The Telling Takes Us Home

A Celebration of American Family Stories

Events & Workshops

Remember the time grandma killed the snake in the spring house? Or when great-uncle Victor gave his gold watch away to a hobo on Christmas eve? Or what about the time Aunt Millie saw her husband’s ghost on the night he was lost at sea?

An Evening of Family Stories

For the past four years noted storyteller and radio producer Joe McHugh has traveled the backroads of America meeting people and recording their family stories. Many of these stories have been featured on programs for public radio, NPR’s Morning Edition, and Voice of America. He is now available to come and speak to your organization. A gifted storyteller and traditional fiddler, he invites his listeners along a delightful and fascinating journey of exploration that reveals how family stories reach across cultural and political barriers to help us better understand and appreciate who we are and where we came from. Funny, sad, sometimes outrageous, he spins a complex tapestry of cherished stories that rekindle the imagination and draw us together again as a people. And if time and circumstance allow, he encourages people from the audience to share a few of their own family stories with each other. In all it makes for a highly entertaining evening that is sure to captivate.

“Joe McHugh’s presentation on family stories was the perfect kick-off for our story collecting project. I was impressed with his relaxed and engaging manner and ability to create a warm, friendly atmosphere that inspired even taciturn old farmers to get up and tell stories. The whole evening was a rousing success!”

~Diane Cary, Program Chair, Winters Friends of the Library

Bringing Family Stories to the Classroom

Many families possess a tradition of remembering and telling family stories. These stories about ancestors and relatives are told and retold within the family and passed on from generation to generation. They are stories that help us to know who we are and where we came from.

Since 1999 storyteller, educator, and radio producer Joe McHugh has been traveling the back roads of America meeting people and recording their family stories. Many of these stories have been featured on programs for public radio including NPR’s Morning Edition and Weekend America. They have also been featured on the international English-language service of Voice of America. Mr. McHugh is now available to lead lively participatory workshops for teachers on using family stories in the classroom to enhance learning and promote cross-cultural understanding. Working with the Family Story Tree, participants learn how to inspire their students to collect and tell family stories with the goal of fostering the language skills of listening, speaking, writing, and reading while making history come alive in a variety of meaningful ways.

This two-hour workshop will benefit elementary, middle, and high school teachers. It is also a great team-building activity for participants as they are given the opportunity during the workshop to share their own family stories with each other. Each participant will also receive a comprehensive curriculum packet including an audio CD of stories from Mr. McHugh’s radio series.

“Here are some of the things teachers said about Joe McHugh's workshop: “Very Interesting and uplifting. Hope to try a story tree.” “How wonderful, basic and necessary storytelling is to a child. Joe did a terrific job of “firing us up” and giving us good information to take back to our schools.” “Good ideas for a project!”

~Debi Pitta-Booth Curriculum Specialist Placer County Office of Education Auburn, California