One of my daughters decided to use the picture below of me, as her profile pic. She thought it was absolutely hilarious.

I have to admit that it is.

I have to confess that I can’t stand watching videos of myself because I do make really goofy faces while I’m telling a story.

You have to.

It’s just me being me.

Here’s another one!


Omigosh, I can’t even remember which story it’s from. Probably the Hungarian folktale: The Little Rooster. It looks like I’m doing the part about ‘Come my special stomach’ or something.

Thing is, not everyone is comfortable looking silly during a performance.

I remember watching Robert Munsch for the first time and thinking, my goodness, he looks ridiculous. But of course that’s only during the storytelling.

When you storytell, it HAS to involve the risk of making a fool of yourself. You have to be vulnerable.

And the BIGGEST mistake people make is not taking that risk.

If you don’t go for it, if you don’t put  your all out there, then the audience can tell you’re holding back, you’re not COMFORTABLE, and ironically, that is what really makes you look FOOLISH.

Acting silly on stage as part of a story that calls for it, does not make you look foolish.

When I’m storytelling, I don’t worry at all about my personal dignity. I use whatever means necessary (and yes, that’s a conscious reference to Malcolm X!) to tell the story. No holds barred!

Mind you I’m not always goofy! That’s the secret!

I believe that mixing pathos with humor accentuates both! You can have a few moments in a story when things get quiet and thoughtful, and even sad at times, and that makes the funny parts all the more hilarious. They’re moments of comedy relief!

One of my best presentations is The Roses in My Carpets.

The thing is even though the story is sad and serious, the presentation has some very funny moments in it. Moments when I let loose and be ridiculous! And the kids laugh and it’s a relief from the heaviness of the other stuff I’m talking about.

Below I’m looking kind of pensive! This was at the Charlotte Zolotow award ceremony.

Rukhsana Khan – Spinning Stories to Life | Lanterns


I guess what I’m trying so hard to say is that when you’re dealing with  audiences, respect that they love humor (just like adults do) and yet they also like to think. Believe it or not, kids love to discover the world and they really do like to think about deeper things.

Respect your audience.

Give them ALL of yourself! Don’t hold anything back.

If that means, that like me, you tend to be goofy at times, then go for it.

But if that’s NOT your comfort zone, if that’s not the kind of person you are, then speak to them in other ways. Just be truthful and honest.

And above all respect them!

I have dealt with some of the most difficult kids that way.

They’ve been pieces of cake! Really!