Storyteller creates imaginative morning at library

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By Natasha LaFayette



Everyone loves a good story.

But stories are more loved if the listener has an active imagination.

This week at the LaFollette Public Library, storyteller Dianne Hackworth made the second summer reading session one to remember.

Hackworth, with her Autoharp in tow, illustrated with her instrument, voice and body several Appalachian tales.

She did not hold a book with pictures or read the words someone else had written, rather Hackworth told each story with vivid imagery and boisterous sounds.

Hackworth, a featured storyteller at the Louie Bluie Festival this Saturday, made an early presentation to the children at the library.

She started the morning by strumming the Autoharp, singing a song about a fox. Hackworth used the soothing sounds of the harp to calm her audience and prepare them for listening; a technique used in her many years of teaching elementary school students.

“I tell stories that evoke images in the mind’s of both the child and adult,” said Hackworth.

Though the stories are the same whether told to an audience of five-year-olds or those over 40, Hackworth said the way she tells the story makes a difference for the listener.

“The listener can see it as far as the imagination will allow,” said Hackworth.

From Dutch Valley in Clinton, Hackworth has been a featured storyteller at both the LaFollette Library and Louie Bluie Festival last year.

She was excited to be invited back to both performances, she said.

Hackworth’s stories were among the popular “Jack” tales, where a young Jack is the main character who overcomes challenges faced in kingdoms or the country.

The other stories told by Hackworth involve animals as they live and eat. However, the animals in Hackworth’s stories are personified with human-like feelings and emotions.

More guests will be featured at the LaFollette Library in the next few weeks as the children race to read the most books in the summer reading program.

Hackworth will perform her storytelling and songs at the Louie Bluie Festival this Saturday. Hackworth and other storytellers along with cloggers and singers will be performing throughout the day at the folk life tent. The event will start at 10 a.m. and Hackworth’s first performance will be at 11 a.m.

Other than storytelling and singing, the all-day festival will feature multiple craft vendors, musicians, food and art competitions.