Library to host traveling storytelling

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge will honor Black History Month with a Good Times Traveling Theater storytelling event featuring Safiya Johnson at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Brundidge Station in downtown Brundidge. The public is invited.

Jennifer Amlong, children’s librarian, said Johnson is a traveling griot.

“A griot is someone who keeps the oral history alive – a storyteller,” she said.

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In Africa, griots travel to villages telling stories that teach social and moral lessons that adults can share with their children at home.

“The oral history tradition of telling folktales brings families together in Africa just as storytelling does here,” Amlong said.

“We met Safiya Johnson when we attended a summer reading program clinic. She was a very good storyteller and we wanted to have her at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library during Black History Month. She will be telling African folk tales and some stories about ‘Brother Rabbit.’”

Johnson has worked as a master storyteller for several years. While completing a master’s degree in storytelling and reading at East Tennessee State University, she devoted many hours as a member of the taletellers service club to telling stories at elementary schools across the Appalachian region.

Johnson also participated in numerous tale-telling shows in the Johnson City, Tenn., area.

She tells stories in a variety of venues including churches, senior citizen programs, Boys and Girls clubs, schools, community festivals and libraries across the Southeast.

To further expand her love of keeping the oral tradition of storytelling alive, Johnson has created a kid-friendly play, “In the Shadow of the Baobab Tree: Folktales from Around the World.” The play teaches positive life lessons and the value of the performing arts.

Everyone is invited to the storytelling event at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge Thursday. Admission is free.