“Había una vez… Once upon a time…”

by Carrie Sue Ayvar

Carrie-Sue-Ayvar

Magical words. Each summer at my grandparents’ house, my Grandma Selma would ask us, “Where would you like to go today?” Then she would utter those magical words and we would be off – to Europe, Africa, South America and beyond! She taught us that we could travel around the world, visit other places, times and peoples, all through a story… and still make it home for supper!

She would often add flavor and color to her folktales by incorporating words in the language of the home culture of the story. A bissel of Yiddish in her Shtetl stories or a little Russian in her tales of Baba Yaga made me feel that I was truly transported to those times and places without any need to pack.

My grandparents often told me that “it is harder to hate someone when you know their story.” Incorporating another language into one’s stories provides new perspectives and creates a warm and welcoming way to connect our divergent paths and illuminate the road home. As one young lady put it, “Gracias, I can listen with both my ears – Spanish and English!”

What a fun way to foster a sense of understanding and appreciation of our multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-faceted communities!

Are you interested in adding a second language to your tales? Wondering how? Join me this summer at the 2015 NSN Conference in Kansas City, MO. (July 30 – Aug 2) Celebrate and connect our diverse communities by learning strategies and techniques to incorporate a second language into your stories. Fluency in a second language is NOT required.

About Carrie Sue

Carrie Sue Ayvar, Bilingual (Spanish/English) Storyteller and Teaching Artist, grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, spent summers in South Florida and came of age in Mexico. She now lives in her grandparents’ house where she first learned the art of storytelling! www.carriesueayvar.com

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“Había una vez… Once upon a time…” — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you Carrie Sue. I too love the comment about listening with both ears. What a blessing to have such a creative storytelling grandmother.

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