Before becoming a grandmother, Kim Michele Ingram never told any stories. One day, her grandson, Isaiah, was having trouble taking his nap, and Kim made up a story to help him sleep. “In Search of the Secret Sanctuary: Across Scotland’s River Braan, ” an imaginative fairy tale of magic, witches, princesses and dragons in medieval Scotland, was born. This book was perfect for my daughter, almost eight, who loves fantasy stories. It was also short enough to hold the attention of my five-year-old.
Studies show there are many benefits of telling stories to children, including instilling virtues in them, enhancing verbal proficiency and listening skills, and encouraging creativity and imagination power.
Kim says all of her grandchildren have benefited from “In Search of the Secret Sanctuary.” Isaiah, now a teenager, even wrote the back cover of the book at age 15. Kim hopes other parents and grandparents can also use “In Search of the Secret Sanctuary” to make smooth transitions into nap time, enhance the lives of their children and grandchildren and hand down the art of storytelling.
I had a chance to interview Kim to learn more.
1. What was the inspiration behind the book?
This story originated when I was putting my grandson down for a nap and he didn't have any books in his room. I thought I would be able to come up with a story , so "once upon a time" began. I used Scotland because of my heritage. The story actually just flowed from me and I was amazed and typed out nearly two pages. Each time he took a nap I added to the story, I let the story flow the same way as in the beginning, I never planned what I would say.
After this first story, I just blossomed as a natural storyteller. My grandchildren has enjoyed fantasy stories each night. These stories actually helped my grandchildren become focused, creative, great writers themselves, and storytellers. The grandson I was putting down for a nap I know will be a future author. He actually wrote the back page of my book cover at age 14.
2. Why is it important for kids to read fantasy books?
It is important for children to experience fantasy books because it sparks the imagination of the child and stimulates the mind to be creative. Fantasy also inspires hope in the child. It enables a child to look at their reality and think …what if!
3. Who are your favorite authors?
J K Rowling and Shannon Hale
4. How can parents encourage their own little storytellers?
While you are reading to your child, have them participate in the story by asking them questions like…what do you think will happen next or why do you think she did that?
Always read with enthusiasm, bring emotion to each character, change your voice for each character. If your child can read, ask them what character they want to be, and when you get to their part pass the book to them. You always want reading to be a fun adventure so they will want more. Loving to read enhances their learning ability when they enter school because they already have the love for books.
Puppet Shows are a fun way for children to participate in the shorter classic stories. You can even turn an activity table on its side and put a cloth over it.
Shoe Box or Cookie Tin Stories is a fun way to enjoy a story. If you want to tell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, you will need small doll, 3 bears, table with chairs, 3 chairs, 3 beds, you can pick up everything you need at Michael's for a very low price. Make sure everything is small enough to fit into the cookie tin or shoe box.
Personally, I think every new book should be read by the parent first to make sure the content is appropriate or if there is subject matter your child is not aware of. Fantasy can be fun or frightening. If you have scary subject matter prepare the child and also ask the child can they tell if this is real or not.