Janet Tells Stories



Janet uses story walks (with or without puppets) to tell some of the traditional stories of trees and plants, animal and birds, even the fish and insects.

The walks last an hour with several 5 minute stories punctuated by a walk to a different part of the landscape eg trees, to river to orchard, to bridge etc and can reflect your local flora and fauna if sufficient information given in advance.

She also writes (about every six weeks)a regular column for the local Sidmouth Bio-Diversity Group which takes a biodiversity issue and relates it to a traditional folk tale. Telling a folk tale encourages the listener to think more imaginatively about nature, how we need to look after it and be open to exploring new ways to help things survive.

Other Articles and Chapters in books

The Alchemy of Number

First published in IBBYLink no 26 AUTUMN 2009.

Power of Three : Storytelling and Bereavement

An article in Bereavement Care 2010 v29, no1 p29-32

Morris Dancing: The woman with the silver bracelets.

Janet learned storytelling skills at  Sidmouth Folkweek in 1994, and this came to me fully crafted as a true experience that she had in 1978 with her Morris team, New Esperance Morris, at a multicultural fair in St martin’s in the Fields , London when the National Front came marching by.

Into the Snake Pit and out again: Mental Illness in Children’s Literature

Article Commissioned by the Booktrust 2006 (this was a shortened version of my dissertation for the MA Children’s Literature). 

Therapeutic Storytelling

Chapter on Therapeutic storytelling with children with special needs  in Using Storytelling to Support Children and Adults with Special Needs: Transforming lives through telling tales by Nicola Grove (12 Nov 2012)

Morris dancing: “I didn’t know that women danced the Morris”

Morris dancing is  a traditional form of ritual dance in England.  Between 1996 and 2000 Janet was the President of the Morris Federation an umbrella group for over 400 Morris teams.  She has written several articles about women’s role in the Morris.

There are 14,000 people currently dancing the Morris in England and Wales, and half of them are women. But still the myths perpetuate that Morris dancing is a male only pursuit. This article looks the role of women in the history of the Morris.

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship

In 2006 Janet was awarded a fellowship to travel to the US and Canada to look at how storytelling was used in the care of the dying and bereaved. 

IShe has now done many Storytelling workshops for Cruse Bereavement Care and other end of life and bereavement organisations.  Please contact her for further information.

Morris Dancing: Who was Mary Neal anyway?

Most people who know about Morris dancing know about Cecil Sharp and he is credited with recording and restoring the Morris dance. But he would not have started without the inspiration and organisation skills of Mary Neal, a philanthropic worker in London, who was part of the Suffrage movement, and who brought Morris dancers from the Cotswolds to London to teach the young women she was working with. From there she incited a national interest in Morris dancing that Sharp became involved in. She believed in the Spirit of the Dance, he believed in the dance being done as he had recorded it and thus there was a very public struggle between them. 

At the time that this article was written, not many people were aware of her, but since then her great niece Lucy Neal has developed The Mary Neal project  and Mary Neal has been restored to her rightful place in history.