Public Library Programs

An ideal library program should draw and entertain a large crowd, while inspiring kids to read. Most programs do one or the other.  Jon's "twist-and-tell" programs do both.

Three decades of experience as a children's librarian in the public library and schools combine with Jon's 45+ years as a professional storyteller and folksinger to create "Perfect Storm Edutainment." Using his guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer and ukulele and providing plenty of opportunity for participation, Jon weaves together a multicultural assortment of stories and songs to hold his audience in rapt attention. Color slides engage their sense of sight while providing cultural background for his tales and recommended books related to the tales. Those books are available for checkout in an adjoining display set up by the local librarian.

To top it off, several of the songs or tales are performed as Jon creates a related balloon figure, and after the show kids get to choose a custom-made figure to take home with their book. The promise of a balloon draws a big crowd. Watching Jon "twist-and-tell" stories enhances their interest. And getting their own balloon at the end is the icing on the cake. Kids go home with songs and tales in their head and books and balloons in their hands.

An arrow splits old Blue

Loved the themes, balloons, songs and stories. Very Good storytelling and musical talent.
Davie County Public Library, NC

I think the promise of balloon animals was a big attraction for this program. Our audience was very excited.  It is always interesting to watch the creation of a balloon as the story unfolds.
Newton Public Library, Catawba Co, NC

Jon tells The Empty Pot

Songs and tales from "Twisting and Telling a Universe of Stories."

  •  Old Blue medley: Folk song, "I Had a Dog and His Name Was Blue," while twisting balloon dog; Tall tale: "Daniel Boone's Split Dog," told using balloon dog; slides of dog books; story-song, "Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase" with banjo.
  • African trickster tale, "Anansi and the Pot of Beans." Photos of other Anansi books.
  • Call & response song, "We're All a Family Under One Sky," by Ruth Pelham with guitar
  • Chinese wisdom tale: "The Empty Pot," told while making balloon flower.
  • "The Garden Song," by David Mallett with motions by Jon Sundell.
  • Jon's personal slides from year in Japan
  • Jon makes a pirate sword, then tells abridged version of Edward and the Pirates, by David McPhail while showing slides.
  • Fairy tale, "The Six Swans," told while making balloon swan.
  • "The Summer Reading Song," melody from "Down By the Riverside," words by Jon Sundell and Old Town Elementary students.
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Jon & Vivian at Greensboro Pub Lib 10-6-18 (4)