud of all you have accomplished.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  10. […] Since November is Family Stories month, Linda asked me to share how I told stories to my family when I was a little girl. What a great way to celebrate 100 subscribers! I  hope you’ll stop and read about my sad hot dog story:  http://tinyurl.com/cguckle or https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/its-family-stories-month-meet-joan-y-edwards-an-… […]

    • Thanks for letting people know about the celebration going on over at your blog. Isn’t it fun to throw a party? Thanks for inviting everyone.

      • Joan Y. Edwards said

        Dear Linda,
        You’re very welcome. I love parties. It is double the fun to have parties in two places. Thank you again for inviting me to be your guest. I’m enjoying meeting your readers.

        Celebrate you.
        Never Give Up
        Joan Y. Edwards

  11. Hey Joan thanks for telling us about your childhood. I still have a copy of the Grimm’s Fairy tales from when I was a kid. My mother would sit in our comb back Windsor chair and read from it to us. I think you read similar books from the library as I did in the fifties. Louisa Mae Alcott’s life was one of them, along with Little Women, and Eli Whitney. I think they must have been standards in the school library back then. I’m so happy you self published Flip Flap Floodle. Why should we always have to wait for someone to validate our accomplishments, when we can express our own creativity? Being able to self publish is wonderful. I’ve written two books with stories from the fifties when I was a child. Someday I will publish them. A publisher told me that children of today will not enjoy a story from the fifities, so I guess I ‘m on my own with them lol. Thanks Linda, this was fun.

    • Susan,
      I’m glad you had fun reading Joan’s post. I loved it too. Thanks for commenting about your own experiences.

    • Joan Y. Edwards said

      Dear Susan,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed some of the same books as I did when I was in fourth grade. Thank you for being happy that I self published Flip Flap Floodle. I am very glad I did, too. Many people have tod me how their children ask them to read it over and over again. Flip reminds everyone to believe in themselves and Never Give Up. A wonderful song to sing through life for children and adults.

      Celebrate you.
      Believe in you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  12. Great bloopers! 🙂 I have plenty of my own, too. Thanks for sharing the stories behind the stories, too!


  13. […] I told stories to my family when I was a little girl. When I was five I bought hot dogs for my sister’s class thinking they’d let me in her class.  Did it work? Find out here: Joan Y. Edwards on Linda Andersen’s blog. […]

  14. […] I told stories to my family when I was a little girl. When I was five I bought hot dogs for my sister’s class thinking they’d let me in her class.  Did it work? Find out here: Joan Y. Edwards on Linda Andersen’s blog. […]

  15. […] On November 25, 2012, Linda Martin Andersen interviewed me on her blog for It’s Family Stories Month: “Meet Joan Y. Edwards, An Author Who Has Been Telling Stories Since She Was a Child:” https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/its-family-stories-month-meet-joan-y-edwards-an-… […]

  16. […] On November 25, 2012, Linda Martin Andersen interviewed me on her blog for It’s Family Stories Month: “Meet Joan Y. Edwards, An Author Who Has Been Telling Stories Since She Was a Child:” https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/its-family-stories-month-meet-joan-y-edwards-an-… […]

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