Brian "Fox" Ellis
Storyteller - Author - Naturalist
"Kids who normally get bored and squirmy were rapt; parents who are known to check their phones constantly were thoughtfully engaged."
April Hayley, MLIS - Children’s Librarian -San Anselmo Library
Muriel visits the German International School of Silicon Valley. Watch video
A Bit About Muriel
Muriel was born and raised in Salisbury, MD (Maryland). She grew up in an environment where language was celebrated. Her mother was an English teacher, actress and avid reader. As a child Muriel would sit in awe as her mother would read, tell stories, sing songs and recite nursery rhymes. By the age of five Muriel had acquired an extraordinary vocabulary, soaring imagination and gift of expression. It was only natural that when Muriel became a mother and a teacher that she was compelled to share the same way her mother had shared with her.
Muriel recently relocated to New England from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the mother of three children and has been an Early Childhood Educator for 27 years. As a professional storyteller, she has performed for students of all ages, from preschoolers heading to kindergarten through PhDs exiting graduate school. Not only has she performed at multiple schools and colleges, but also at churches, museums, festivals and countless other venues from Wyoming to West Africa and California to Cape Town, South Africa.
Adding author to her repertoire, in 2021 Muriel published her first children's book, We Sing Like This.
How does Muriel adapt her style to the different audiences?
Middle and high school students
Because preschoolers have shorter attention spans, I engage them with song, movement, and call-and-response to keep them focused and entertained. I also use repetition in my telling of stories which, combined with call-and-response, naturally compels them to anticipate “their part”. Preschool children engage excitedly with my interactive methods and are made to feel that they are co-creating the story.
Elementary-age children are typically curious and astute learners. For younger elementary students (kindergarten to second grade), I typically use similar methods as I do with preschool children (such as repetition and call-and-response) as they often have similar propensities and attention spans. Older elementary children are often able to pay closer attention to the details of a story and are able to notice the behaviors and motives of the characters. Because older elementary students are typically a very tuned-in audience, I enjoy sharing more intricate tales that involve some sort of moral dilemma. This inspires them to analyze and reflect on their own experiences navigating challenging situations. Furthermore, with both younger and older elementary students, I often use a lot of humor as it captivates them and harnesses their high energy.
Middle and high school students have the capacity to grasp more complicated concepts and sophisticated storylines. They have a strong sense of justice and delight in following stories with multiple characters who are navigating tricky situations. Through my telling, I take them on a thought-provoking journey and often leave them guessing and eagerly anticipating what will happen next. I choose more mature tales that are age-appropriate and encourage empathy, respect for humanity, wise decision making and require them to consider the perspective of another.