A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Posts Tagged ‘opposites’

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

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Interviews, Monthly Activities, Reading, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments »

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