Susan Josephs 1: The Heart of Stories

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Podcasts

The Heart of Stories

“Relationships are at the core of all we do.”

– Rukia Monique Rogers

Rukia Monique Rogers’ thought-provoking words appeared in her article “A Story of Reimagining: Creating a Beloved Community”, Reimagining Our Work Exchange (Nov/Dec 2021). Though Rukia fully explains what she means by this in her article, in just nine words she sums up the intentions, practice, and litmus test for how she and her co-teachers recognize and counter racism, and how they strive for equity in their work with young children and their families.

What does it mean to hold relationships at the core of our work and living with young children? How do we interpret this idea and ideal?

As I spoke with Susan Josephs, education consultant with Hoopoe Books, I recognized this same blending of values, vision, and practice in her work with children, families, and educators throughout the world. I became aware that Hoopoe Books sprung from a place of social justice where children and families who had fewer resources, opportunities, and less power than others in their community or country were lifted up and supported with dignity.

Hoopoe Books

My first exposure to Hoopoe Books over a decade ago was through Books Over Borders , a Canadian partner with Hoopoe Books. Books Over Borders was offering family literacy organizations copies of Hoopoe Books’ beautifully illustrated stories from Central Asia to give to families with young children. This generosity did more than boost book collections within children’s homes. The character and quality of these books, their translations into various languages, and their deeply considered book sharing ideas were, and continue to be, invaluable resources that enrich children’s lives regardless of their culture or context.

Hoopoe Books evolved through a blending of brain research by Robert Ornstein, oral stories collected and retold by Idries Shah, and the vision of Sally Mallam who could see how these oral stories could become accessible to children and families around the world if they were transformed into beautifully illustrated children’s books.

Susan Josephs

In this video, Susan Josephs talks about this convergence of values, shared knowledges, and partnership. She also introduces the brain research that supports a relational way of sharing stories – a way that speaks to children and adults of all ages in meaningful and unexpected ways.

As you watch this video, I invite you to wonder with me:

  • What is at the heart of the stories we select and share with children?
  • How are the books we explore with children woven into this idea that “relationships are at the core of all we do”?

Watch the next video in this series in which Susan Josephs explains what teaching stories are and why they enrich children’s lives.