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Read It Again, Mom

Don’t stint on the art of storytelling.

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Tell me a story!” can become an oppressively familiar demand, and repeating tales ad nauseam can feel rote. Nonetheless, New York’s official storyteller, Diane Wolkstein, insists the act always adds to a rich tradition: “Storytelling is about being close, sharing. You react to how they react. You’re creating something that wouldn’t exist if not for the two of you.” Last year, when Mayor Bloomberg declared a Diane Wolkstein Day, she used the honor to launch the CelebrateStory Day; on June 22, the second annual CelebrateStory takes place at the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park. Sure to appeal to story lovers young and old, the program includes eight storytellers from the world over who will spend five full hours spinning tales. Wolkstein herself will tell a Chinese story and a Haitian one. There will be traditional, national, and folk tales geared to kids 8 and up (unless your young youngsters are the sort to sit through epics). Wolkstein hopes the range will give families “an idea of the fullness, richness, and possibility” of the medium. Expect an interactive element too. If someone tells a tale of courage, Wolkstein will ask the audience to tell the people next to them about the bravest thing they ever did. This give and take is key to storytelling, says Wolkstein: “This is the essence: share something of yourself with me. Storytelling elicits the possibilities of being brave, of venturing, of caring, of understanding—of something larger than yourself. It makes us more compassionate, more courageous, and more full of imagination. And it enriches us; it’s a gift of love.” So tell your kids the story they’re asking for, even if it’s for the zillionth time.

6/22, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Hans Christian Andersen Statue, Central Park, 72nd St. at Fifth Ave. (celebratestory.com or dianewolkstein.com); free.


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