Storyteller J’miah Nabawi joins 13th annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival

Storyteller J’miah Nabawi joins 13th annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival

Our partner, Live Oak Public Libraries, and the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs,  is presenting the 13th annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Forsyth Park. Local Storyteller J’miah Nabawi is performing this year as well at the Savannah Children’s Book Festival. Nabawi’s amazing storytelling has thrilled children for over the last 30 years.  Nabawi is our guest of honor at the upcoming Savannah Quill book convention on March 11, 2017.

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Dr. Dana Taylor

Dr. Dana L. Taylor will serve as the Official American Sign Language Interpreter for the 2016 Savannah Children’s Book Festival. This will be Dr. Taylor’s eleventh year as the festival’s American Sign Language Interpreter, having been the principal interpreter and primary consultant since the festival’s interest in providing Sign Language interpreting services for Savannah’s deaf individuals and community. Dr. Taylor will also be interpreting for Nabawi. For more information about Dr. Taylor, please check out her bio here.Below is a question and answers interview we had with Nabawi about the upcoming festival.


SQ: Please talk about what you will be doing at the festival.

JN: Hi, Adam! At this year’s 2016 Savannah Children’s Book Festival, I will open the International Tent with an 11am interactive workshop for parents, teachers, children of all ages whom may have always wanted to do storytelling as a performance or reading aloud to an audience in a way to engage people, especially children. The workshop is called Bringing Storybooks Alive: Let’s Make the Animals Talk! More details and the International Tent schedule can be found at http://www.booksforgrowingminds.com

SQ: How many years have you been going?

JN: Actually, this past August 26, 2016 made exactly thirty years to the day when I first stepped out on a stage in Philly to tell tales and stories to a community of retirees and their grandchildren.

SQ: Please tell the readers about your history of how you became a storyteller.

JN: Briefly, I had just returned home from having lived in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico for several years and wanted to see what was up and going on in Philly that weekend. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was featuring a well-known African Griot (Storyteller and much more), Djimo Kouyate, from Senegal, West Africa. I went to go see it and was quite impressed and inspired by his engaging storytelling and use of various African instruments. The following weekend, I saw that “the Official Storyteller of Philadelphia, Linda Goss, was being featured for a family program of storytelling at The Please Touch Museum. I went to see it and again, the high energy and how she was engaging the audience and getting the children and adults to participate (myself included) both in their seats and on stage I believe was the factor that really got me thinking and wondering if it was something I could. After the show, I introduced myself to Ms. Goss, she invited me to her workshop, took me under her wings as a mentee and, as we all say, the rest is history. I credit her for really having gotten me involved with storytelling on a professional level. The longer version of this story will be in my book, I Tell Tales, forthcoming in March, 2017.

SQ: Please tell the readers about your upcoming book.

JN: Apart from I Tell Tales, first the most recent is Why Spiders Hide in Corners (Ananse Makes It So!). Now having some experience under my belt, my mentor Ms. Goss invited me to submit a story for the book she was doing for a Simon and Schuster publication, Talk That Talk: An Anthology of African and African American Storytelling. My first “stand alone” self-published book, it can now be found in Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinse thanks to some friends and is currently in Amazon’s global markets. However, I’m really excited about a series I’ve named Three Tales Tall. Each book will feature a combination of either three stories, folktales or both that I either retell, adapt for performances or write anew. Available next month are: Three Tales Tall: Sungurah ~ The Great Wall of China~ Bruh Rabbit; and Three Tales Tall: Sun and Moon ~ Life ~ Justice Prevails. Both volumes featuring stories from China, Ethiopia, Kenya and the Southeastern United States.

SQ: What do you say to aspiring story tellers and authors?

JN: Follow your interests and a model/style of storytelling and story-writing, a mentor; check out the various storytellers and make conversation with those you connect with; like-mindness is cool. Some of these may lead you to your niche where you feel more like yourself. Influences are alright as long as within that you find your own voice and vision to where you can say, “this feels more like me.”

For more information about J’miah Nabawi go to www.jmiahnabawi.com

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