Everyone has a story worth telling.

That’s the message Vermont children’s book author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock shares with students across Vermont, New Hampshire, and around the country. Natalie practices what she preaches. Many of her 25 children’s books are based on amazing true stories from her own extended family.

CLiF often sends Natalie to spend up to ten days working with children in a Year of the Book school. Natalie asks each child to select one family member they wish to research and profile. Through her Story Keepers curriculum she teaches them how to identify different types of artifacts such as old photos, how to search the town clerk’s archives, explore online resources, and interview family members

The program culminates in a grand finale event when all the students share their projects with the entire community. Last week I had the great pleasure of attending two such Story Keepers Finale events in Albany, VT and Sheldon, VT. Both celebrations were unforgettable.

In each case, the gym was transformed into a museum. Students stood proudly beside their research projects, answered questions, explained artifacts, and recounted uncovered stories. The gyms were packed community members who were there to celebrate reading, writing, stories, and family. A wonderful combination.

The tales the students captured alternate between quaint, funny, heartbreaking, and heartwarming. Check out some examples below.

How Lucy learned to swim
Baseball story keepers
Submarine story
Keith and the radio
Spark storykeepers

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