Tales – and Conversations – from Beyond the Ban

By Milbre Burch Story Summary: A college teacher learns traditional tales to advocate for international students whose countries have been targeted by an anti-Muslim travel ban. Interviewing the students about the tales they grew up hearing uncovers images that help…

Because I’m Jewish, Doesn’t Mean I Have Horns: An Encounter with Anti-Semitism in Appalachia

By Storyteller Laura Packer Story Summary At 14, storyteller Laura Packer visited friends living in the rural south and encountered negative assumptions about Judaism for the first time. How she responded could have made the situation much worse, but she…

A Change of Heart: Muslims & Whites Crossing Cultures in a Memphis Neighborhood

By Storyteller Kate Dudding Story Summary In 2010 when the members of the Memphis Islamic Center bought property on the street nicknamed Church Road, they thought they’d have a hard time proving to their Christian neighbors that they were a…

Hey, I’m Black Too! So, Where Do I Fit In?

By Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong Story Summary Because she had grown up in a predominately white community during the turbulent Civil Rights years, when Mama Edie’s new friend, Renee, went to college she learned the pain of being treated as…

Grow to Give: An Interfaith Food Equity Project

By Storyteller Heather Forest Story Summary The true tale of how storytelling inspired a group of diverse religious leaders in the town of Huntington, NY, to dig up their congregational lawns, grow vegetables tended by congregants, and then donate the…

My Chinese Grandfather

by Brenda Wong Aoki Story Summary As a child, Brenda visits her Grandfather who collects, dries and sells seaweed along the coast of California. When she is older, she helps him with his work. Brenda finds his ways strange and…

Racism on the Road and Into the Next Generation

by Brenda Wong Aoki Story Summary Brenda performs a children’s song in Japanese and is told to stop using “demonic language” and is called “a witch.” She is told by a producer that he is disappointed she isn’t a “real”…

Tewas Go Home

By Eldrena Douma Story Summary A poster appeared and words were being spoken on the school yard. “Tewas Go Home”! After hearing these words from other students and seeing the poster at the Trading Post, she needed answers. In a…

My Japanese Parents’ Unromantic Marriage

by Karin Amano Story Summary Karin never dreamed about marriage growing up because of her Japanese parents’ unromantic arranged marriage. But when her father had a severe stroke and fell into a profound state of dementia, her mother, who had…

Arriving in Bulgaria: Overturning Assumptions in the Communist Era

By Storyteller Priscilla Howe Story Summary When Priscilla Howe traveled to Communist Bulgaria in the 1980s, she found herself in a difficult situation. She found help from a Bulgarian man who reminded her to look beyond appearances. 

Sagebrush Santa: Christmas, 1942 in the Minidoka Internment Camp

By Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary Five-year-old Kiyoshi, tries his best to make sense of his world which has been turned upside down since Japan attacked a place called Pearl Harbor. Since his father was taken away, he has had to…

Exotic Food: The Legendary Origin of a Chinese American Dish

by Storyteller Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary People from all over the world came to America in the 1850s in search of riches during the California Gold Rush.  Many young Chinese men immigrated to America to earn money to support their…

Becoming a Woman of Color: Discovery in the Philippines

By Storyteller Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor Story Summary Rebecca, a Filipino American, grew up in nearly all-white neighborhoods and schools. In 2000, she began reconnecting with her Filipino heritage and became a woman of color. 

December 7, 1941: An Eyewitness to the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

by Alton Takiyama-Chung Story Summary Charles Ishikawa grew up in Plantation camps in Waipahu, Hawaii in the 1930s and 1940s.  He was 14 years old and on his way to his high school basketball practice when Japanese planes attacked Pearl…

That’s What My People Do: Facing Prejudice in a 1960s High School

By Eunice Jarrett Story Summary High school students organizing a memorial service for a teacher trigger an emotional process for Eunice who is asked to step out of her comfort zone, again.  Family life and school life create race-related expectations.

The White Boys: Korean-Puerto Rican Girl Seeks Anybody

by Storyteller Elizabeth Gomez Story Summary: In The White Boys, Elizabeth tells of her struggle to be comfortable with her own identity outside the boundaries of the racial norm. She tells of the normal awkward struggles of adolescent love with…

The Colfax Louisiana Massacre: A Story about Reconstruction

By Zahra Glenda Baker Story Summary: This is Zahra’s personal story of reconnecting with her siblings and learning about how history is told through the voice of the “hunter”. On a journey back to their Louisiana birthplace, Zahra and her…

The Importance of Representation on Our Stages: Role Models for Young Audiences

By Rives Collins Story Summary: In this story, Rives Collins, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University,  recalls his work directing plays for children.  He shares the discoveries the young people helped him make regarding the importance of representation on our stages…

My Life as an Engrish to English Translator: Learning to Accept My Korean Immigrant Mother

 by Elizabeth Gomez Story Summary: A story about Elizabeth, an “Army brat”, who must navigate the world for her Korean immigrant mother. Through this process she learns to stop being embarrassed by her mother and shifts to fighting for her.

Standing on the Wall of Derry: An Irish American Confronts the Irish Conflict

By Margaret Burk Story Summary: Finding herself on a historical tour of the Wall of Derry in Northern Ireland, Margaret discovers within herself that she is holding on to an ancestral hostility, the kind of hostility that perpetuates hatred, violence…

A Brilliant Day: A Dutch Woman’s Courageous Travels in Nazi Occupied Holland

by Peter R. LeGrand Story Summary: This story weaves present day observations with the true accounts of Peter’s grandmother, a Dutch Jew, and the incredible journeys she went through during the time of Nazi occupied Holland during World War II.…

Columbian Runaway: A Latina Pushes Back on the Role of Women

 by Jasmin Cardenas Story Summary: Jasmin takes you into the rabbit hole of panic that she faces when she gets engaged to be married. Questions about her identity and her role as a woman surface as she tries to weed…

Stand Up! Redlining During the Great Migration and Marching in Marquette Park with Dr. Martin Luther King

by Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong Story Summary: Take the journey with 14-year old Mama Edie as she relives her 1966 experience of marching through the violent streets of Marquette Park in Chicago, Illinois with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Ride…

Black & White: Stereotypes and Privilege

by Storyteller Diggsy Twain Story Summary: Diggsy Twain, an African American man, tells a friend about an encounter he had on a train and what he did to stop the stereotype that all black men are angry. Then after telling…

Fit In or Stand Out: An African-American’s Battle to Fit into White Culture

 by Storyteller E.B. Diggs Story Summary: As a teen E.B. liked being unique but his coaches wanted him to fit in. Then years later as an attorney he wants to hire someone who reminds him of himself. He decides to…

My Names: Gender Expectations for a Taiwanese Woman

By Ada Cheng Story Summary: In this story, Ada Cheng explains the meanings of her Chinese name: Shu-Ju. She explains the connection between her name, her parents’ expectations for her as a daughter, and the cultural expectations for her as…

Three Assassinations: Kennedy, King, Kennedy

by Megan Hicks   Story Summary:  Megan was confused when her 9th grade classmates reacted differently to the assassination of President Kennedy than her family did. She didn’t know who was right. And then she learned to listen to what…

Sparta, Georgia

by Gene Tagaban   Story Summary:  Gene travelled by van across the country to see the land of his people. Along his journey, he had the experience of meeting a southern white couple on a backcountry dirt road and an…

Afternoon with Rachel, Holocaust Survivor

by Storyteller Gene Tagaban   Story Summary:  Gene tells of an afternoon he spent with Rachel, a Holocaust survivor, in Omaha, Nebraska. Rachel, an elderly woman, asks Gene, “Tell me about your people?” Gene tells her of the 1835 Indian…

The Story of My Teacher

By Kiran Singh Sirah   Story Summary:  Kiran reveals the experiences of living between two worlds: on one hand, his experiences with racism being one of the few brown boys in his town contrasted with the kindness of strangers as…

The Complexity of Our Street – Burying the Unspoken

By Laura Simms   Story Summary: Issues within the same religious group or ethnicity are complex and rarely discussed. Laura grew up on a street in Brooklyn with many kinds of Jews – Orthodox, Conservative, Sephardic, cultural and so forth.…

The West Indies: Brer Rabbit Avoids Danger For A Black Family Traveling In America

by Storyteller Donna Washington   Story Summary:  Donna’s father is quite a trickster, and one afternoon in the 1980’s, while her large family was traveling through the south, they ran into a potentially dangerous situation. Donna’s trickster father literally saved…

Election Night:  How President Barack Obama’s Elections Changed My Life

by Donna Washington   Story Summary: The night Obama was elected to the presidency, Donna was a lone black woman in a very conservative part of the country. She discovered that it is possible be in a foreign land in…

Expectations and Surprise: School Segregation and Tracking in the 1960s

by Andy Offutt Irwin   Story Summary:  Andy experienced school desegregation in the 1960s but students were “tracked” which led to a more subtle form of segregation. However, racial tracking led Andy to unexpected friendships.  . Go to the Home…

Learning at the Dinner Table

by Bill Harley Story Summary:  Bill’s mother and father came from opposite ends of the political spectrum which meant that his mother and father’s family did as well. Bill’s father could not tolerate the biased language that was spoken at…

A Child’s Eye View

by Storyteller Cynthia Changaris   Story Summary: Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina during Jim Crow, Cynthia is baffled by why Black people get to ride in the “best part” of the bus, the back of the bus with the…

Seriously…What Did You Call Me?!

By Onawumi Jean Moss   Story Summary:  While getting a passport to prepare for a trip abroad, Onawumi Jean discovered that her name is not on her birth certificate. Her aunt is able to clear up the mystery by disclosing…

Bittersweet: A Chinese American Daughter’s Legacy

The stories offered here—Immigrant History and Mom’s Story—come from Chinese American storyteller, Nancy Wangs longer story Bittersweet: A Chinese American Daughter’s Legacy. In this story, Wang explores the history of her own family, beginning with the immigration of her great-great-grandparents…

Just Hair: Finding Out the Importance of Your True Roots

By Diane Macklin Story Summary:  A chance encounter is an unexpected blessing for a teenager, who discovers that true strength is rooted within, extending down into the roots of the ancestors.

A Link in the Circle: Learning to Lean on My Indonesian Family

By Arianna Ross   Story Summary:  What is it like to be so immersed in a culture that a lady on the bus becomes your adopted “Aunt” and a bus driver your “Brother? While Arianna Ross travelled alone through Indonesia,…

Martin and Me – A Coming of Age Story

By Stephen Hobbs Story Summary:  Growing up, Steven was involved in Boy Scouts and his church and as a teen he advocated for community development in his New Jersey neighborhood. But could he get involved in the rising black militancy…

Chinese New Year’s Frogs: A Collision of Culture and Nature

By Linda Yemoto   Story Summary: “Ranger Linda” describes her encounter with a group of well-intentioned Chinese Americans bearing bullfrogs. This surprising incident illustrates how cultural differences can have unintended consequences and how cultural awareness can lead to greater understanding…

Name Calling at Masonville Elementary: Hurtful Words Forgiven

By Sheila Arnold   Story Summary: As a 4th grader, Sheila was given a new nickname – the “N” word – and that nickname led to an unlikely friendship, and down the road, led to forgiveness and reconciliation.

Taming the Fire: A Black Heritage Search

By Sheila Arnold   Story Summary: One day an angry black teenage girl – Sheila – stormed into her History Class and demanded to know why she had never heard about black inventors. Her favorite teacher, who happened to be white,…

A Black American Son’s Survival Lessons

By Sheila Arnold   Story Summary A frantic call from Sheila Arnold’s son during his freshmen year in college turns into a moment to remember all that she had to teach him about growing up black, and, in turn, all…

1966 Caracas, Venezuela: Day One of Junior High For An American Girl

by Angela Lloyd   Story Summary:  Moving to Junior High school opens Angela’s eyes to a society and culture that she had been living in (Caracas, Venezuela), and yet one from which she was separate. Angela’s story tells a universal…

Undocumented Journey: An Educational Dream Realized for Illegal Immigrants

By Marsha Wong   Story Summary: In 1972, Marsha worked for the Peace Corp in Jamaica. She became friendly with a neighbor woman named Yvonne. By casually mentioning the town she lived near – Montclair, New Jersey – Marsha set…

Not By the Sword: How a Cantor and His Family Transformed a Klansman

By Pippa White   Story Summary:  In 1991 in Lincoln, Nebraska, a Jewish Cantor and his family were threatened and harassed by the Grand Dragon of the state Ku Klux Klan. Here is the remarkable story of how they dealt…

Loving Someone Tall: A Conversation With My Father About Race

By Laura Packer   Story Summary: When Laura fell in love with Kevin, she was certain her liberal family would love him, too. After all, he was smart, handsome, educated and kind; that his skin was a different color didn’t…

Hamlet Goes to Jail: Life Changing Experiences that Occurred in 1959

By Gwen Hillary   Story Summary:  The Chicago Public Schools were almost totally segregated in the 1950’s when Gwen’s participated in an accelerated English program and first integrated a South Side High School. She succeeded in getting an “A” in…

When Summer Came: Summer Vacations in the Segregated South

By Gwen Hilary   Story Summary:  During the 1950s, Gwen’s mother, like many African American parents, ritually sent their children down south for the summer. Gwen remembers the rich experiences with her grandparents on the farm but also many painful…

Soul Food in a Southern Swamp: Bumming Fish and Crossing Boundaries

By Doug Elliott   Story Summary: After fishermen in the Okefenokee Swamp give Elliott two fierce looking mudfish, he finds himself on a hilarious cross cultural journey learning how to cook the fish, and later meets a number of challenges…

An African Native American Story

By Edith McLoud Armstrong   Story Summary:  Many Africans and First Nations People bonded together during and after slavery in the Americas and in the Caribbean for protection, acceptance, friendship and love. As a result, many African descendants in these…

Hot Chili and Crackers: A Racial Stew with Danger

By Edith McLeod Armstrong   Story Summary: Mama Edie’s Black Theater Ensemble is invited to perform her original composition called “Metamorphosis” at a university in Iowa in 1970. After what had been a peaceful and joyful journey along the way,…

My Brother’s Keeper: A Teenager Works to Free Manuel Salazar from Death Row

By Jasmin Cardenas   Story Summary:  Can a teenager make an impact in a world full of injustice? Jasmin looks back at the roots of her involvement in social justice issues when she joined the cause to free the young…

My Father the Whiz: A Cuban Refugee’s Response to Jim Crow

By Carmen Agra Deedy   Story Summary:  In 1964, Carmen’s father, a Cuban refugee, went to work at a steel manufacturing plant near Atlanta, Georgia. When, on the first day of work, he asked to take a bathroom break, he was…

A Window of Beauty: A Story of Courage from the Holocaust

By Nancy Shapiro-Pikelny   Story Summary:  Nancy tells an excerpt from “A Window of Beauty,” a story inspired by the experiences of a young girl, her remarkable teacher and their secret art classes in the Terezin Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia…

Angels Watching Over Me: Transforming Years at St. Sabina School

By Patricia Redd   Story Summary:  During the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia’s family moved to the Auburn Gresham community on the south side of Chicago. Hers was one of the first African- American families to integrate the parish school. Over…

Special Blends: A Youthful Perspective on Multi-Cultural, Multi-Ethnic Heritage

By Amber, Misty and Autumn Joy Saskill   Story Summary:  Amber, Misty, and Autumn – three multi-ethnic sisters – offer a sneak peek into their thoughts about self-identification. These storytellers also share a medley of emotional experiences about how they…

A Crack in the Wall: Moving Beyond Racial Conditioning

By Storyteller Gene Unterschuetz Story Summary:  In A Crack in the Wall a white man has an experience at a copy shop that causes him to examine the negative impact racial conditioning has had on him. He is disturbed when…

Images: How Stereotypes Impact Racial Conditioning

By Gene Unterschuetz   Story Summary: Images is a white man’s reflection about the powerful and debilitating impact of the disparaging imagery that has been historically used to shape the perception of African Americans as dangerous. While he realizes that…

The Promise: A Lesson in White Privilege

By Phyllis Unterschuetz   Story Summary:  What happens when the warm connection between a black woman and a white woman is broken by insensitivity and unconscious white privilege? Are courage, honesty, forgiveness and hope enough to heal the separation? This…

Learning Long Division and White Superiority from My “Sweet” Third Grade Teacher

By La’Ron Williams Story Summary:  In the early 1960s, at a time when the hierarchy of race was evident in much of the country, a Black student feels relief to encounter a White teacher who operates without apparent bias. However,…

A Gift from Refugee Children

By Charlotte Blake Alston   Story Summary: Charlotte Blake Alston and colleague, Steve Tunick, chaperone 12 African and Jewish American teenagers who seek common ground through a cultural immersion abroad in Senegal in Africa. An unanticipated diversion led the group…

How Do You Say Blueberry in Spanish?

By Antonio Sacre   Story Summary:  Antonio explores the challenges and joys of trying to raise a bilingual child. As anxious new parents, Antonio and his wife ask, “Are two languages better than one?” and find humor along the way. 

Mr. D’s Class

By Antonio Sacre Story Summary:  Thirty teenagers from twenty countries, one Jewish teacher, and one Cuban-Irish-American storyteller (story artist, Antonio Sacre) set out to publish a book of writing in one of the poorest and most challenging high schools in…

I Wanted To Be an Indian

By Jo Radner   Story Summary:  Stories about our ancestors help us understand who we are. Encountering troubling revelations about her forebears and their Indian neighbors in colonial New England, Jo asks what it means to tell – and live…

The Spirit Survives

By Dovie Thomason Part One: Gertrude Bonnin   Part Two: Grandpa   Story Summary:  The “Indian Experiment” in education, the government boarding schools, is unknown to many Americans, yet affects us all. Following forty years of study of these stories,…