The PowellsWood Storytelling Festival is returning to Federal Way for the second year to host the best storytellers in the world.
True to tradition, these master orators don't read from a book. Their voices swell and swoon with inflections that stimulate the senses and capture emotions of folktales old and new. Their words carry listeners on a journey through imagination, history, culture and the human condition.
Among those master tellers is festival co-organizer Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald, a Des Moines resident who lauds the PowellsWood Garden's serene landscape as the perfect venue for these mesmerizing tales. More than 400 people attended last year's inaugural festival at the garden owned by longtime community arts supporters Monte and Diane Powell.
At the 2013 festival slated for July 27, MacDonald will be joined by Bellingham resident Richard Scholtz, whose autoharp will complement her stories with a musical soundtrack.
"It's a duet," she said, noting the evocative effect of the autoharp. "The music gives the stories a whole other atmosphere."
MacDonald was a children's librarian for 30 years in the King County Library System. Since her retirement, MacDonald has cranked out books at a prolific pace while traveling the world. Just this year, she has visited nations including Cuba, Colombia, Thailand and Dominican Republic. She has told stories in Spanish, and sometimes relies on a translator to convey her tales.
MacDonald has authored 61 books that include her own stories along with stories she has collected. She has a new book coming out in October about teaching with storytelling.
Not surprisingly, she said that storytelling is an effective tool for classrooms.
"You just wrap anything in a story," she said, "and it sinks right in."
If you go
The PowellsWood Storytelling Festival runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at PowellsWood Garden in Federal Way. Stories are suited for adults, children, and every age in between. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children, and $20 for families, and are available at the door.
Festival parking is available at Sacajawea Middle School, 1101 S. Dash Point Road, and free shuttle buses will take visitors to the garden. Sandwiches, snacks, ice cream, soda and water will be available for purchase.
Featured tellers at this year's festival include:
• Jeeva Raghunath, who will bring her hyperkinetic tales from India for her first U.S. performances.
• Syd Lieberman will share stories from his Jewish upbringing and family alongside tales shaped by history.
• Heather Forest is a gardener from New York who delivers fables for adults and children, accompanied by her guitar.
• Donald Davis will return to PowellsWood with heart-warming stories about growing up in North Carolina.
Learn more at www.powellswood.org/festival.
'Little Mouse Swimming to Kotzebue'
Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald visited the Federal Way Mirror office Monday and shared a short story called "Little Mouse Swimming to Kotzebue." She first heard this minute-long folktale from Leila Oman, whose father told it during her childhood in Nome, Alaska. Check out the video above or click here.
This month, MacDonald and autoharp player Richard Scholtz will present stories at several King County libraries:
• Federal Way Regional Library: 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 23
• Black Diamond: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 24
• Enumclaw: 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 24
• Algona-Pacific: 11 a.m. Thursday, July 25
• Boulevard Park: 2 p.m. Thursday, July 25
• Des Moines: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 25