Storytelling:  The Oral Tradition, Its Modern Uses








Book a Storytelling Performance for your school, church, family, or community event! Or, bring a Storyteller to your business or organization for a professional development workshop.

Ask me about Storytelling for Family Reunions * Weddings * Corporate Gatherings



  • Stories can help to develop self-reflection, insight, reasoning, and critical thinking skills. 
  • Storytelling allows children to ponder the past, envision the future. 


Assemblies & Residencies**


40 – 60 minute Storytelling performances for classroom or assembly

  • Optional:
  • live musician
  • slideshow presentation

3 - 6 week Residencies*

  • 45-minute preview performance
  • 1 artist/teacher meeting
  • 1 - 3 classroom visit per week
  • 1 culminating artist/student performance or project


   Staff Development Workshops*


90 min – 3-hour performance/workshops encourage teachers to integrate storytelling into the K-12 curriculum to explore:


  • Themes of family, community, social equality and justice, cultural diversity and ecological sustainability can be integrated into the curriculum for art, history, science and language arts.


*Includes Resources: Web Sites/Curriculum Guidelines/Follow-up Activities/ Book Lists/Video or Slide Presentation



 Stories and activities designed to encourage exchange between generations, utilizing the maturity and wisdom of the elderly and the vitality and tenacity of youth. 






Audiences of all ages participate in stories to entertain and inspire. Celebrate any occasion, or revitalize the spirit of connectedness and community.





Storytelling for Fun! (Tots - Preteens)



    ·         Storytelling for Fun! Tots to Pre-teens     Reach for the Stars A fun way to build life skills, stories with lessons  of self-esteem and achievement

·        Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie! – Learning through Rhythm and Rhyme.  Explore history through stories, poems, hand clap games, work songs, ring shouts, hollers, blues, and jazz.

·        Who Me, a Hero? Can a Kid Be a Hero? – In folktales, myths, legends, and cartoons, Superheroes--often endowed with great courage and strength--are celebrated for bold and daring feats: Hercules, John Henry, and Spiderman. In real life, there are people in every community who deserve to be called heroes. By believing in yourself and your abilities—you can find the hero in you.









Storytelling for Cultural Literacy




·         HiStory/MyStory/OurStory

Historical fiction, Stories of Freedom and Hope from African and African American History. Emphasis on early history of African Americans in Philadelphia.

·        Grace & Power – Women’s History, Stories of Sheroes from every walk of life who have lived with courage and dignity to raise a family and a nation

·        American Literary Classics – Stories extracted from the “roots” of American literature that both reflect and influence the character of the nation.

·        Weaving Stories, Textile Tales: Patterns and Symbols in African Folktales and FabricAfrican cultural patterns and symbols are expressed in stories and proverbs, carved on wood, and woven into cloth. In West Africa, weaving plays an important role in all aspects of daily life. The intricate patterns and symbols on each Kente, Adinkra, Bogolanfini or Adire cloth tell a story. The Storyteller tells Stories and Folktales with colorful people, talking animals, humor, suspense, and action all brought to life with music and movement.

Historical Performance/Re-enactment



Voice of Truth - Sojourner

In a powerful portrayal of Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883) the storyteller expounds on the role of women throughout history as the Voice of Truth. Born enslaved as Isabella Baumfree, she snatched her freedom, changed her name and sojourned around the country speaking out against slavery and for women's rights.




Denise Valentine as Sojourner Truth



Available for Tour Groups and Family Reunions!


Roots & Wings s a supporter of The Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC) is a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PCVB) that works to increase Philadelphia’s share of the multi-cultural convention and tourism markets and ensure that people of color are an integral part of Philadelphia’s growing hospitality industry.


For Direct Inquiries see Contact Page.



Storytelling for Peace, Conflict Resolution, and Ec
ological Sustainability



  •     Envision Peace: Storytelling as a Tool for Coexistence – Creating a Culture of Peace through Humanistic Education; symbiosis (the wisdom of living together) emphasizes the ethic of reciprocity, global awareness, human rights and social justice

  •      Reading Can Change the World! – Interactive stories, songs and games from around the world to promote understanding and appreciation of the world's diversity; builds creative problem solving skills 



  •           A Village Called Earth – Myths, legends, folklore and original stories to celebrate nature, and teach the importance of preserving our environment


  •           Wisdom of the Ages – 'Folk Knowledge,' Indigenous or 'Traditional' Wisdom applied to today's dilemmas



 Storytelling for Recovery and Empowerment (Young Adults/Adults)

  •           ISIS (Instilling Self-Esteem in Sisters) – Self-discovery through story sharing, book and film discussion, and journal writing


  • Reclaiming Power & Dignity Through Story – Stories of healing and empowerment for at-risk youth, teen parents, battered women, inmates and ex-offenders


  •           Stories to Heal the Heart – Stories of Divine Love, Sacred Love, Love & Respect for Humanity, Love for Mother Earth, and Father Sky, Higher Love, Tough Love, One Love  

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Consulting - Current Projects

Working Group - Making History Matter

January 2012   May 2012    

MAKING HISTORY MATTER is a five month project facilitated by historian, Phillip Seitz, and funded by a grant from the Heritage Philadelphia Program of the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. In collaboration with psychologists, educators and historians, a working group from many backgrounds examines how history—particularly Philadelphia's neglected heritage of slavery—can create meaning for many and help people deal with difficult issues such as racism.


Historytelling - Storytelling as a tool for historical analysis, interpretation and program planning.

December 2011 - Present       A project funded by The Heritage Philadelphia Program of The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage to develop a workshop and resource curriculum guide for a performance-centered conception and interpretation of history, exploring the use of storytelling as a tool for addressing difficult knowledge and historical trauma.


History/MyStory/OurStory - Cliveden Scholar Project

January 2011   Present        Crafting and Telling Historical Stories - A storytelling and folk arts residency involving research and interpretation, story crafting and oral performance.

Storyteller Denise Valentine works together with students at Lankenau Environmental Science Magnet High School to develop stories from archival materials documenting the lives of the Chew Family in Philadelphia, and the Africans they enslaved, both at Cliveden and at Whitehall Plantation in Delaware. They will attempt, through storytelling, to illuminate the individual lives of the enslaved Africans, drawing from African and African American folklore, culture and oral history to fill in what is lost to distortion and neglect. The hope is to give a sense of the agency and dignity with which they faced the institution of slavery as they struggled to raise their families and build community. Funded by the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership (PAEP) and Cliveden, a National Trust Historic Site.

For Consulting, please send a Letter of Inquiry to



Visit my Store for:

Amazon and Reverb Nation Items
Books, Reading Apps, Tees & iPad covers

Business and Personal Voice Services

  • Commercial Voiceover
  • PSAs – Public Service Announcements
  • Narration – Film and Documentary



“WOW!  . . .a splendid treat,  . . .a craftily, creative weaver of folklore.”  -- Lillian Brookins-Clarke, Christian Arts Bank Society


"Just exquisite -- your tone and lilting voice carried me off to another space, out of time and way into my heart." -- Janet Berkowitz, Earth Charter Summit participant


"Thank you for your uplifting songs and stories!"        -- Child Life Specialist,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


"Oh, what a wonderful time we had. Thank you so very much for the insightful stories and teachable music lesson."  --Across the Ages, Temple University

"Thank you. We loved having you here.  --First grade classes and children of [Frederick] Douglass School, Betsy Wice, Reading Teacher


 "That was soothing, provocative, [and] inspiring, all at the same time." -- Ian Cross, MYX Gallery, Philadelphia









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**Funding Available for Folk Arts Residencies from September 2009 to August 2010. School and Community hosts sites in southeastern Pennsylvania must submit an Artist Residency Request Form by January 9, 2009. For more info visit Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership (PAEP) website.

Lecture/Demonstrations may also be booked by contacting the
 Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s Commonwealth Speakers Bureau.









Philadelphia, PA  19126