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Storytelling for Children Conference at Keene State College Explores Why Stories Are Powerful

KEENE, N.H., 4/3/08 - Storyteller Laura Simms will be the keynote speaker at Keene State College’s Storytelling for Children Conference on Sat., Apr. 12. Now in its 16th year, this annual conference brings together innovative educators, authors, and performers who inspire audiences with their tales on the stage, in the classroom, and at conferences around the world.

In her keynote address, “Why are Stories Powerful? Family Stories and Early Education,” Simms will explore the power of narrative to heal and transform. Drawing on her own story about her son, Ishmael Beah (author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Child Soldier), Laura will share the process of reciprocal listening and how it empowers our youth to strengthen their lives.

Laura Simms has earned worldwide recognition and honors for her performances of traditional stories interwoven with personal narrative. She has long been committed to spirituality, healing, education, women’s issues, human rights, and working with children. In 1999, she won the Sesame Street Sunny Days Award for her contributions to children of the world and has received many awards for her books, tapes, and projects. After the events of September 11, 2001, she spearheaded the book Stories to Nourish the Hearts of Children in a Time of Crisis and, in the fall of 2003, created A Key to the Heart and Other Afghan Tales to benefit children’s education in Afghanistan. Her newest book, Becoming the World, has served thousands of teachers worldwide in addressing issues of tolerance and resilience.

After the keynote address, participants go to small-group workshops, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. At 3 p.m., everyone is invited to a public storytelling session featuring the day’s speakers.

Small group workshops will include “Signing Your Life Away! Sharing Your Story the Deaf Way,” “Learning How to Tell a Story,” “Story Bridges: Story, Community, and Cross-Cultural Communication,” “Bodystories: Mime and Movement for Storytellers,” “Bringing the Magic of Storytelling to Preschoolers,” “Making Fairy Tales with Children: Finding the Hidden Story,” and “Unseen Borders: Stories in Sign and Voice.”

For more information, please visit the event website at

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435