Odds Bodkin School Performances for 2018-2019

What better way to start the school year than with magical harp music echoing through your school’s halls? The children wonder where it’s coming from, and teachers stand smiling at their doors because they know Odds Bodkin is beckoning to his audience. Soon the children file in and see a man playing the harp, surrounded by instruments. Quietly, three hundred students sit, forgetting to talk to each other, and Odds weaves the rich music, preparing them for stories.

“By the time I’m ready to speak words, we’re all friends,” says the storyteller. “The music does it. It uplifts them. The harp is a crystalline, magical starship, it really is.”

And then the stories for GOLDEN RULE begin. Stories from around the world that teach empathy. A collection for K-2 audiences. Another for grades 3-5. All with ongoing music, blended with the words.

It’s literacy, performing arts and solid ethical learning for kids, all in one show. To learn how to bring Odds Bodkin to your children’s school this year, visit:

Elementary School

 

 

 

 

A FLASH DRIVE FULL OF STORIES (for every age kid and adult!)

A FLASH DRIVE FULL OF STORIES (for every age kid and adult!)

When you listen to Odds Bodkin stories, the miles (and hours) melt away.

Hard-Hitting Adult Storytelling Sunday July 29th in New Hampshire

Hard-Hitting Adult Storytelling Sunday July 29th in New Hampshire

If you want to grab some elemental Greek mythology, tragic and beautiful, told for adults, mark your calendar for Sunday, July 29th. The tale you’ll hear, much like Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, won the hearts of 200 convicts in a California prison one afternoon, so much so that I actually signed autographs on scraps of paper and napkins afterwards for a half an hour. As an audio, this 100-minute epic won the national Golden Headset Award from Audiofile Magazine, among other awards.

With so much violence afoot in our culture today, it’s more relevant than ever.

It’s called Hercules in Hell, and it just might break your heart.

I’ll be performing it with my 12-string guitar at 7:00 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, New Hampshire on Sunday evening in two weeks’ time. One of the more interesting features of this work, other than the full, moment-to-moment guitar score, is that unlike in most of my storytellings, I don’t narrate. I never appear. Only Hercules does.

Tickets are $13 in advance for good seating, and $13 at the door.

 

 

 

THE MASTER DRIVE: A World of Fantasy and Legends for the Mind’s Eye

 

THE MASTER DRIVE: A World of Fantasy and Legends for the Mind’s Eye

The Collected Works of Odds Bodkin on a flash drive. 25 hours of audio storytelling and music, plus a 555-page epic poem for adult readers, with glossary.

A $269.95 value for $175.95.

SUMMER DRIVES WITH THE FAMILY: An Intelligent Solution

SUMMER DRIVES WITH THE FAMILY: An Intelligent Solution

“After sending the email, I wished I had written more. My daughter and I still listen to Little Proto 8 years later ( she’s 18 and I am 61!). We are both thrilled to have more works to surprise and inspire us cross-country…I have tried listening to other books on tape and find my mind wandering after 5 minutes. On the other hand, I am mesmerized by every word and sound on your recordings. I think seeing you perform in person helped fuel our admiration.”

—An Odds Bodkin Listener

Become your own Master of Family Stories! One Master Drive allows you to load any of Odds Bodkin’s storytelling albums onto your children’s media players, or into your car system. All age-coded for appropriate listening, ages four to adult. Includes great tales for teens!

National award-winning storytelling. Learn more here.

Odds Bodkin’s MASTER DRIVE

Long summer drives are coming. If you want quiet, utterly absorbed kids in the car listening to stories and building their imaginations, here’s the answer.

 

Get it here. Ships fast via Priority Mail.

“one of the great voices in American storytelling”–WIRED

“THE BEST ANTI-BULLYING ASSEMBLY WE’VE EVER HAD, HANDS-DOWN”

“THE BEST ANTI-BULLYING ASSEMBLY WE’VE EVER HAD, HANDS-DOWN”

A school principal wrote me recently, commenting on GOLDEN RULE, my storytelling assembly for elementary kids. Sure, I tell stories for adults, but it’s close to my heart, this empathy issue. Kids raised without notions of civility and simple human kindness toward others––no matter what somebody else looks like or where they come from––just makes the bullies feel that power. In the long run, though, it hurts them just as much.

Although many Americans follow faith traditions, just as many don’t these days, and with that change has come a loss of religious teaching stories, traditionally told to kids by adults in their lives. In their absence and in the presence of cynical cartoons and visual games, the fabric of civility has worn thin in lots of children. It’s not their fault. They’re kids. They’re not born civil; they need to be taught why it’s important.

Be kind. Treat others honorably. Yes, you can say those things to kids, but nothing penetrates the cruelty they see in media like a spoken-world story told by an adult. Instead of saying “do this,” a good Golden Rule story simply offers a lesson about power and its uses. Kids can’t help but internalize its impact because they’ve been opened up. They’ve been opened up because their minds are overwhelmed. The boys. The girls. The ADHD kids, all attentive. With the voices, music and wild sounds, the storytelling is too evanescent for them to ignore.

At a public school in Massachusetts the other day, my young audience looked like the United Nations. Kids from everywhere. Never knowing what religions, if any, their families practice at home, I tell stories from non-religious wisdom traditions. Folktales from Japan, Ireland, Africa, India and Italy. And Aesop’s Fables from ancient Greece, which is about all I can fit into an hour. But I always ask the kids the same questions about them afterwards, and about the Golden Rule.

And if they’ve never heard “Treat others the way you would like to be treated” before they’ve attended a GOLDEN RULE assembly, they certainly know it by the time it’s over.

If kids don’t get these kinds of stories from adults in America when they’re young, stories that buoy up their best angels and sink into their souls, when they get to high school, more and more of them are so fragile and full of violence that they misuse their power and end up thinking it’s okay to bring guns to class, and all to often these days, in the ultimate act of bullying, to use them.

 

–Odds Bodkin

 

 

YOU SAVED US FROM BABY BELUGA

YOU SAVED US FROM BABY BELUGA

Sunday night I was down in Cambridge at Grendel’s Den warming up my harp and 12-string onstage for a telling of Beowulf when a tall gentleman with silver hair came over, looking somewhat shy. The place was full and new faces were in the audience. Along with the usual crew of fine fans, Harvard students and curious twenty-somethings, I’d noticed husbands and wives in their fifties or early sixties at the tables. Obviously this gentleman had something to say. I stopped playing and smiled at him.

“Am I interrupting you?” he asked. He was fit and had a nice smile.

“No, not at all. I’m just warming up. Good evening.”

“Good evening,” he replied and we shook hands.

“I just wanted to tell you, Mr. Bodkin, that you saved us from Baby Beluga,” he said in a sort of admiring seriousness. It didn’t take too long for me to process that, and so I smiled wryly and chuckled, suspecting I knew what he was saying. He went on. “My kids are in their thirties now and are jealous they can’t be here.”

“Why, thank you.” I’ve had similar conversations with other nice people like him.

“No, thank you,” he said.Your stories got us through a lot of long trips when our kids were little. We had all your cassettes. Got them from Chinaberry Book Service.”

I used to do business with Chinaberry, a kids’ media operation out in California. Sold tens of thousands of recordings through them. This nice man’s wife, probably, had bought them, back when their kids were little. “Ah, yes,” I replied. “I’m glad your kids liked them. Tonight’s story is very different from those children’s recordings.”

“I expect so.”

“This one’s rather bloody,” I replied, thinking how in The Evergreens: Gentle Tales of Nature and The Teacup Fairy, some of my earliest kids’ albums, there is no blood.

“Can’t wait to hear it,” he said, sounding ready for some Viking wildness.

“Well,” I said, hitting a chord on the 12-string, “enjoy the show.”

“We will.” He returned to his seat at the bar next to a woman about his age. His wife, I assumed. The mother of the children he spoke of.

Baby Beluga! Baby Beluga!

The refrain from the song by Raffi echoed in my mind. I once met him, the man who wrote and sang that classic children’s song. A troubador from the Nineties, Raffi’s most famous song was Baby Beluga. He was the best-known of many musicians for young kids back then, a man who sang sweet, reassuring songs. I think of him as the Mr. Rogers of children’s music.

Back then I was selling recordings for young kids, too. Raffi always outsold anything I ever did, but then again, I wasn’t singing songs, which had a huge kids market before the advent of cellphones and iPad games. Instead I was telling stories, but even though they were for young children, they weren’t kiddie stories per se––stories about puppies and baby hedgehogs and so on. Nevertheless, lots of young children, including this gentleman’s who’d come up to say hello, apparently, had listened to them and had talked about them with their parents. I always tried to produce children’s media that didn’t make moms and dads lose their minds while listening to them, over and over again in their cars.

After the show I posed for photos with the man and his wife, along with a few other couples who proceeded to buy EPIC DRIVES. They wanted to send them to their grown children, they said, who now had kids of their own. Two young women in their twenties had listened to the Little Proto stories and loved them. A couple with their kids kept talking about The Blossom Tree, a Tibetan tale I tell, and I mentioned how I’ll be performing it in May as part of a weekend dedicated to the magic of trees, out in Colorado.

And so these stories I made a generation ago continue to make their way into the lives of a new generation, accomplishing a goal I always strove for: to make something that doesn’t quickly become marked as genre material of a former time.

I recommend Baby Baluga, too.

Vivid Adventures that Build Imagination

Imagine a family vacation where the kids in the back are listening, instead of viewing. For ages 4 to forever. Odds Bodkin’s fun, amazing storytellings!

Vivid adventures that build imagination.

Two ways to get the full collection.

THE EPIC DRIVE

ALL COLLECTIONS + BUNDLE (instant delivery)

 

All Collections + Bundle

 

BOOKING NOW: World Stories About Empathy for Schoolchildren

I read countless news reports about kids treating one another badly in schools. Lately, it appears, things have grown worse. Telling kids how to behave is less effective than it’s ever been, it seems.

For some years now I’ve offered a school assembly program called GOLDEN RULE: World Stories About Empathy in two versions, K-3 and 3-5. Using ancient stories from world cultures, GOLDEN RULE taps the unconscious in kids and delivers a message while they’re completely entertained and having fun.

One principal called it “The best anti-bullying program we’ve ever had, hands down.”

If you know any schools who are facing this problem, find out about GOLDEN RULE and pass the word along.

–Odds Bodkin