Magic Storytelling

Have you noticed how everyone is rediscovering Magic Storytelling? With the advent of the Internet, the clay tablet has been replaced by modern technology, digital downloads of audio books are spilling out and being enjoyed by a voracious global reading community.

Read on to discover a fabulous FREE resource where you can share a beautifully read book online with the little people in your life and enjoy Magic Storytelling.

the original bards

Millenniums ago, carving pictographs within rock caves fulfilled a basic human desire to preserve folklore within cultures across the globe. Then came clay tablets, silk thread and brushes, writing tools made from bone, pottery and shell to record stories upon stone and paper scrolls.

Yet it was the role of the storyteller, the minstrel, bard and troubadour who travelled far and wide to preserve oral traditions with lively poetry, music and dance: the bard entertained his audience and the history of a culture was preserved through their Magic Storytelling.

magic storytelling

The magical world of words that first excites a child’s imagination is often conjured up from fairytales and fables of childhood. This is a time of wonderment where the bard and the book are one, where nothing can replace the drama of a character as beautifully as in the voice of a loved one.

My own experience when I first heard the bard come alive in books were in the voices my father gave to the characters as he breathed life into the tales of Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, Alice in Wonderland and the menagerie in Doctor Dolittle.

As an adult reader who has lost most of my eyesight to a degenerative eye condition, I’ve continued my love of reading by tapping into the world of the audio book.

plug into an audio book

“Feeling short changed for time to read? Plug into an audio book,” says writer, Jamie Lee Wallace. Her article, Audio books are not cheating, points out, “Any few spare moments can be magically transformed into a personal story time just by popping in my headphones while I’m out for my morning walk, running the vacuum, taking a quick lunch break or making dinner.”

Although Jamie sometimes misses the ability to dog-ear pages of printed material, she notes, “There is something about hearing a story read aloud that brings it to life in a more intense way. Hearing the author’s words spoken out loud gives them a greater weight. There is magic in the storyteller’s voice.”

Best of Both Worlds: Reading with Children

Perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy a book is sharing the magic of storytime with your young children or grandchildren. Whether it is the adult or the child who has a visual disability, you might be excited to know, as I was recently, of this brilliant way to share children’s books with the little ones in your family.

Storyline Online is an American website that offers FREE children’s books that are beautifully read by actors from the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. When you select a title from a varied list, a video shows the actor reading the book so that the person who has some vision will see the colourful pages come to life while the blind or visually-impaired person can follow the voice and ambient music sounds so that both of you can be immersed in storytime together.

Although, I will admit, in doing my research for my grandchildren, I found myself clicking to the next story as it was such a delightful ‘performance’. My favourite book in the collection is one called “Stellaluna” by Janell Cannon and is read by Pamela Reed. It is the story of a little night creature who learns “how can we be so different but feel so much alike?” when it learns he is not a bird, but a bat. Even Al Gore reads one title called “Brave Irene” – the child within me is really enjoying being transported back to my love of fairytales.

In a world of rapidly moving trends, it is comforting to know that the tradition of oral storytelling is being transported through audio streams, carrying the creative bard along a current of new digital possibilities to make the print book more accessible for all.

Happy Reading Everyone!

This post is an excerpt written by Maribel from an article published by the Fellowship of Australian Writers  and has also appeared in part online at

Storyline Online A-Z Directory of Children’s Books that are read by actors.



Direct link to “Stella Luna” by Janell Cannon, read by Pamela Reed:

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Copyright © 2017 Maribel Steel

Photos Copyright © 2017 Harry Williamson

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