SunBee Circle at your Child’s School!

SunBee Circle is super psyched and honored to be on the roster of Young Audiences Houston! If you would like SunBee Circle to come to your child’s school for a residency, this is now possible. SunBee is a great program for early childhood literacy… and for imagination!

To schedule a residency or find out more information, contact


The Crystal and the Whale: Hear the Stories!

         $8.00 for over an hour of stories!
illustration by Brooke Bailey

illustration by Brooke Bailey

Hear the first tale free!  Part One: “To Be a Warrior”


About The Crystal and the Whale

Sister and Brother Keiki and Ley have always lived on the tropical island paradise of Lemuria.  There are volcanoes to climb, wild waves to surf, and and whales to ride.  But when Keiki’s initiation ceremony to become a warrior goes terribly wrong, the children find themselves washed by a violent tsunami to the shores of a space-age city: Atlantis.  This glittering metropolis is full of wonders: an Intergalactic Council where aliens discuss laws with humans, a University where you can learn to shapeshift, and a Hospital where all the healing is done with crystal power.  Can Keiki and Ley ever survive in this strange new world?

And… how will they ever get home again?

(suggested ages 6-11)

*These stories were recorded live at Whole Kids Summer Camp, August, 2016.  Many thanks goes out to the children for their responses and inspiration.













When the Storyteller meets the Dancer

How shall a Storyteller collaborate with a Dancer?

Well, first the Storyteller spins a story to a group of very imaginative kids, ages 7-11 years old.

The story is about two lands: one is the tropical paradise island of Lemuria, and the other is the crystal urban labyrinth of space-aged Atlantis.

After the story, she gives them paper and crayons to draw scenes from the story.  That’s an okay idea, but the kids explain to her that what they what they really need is to build.  Out come the magnet blocks.  The children begin to build the crystal structures, how they imagine the buildings of Atlantis to be.  It was the architecture that interested them most.




Now the Storyteller’s work is done.  The kids transition into the dance studio with Amanda Barrett Hayes (who runs a lovely movement program for children, Moving-Body).  The Dancer.




Amanda asks the kids: “If you were in the streets of Atlantis, how would you move?  How would you move through this techno city?  Like a robot?  Fast? Slow?  Are there tunnels to crawl through? Are there crowds to get through?”

The kids begin to unroll yoga mats and lay them out like streets.  Techno music plays, and they begin to fly through space, and crawl, and roll, drop to the ground, spring up again, pivot, freeze, and turn.



The song ends.

Now it is time for Lemuria.

The Dancer asks:

“How would you move if you were in Lemuria?  Through the sea, how do you dive, are there animals?”

She opens a magic box filled with color, and passes out silk veils to all the children.

Music.  A drumbeat, with a sprinkling of piano falling like petals.

The children begin to fly around the space with the silk and color, like butterflies.

And as for me,  the Storyteller, I have been watching this entranced.  And I know that tomorrow my story will have tunnels, and bridges, and animals, and children who move like butterflies.


This post is part of a series about my experiences collaborating with educators, artists and children at Whole Kids Summer Camp, Houston.


SunBee Circle has a New Home!

Hi dear SunBee friends, how I have missed you all since June!

I have been working hard to find the perfect space to have SunBee Circle this school year.  I loved the Te Garden, but last Spring really made me realize that in Houston, when it rains, it POURS FLOODS.  I am so grateful to all of y’all who were rescheduled and rescheduled again!

This year SunBee will take place at South Blvd Yoga, just where Montrose meets West U.  A friend knew a friend, yoga teacher and brand new mama Tara.  Her space is dear- a bright, sunny turquoise room for the heat, rain and cold, and a garden for all the other times.  Thank you Tara, Aaron and baby O for giving us a home.

Pictures coming soon!


Butterflies and Tricksters

I have always wanted to make a puppet show adaptation of “How the Butterflies Came to Be.”  I first discovered this story from Michael Caduto and Joseph Bruchac’s  Keepers of the Animals.  It is not particularly a young child’s story but I felt I could adapt it for very small children- after all, that’s who Elder Brother made the butterflies for!  Children have always reminded me of butterflies- their bright colors and smiles, their fragility and promise, even the light, bobbing, darting ways they move.

Elder Brother, who combined flowers, leaves, pollen and pine needles to create the butterflies for children.

Elder Brother, who combined flowers, leaves, pollen and pine needles to create the butterflies for children.

Many children right now are learning about butterflies in school and I felt this story would dovetail nicely with that.  As we all know, our own native monarch butterflies are at risk.  Milkweed is what they must have to live and reproduce, so planting some will keep our beautiful friends around.

I was lucky and found a copy of the story online, so I assume it’s legal.  Enjoy!

“How the Butterflies Came to Be”


THIS BLOG POST HAS BEEN INTERRUPTED BY THE TRICKSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes.  Our older kids in their final school-year session of SunBee Circle will be introduced to a character who capers through world folklore with no regard for manners or morals… the Trickster.

Certain sorts show up as tricksters.  They can be people, always the underdogs.  In animal form they most often manifest as ravens, coyotes and rabbits.  Especially rabbits.  Don’t trust rabbits.

In Africa, at least among the Ashanti tribe, the trickster is a clever spider named Anansi.  Anansi tales leave me cracking up laughing and I can’t wait to share them with the kids, who love stories that make them laugh. Gerald McDermott has a wonderful picture book version as well.


Oh yes, about rabbits.

After we have laughed ourselves silly over Mr. Anansi, we will jet on over to our own American South to hear the Uncle Remus tale of Brer Rabbit and that briar patch he absolutely, positively, definitely does not want to be thrown into… or does he?

Enjoy and have a very silly spring!

Oh… and I just couldn’t resist.


Baby, it’s COLD Outside!

Hi SunBee Friends,
SunBee Circle is on a hiatus until March!
I had been hoping to tough it out in our nature “classroom” at the House of Tea garden… but the rotten weather last week defeated me.  January and February Houston winters are unpredictable and what with rain, cold, flu and the difficulty of scheduling make-up lessons, I realized that we will have to wait until spring.
That said, keep in touch through this website, the SunBee facebook page or sign up for the SunBee newsletter… we will meet sometimes this winter for a free informal story and some playtime in the garden on sunny days.  As always I will be posting some great stories!