Friday, August 21, 2015

Story Telling

                                                                                                                              'photo Shirley King


             Many eons ago, people  sat around a fire on a cold winter nights. They listened to a story. On summer evenings they did the same. On lakeside, beach, mountain, desert  or river bank, it didn’t matter. Stories were remembered, invented, created. Young and old enjoyed listening.
             People have gathered to hear stories for thousands of years.  The first storytellers had only their voices, their memories, and their imagination, but their stories were cherished, remembered and passed on.  Stories were told before pencils, books, television, radio, computers, tablets or cell phones were even imagined.
.           The Story Teller was a special person in the community. His or her task was not only to entertain, but to answer big questions. Humans have always had big questions to wonder about.
            They wondered about the big fireball in the sky. Why did it appear every day and go away every night?  They watched that other light, too. They wondered why that big silver light came in the night. Why did it come sometimes as a silver crescent, and other times as a complete round disk?
            Whenever people wondered about mysterious events in their lives, they hoped the storyteller would help them understand it. 
            Story Tellers were special. They had to remember every detail of the story and be able to invent new stories. To be a story teller was a special calling.
            As time went on, story tellers, discovered they could draw their stories on the walls of caves. Later, people who wanted to remember stories made paper from papyrus. Papyrus was a plant with fibers that could be woven together. Story tellers learned to use thorns, and tips of feathers to write on paper with vegetable dyes,
            Other story tellers used clay tablets. Papyrus and clay tablets could be carried and shared with others.  Stories were passed on for hundreds of years in this way.     
            Then, in 1440, a German man, named Johannes Gutenberg, invented a machine that printed letters on paper. The first dated book known had been printed in China, but Gutenberg’s  Press launched modern printing. Stories were available for reading by many, many people. More and more people learned not only to tell stories, but to read then, too.
            Later, radio and television brought stories to even more people.
            Today, we have computers, tablets, cell phones and many varieties of these. Many more people have access to stories.
            Now we know many facts about that fireball, the sun, and the night light, we call the moon. But there are still many big questions which scientists still wonder about. Story tellers still try to answer them.  In fact, some of our modern inventions were first spoken of by story tellers and then invented by others who thought about the ideas of the story tellers.
            Leonardo Da Vinci, a famous artist, in the 1480’s, watched how birds flew. He thought there was a way for people to fly. He put his thoughts and drawings in notebooks which are still read today.
Chester Greenwood, a 13-year old boy in Farmington, Maine, thought about how cold his ears got while he ice skated. He made little ear covers for his ears. At first, his friends laughed at him. Then, they noticed that, he played outside long after their cold ears sent them inside. Later, Chester obtained a patent and made his fortune on ear muffs
Many people tell stories today. Sports announcers tell us the stories of games and athletes. News reporters tell us stories of what is happening in our world.
Authors and writers create stories to entertain us. These stories are called fiction.
Stories can be about things that are going on right now or that have happened in the past. When the story is about one of these events or people, or things, they are called Nonfiction.
While fiction may not mention the name or tell the details of an event as it happened, fiction often tells us very important truths.  For example, if you want to read a story about how life actually was when Charles Dickens, a great writer, was alive, read A Christmas Carol, or David Copperfield.   Mr. Dickens lived then. Terrible things happened to poor people. He might have gotten into trouble, been put in jail or even put to death if he gave the names and addresses of people who were responsible for the awful things that happened.  Instead he created fiction stories. Everybody understood what he was writing, even though he did not mention actual names and addresses.
In the United States of America we are very fortunate because we have freedom of the press. Mr. Gutenberg made the first “press.”  Since then there have been many new kinds of printing presses. However, when we refer to the freedom to write, we call it freedom of the press. That is any type of written material that anyone distributes.
If the story, news report or whatever is spoken, then the person is exercising freedom of speech, too.
These rights are very important. What is said to be nonfiction must be factually true. We cannot use our freedom of speech to lie about anyone, or misrepresent what has happened.
Fiction writers can create a story about actual events, but they may not name actual people or cite events, actions, or situations. They have to change names, addresses, and sometimes even the event.  Nevertheless, they can tell the story, just as Mr. Dickens and many other authors have by creating names, places, events.
My book SECRET MELODY is an example of fiction based on actual events. I could create the story because it is well known that people are fleeing from terrorists, that child immigrants are being brought across borders, I told the story of a boy and girl who were separated from their parents by terrorists, how it happened and what happened to them. I did not name the terrorists. The children had fictional names. Their adventures were described without giving names of actual people.
I like being a storyteller.  Storytelling continues today as it began eons ago. Let’s create stories that will entertain and inspire others on cold winter nights and on warm summer days. Stories can delight us, cheer us up when we are sad, and help us think about this wonderful world. Write a story today!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Book

Don't miss Elephant Joan and her antics when she finds a cell phone in her path!
available online

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Elizabeth V Roach
Discover why Benny wonders why the tree is crying.
 Thomas hears a "little sound."  What is it?
Benabab meets three basket makers. What happens?
What is the new custom from another land that
Peter and Marisa try?
New book available online in paperback and e-book.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Running Friends

Running Friends

       Kamau wanted to be a long distance runner. He lived in the Kenyan Desert near the city of Bura and he practiced running every day.His friend, Abiria, often ran with him.  One day, as they were on their way to school, Kamau said, “I saw the new teacher. He looks mean, and he is missing one leg.”

Abiria’s eyes opened wide. His mouth was wide open too. “How will he teach us Physical Education without a leg,” he asked.

Kamau shrugged. “I don’t know, but we are scheduled for his first class.” The bell rang as the two boys stepped into the school yard. They hurried to get in line where the new teacher stood.

“Straighten your line,” the new teacher barked in a loud voice. “March,” he bellowed.

Kamau marched tall and confident. He was the best marcher in the school. Abiria trembled, but tried to keep in step with Kamau. When they got to the field for exercise, the new teacher, said,
“I am your new teacher. You will call me Mr.Johnson. Yes, I have a prosthesis for my right leg. I have learned to use it for many things.  So, don’t try anything.”

After class, Abiria said, “Wow, Kamau! How did he get us to do all those stunts with one leg!”

Kamau made a face. ‘He scowls at us. Why can’t he be jolly and laugh once in a while.”

“I don’t know,” Abiria said.  “Maybe the leg hurts.”

Next day, Kamau asked the teacher a question about the exercises? “Sir,” he asked. “Why are we doing this exercise first?  The other teacher did this one after we practiced running.”

“I am not the other teacher. We will do it this way,” Mr. Johnson said. Kamau saw the teacher was string t him and waiting for something. Kamau stood still. The whole class was quiet. Mr Johnson stared at Kamau.

Then, Mr. Johnson barked, “Yes, Sir!”

Kamau mumbled, “Yes, Sir.”

“Speak up,”  Mr. Johnson barked at Kamau.

Kamau shouted, “Yes, Sir.” Mr. Johnson continued the class.

On the way home from school, Kamau complained to his friend. “Abiria, I don’t like that teacher.”

When he reached home, Kamau announced, “Papa, I am not going to Physical Education class.”

“Yes, you are, Kamau,” his father said.

“But I don’t want to go while that new teacher is here. He only has one leg and he’s mean.”  Kamau pouted.

His father said, “Kamau, that is not an intelligent decision. You need to learn the skills of Physical Education.  You don’t hurt the teacher by skipping class. You hurt yourself.”

Kamau said, “I don’t like him!”

“Kamau, everyone likes to be liked.  Like him and you will see he will like you.   Do you know how he lost his leg?”

‘No, and I don’t care,” Kamau said. But next day, Kamau decided to see if what his father said was true.

During recess Kamau walked over to Mr. Johnson who stood alone near the school door. Kamau swallowed and tried to keep his voice steady as he asked, “Sir, How did you lose your leg?”

“It is a long story, young man. I wanted to be a runner. I did not have a teacher and I ran on a highway.  I got hit by a car. Thank you for asking. You are brave to ask,” the teacher said. He smiled at Kamau.

Kamau got all flustered. He said, “Yes, Sir.” And ran back to where Abiria waited for him.

“What happened?” Abiria asked.

“He was nice. He didn’t yell,” Kamau said.

“But what did he SAY?” Abiria asked.

“He got it running. He was running like I do, on the highway,” Kamau said.

Next day, the teacher asked, “Who wants to be a runner?”

Kamau and four other boys raised their hands.  Mr. Johnson said, “Meet me after school.”

After school, Mr. Johnson gave the boys tips on what would help them to run faster. He taught them how to breathe effectively, when to stop, and how much water to drink/.

Each day after school, Kamau and his friends ran. They practiced hard. Mr. Johnson selected Kamau and Abiria to run in the District Competition.

They practiced everyday. They could not wait for the day to arrive. “Tomorrow we run,” Abiria said to Kamau on the eve of the District Competition.”

Kamau said, “Yes, and my father is going to take us there.”  Kamau could hardly sleep that night with excitement. In the morning, he jumped up, ready to go to the competition., but his father was very sick. He seemed to have some acute pain in his right side.

Kamau, s mother said, ‘I am sorry, but you must stay here to care for your little brothers. I must take your father to the hospital. “

When Abiria arrived to travel to the District Competition, Kamau told him to go to the school. He could travel to the competition with Mr. Johnson and the other boys.  Abiria was very sad. He did not want to go without Kamau.

Kamau insisted and Abiria went off to school.

Kamau held back his tears until his parents had gone to the hospital. He sent his little brothers out to play. Then, he sat in the doorway watching them. Tears flowed down his cheeks. He did not weep about not going to the competition.  His fear was much deeper.  How could he go on without his father?

When his mother returned, she said his father would stay in the hospital for a while, but he was going to recover.  “Kamau,” his mother said. “Your father has pain, but he seems even sadder that you had to miss the competition because of him.”

Kamau swallowed hard. He said, “Mama,”, “There will be other competitions. Papa is more important that a race.”

Kamau’s mother patted him on the head. “Your father will be happy to hear that you said that.”

Next day, Kamau went to class. Mr. Johnson announced to the whole school that Abiria had done very well in the competition.  “We must practice now for the National Competition,” he said.

Abiria whispered to Kamau, “I would not have won, if you had been there. Practice, you can win the  National.  Kamau slapped Abiria on the back. You are a good runner, Abiria, and YOU won, but thank you for being such a good friend, too.

The boys continued to run after school. Mr. Johnson coached them. They won many competitions, and their friendship endured.  When they finished school, Kamau went on to join and win many races. Abiria became a doctor, specializing in Sports Medicine. When Kamau competed in a race, Abiria was always there to cheer for him. Abiria married first. He named his first child Kamau. When Kamau married he named his first child Abiria. Mr Johnson was godfather for both children.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Good King Wenceslaus


Good King Wencelaus was a kind and generous nobleman in Bohemia more than a thousand years ago.  He went out of his way to help the poor people on his lands. He was so good that people felt happy just to see him. They came to believe that just being near him was a blessing.
On the day after Christmas, the feast of St. Stephen, Good King Wenceslaus looked out his window.  He saw  a poor servant walking home in a blizzard.
Good King Wenceslaus called a servant and asked him to gather food and firewood. The  King wanted to go to the poor man’s house to help him. He wanted the poor man to have food and a warm house.
Good King Wenceslaus set out in the snow.  The servant walked behind him.  When the servant felt the cold and it was hard to walk in the blizzard.  He said, “Good King, I cannot go on.” If the servant turned back alone, he would get lost in the blizzard.
Good King Wencelaus encouraged him saying, “I will make the path. Try stepping in my footsteps.”
As he walked in the footsteps of Good King Wenceslaus, the servant felt warm again. Together, the King and the servant trudged on through the blizzard. Later, the servant told everyone about how even in a blizzard, he felt warm near Good King Wencelaus.

That is why a famous Christmas Carol begins with the words, “Good King Wenceslaus, on the feast of Stephen, . . ”

The lyrics were written by  John Mason Neale, but the tune was found in an ancient Finnish Hymn Book.

Books by Elizabeth V Roach can be found at

Maryknoll Sisters - Making God's Love Visible in 26 countries!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Jane Shares her Religion Lesson with Her Little Brother

Year of Faith

God loves us!  God loves us!   God loves us!

Jane Shares her Religion Lesson with Her Little Brother

   When Jane came home from school, Billy pleaded, “Jane, push me on the swing Dad made for me.”
   Jane said, “Okay, and I will tell you a story, too.”
She took Billy by the hand and walked him to the back yard. Jane lifted Billy into the swing.  She pushed it gently.
    Billy said, “Tell me the story!”
   Jane said, “Jesus was going around his country telling people about God, his Father.
   Crowds gathered wherever he went.  And people wanted to get up close to see and hear him.
   “Billy, Jesus cured people of all kinds of things.  He could make blind people see, and he fixed the ears of people who couldn’t hear, so that they could hear everything. He even brought people back to life.
   And one day, people were crowding around him. The Apostles, his closest friends, were trying to keep people from pushing and shoving.  Some women wanted Jesus to bless their children.  I guess they were really pushing their children up front.
   So, some of the apostles, stopped them. They told them to get away, because they were crowding Jesus. And do you know what happened?”
   Billy, wide–eyed turned in the swing to look at Jane behind him.  “What happened?” he asked.
   “Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me.’ Jesus really likes children. He talked to them and he blessed them.  
   “And Mr James, my catechist, says Jesus loves us, too. And we can tell Jesus anything at all and he will listen. Right now, we can talk to Jesus because he promised to be with us always.”
   Billy’s eyes opened even wider. “You mean Jesus is here right now?”
  “Yes,” Jane said, “And he likes to be with us. Want to tell Jesus anything?”
   Billy said, “Oh, Jesus, THANK YOU for this swing Dad made for me.”
   Jane said, “That’s a nice prayer, Billy?”

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jane Prepares for First Holy Communion

Year of Faith! 

  Jane came running in from school. She wanted to find her little brother Billy, but he was playing in the back yard.  "Billy, Billy?  Where are you?"

As she ran through the house, she grinned from ear to ear. She opened the screen door and ran into the yard.  "Billy," she said.  "I am going to make my First Holy Communion!"

Billy was busy filling his little pail with black dirt. He was going to plant flower seeds his mother had given him. When he saw his sister,  he looked up.
Jane grabbed him by both shoulders and repeated, "I am going to make my First Holy Communion!"
"What's that?" Billy asked.
"Billy, you know. You see Mom and Dad going up to the front of the church every Sunday. They are receiving Holy Communion, and I am going to do it, too.
"But Mom and Dad always tell you to stay with me. Am I going to be all by myself now?"
"No, Silly! Mom and Dad will figure out something."
"Jane, what's Holy Communion? Why can you and Mom and Dad get it and not me?"
"First," Jane said, "You are not old enough. You have to reach the age of reason."
Billy made a face. "Age of reason?"
"That means you have to be at least seven and understand what's right and wrong."
"I am five and a half, and I know what's right and wrong."
"Well, sometimes you do, but not always. Like the other day when Dad saw you sitting in the car and trying to start it.."
"Dad was mad about that! But he said he will teach me when I am old enough to get a license. There are a lot of things only old people can do."
"Billy, I am not OLD!  I am just old enough to receive Jesus."
"You are going to receive Jesus? How?"
"That's what I'm telling you. Jesus is going to come to me in Holy Communion?
And Mr. James is going to prepare me."
"How is he going to do that?"
"I don't know, but he said the first thing is to tell Jesus everyday that I want Him to come to me."