Stories have always played a big role throughout history. After all, it is how history gets preserved and cultures pass down their traditions. In celebration of this time-honored tradition, please join us in celebrating National Storytime Week (Jan. 30-Feb. 6, 2023)! The week encourages people of all ages, genders, and cultures to indulge in stories new and old. We asked Blue Yonder associates what their favorite stories are and why storytelling is so important. Here are some of their responses:

As a child I really liked the story of Hercules (Disney version). I’ve always had this interest in stories related to mythology/fantasy – and I still do. The message of believing in yourself, always trying your best and that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can always choose what you want for yourself, really resonated with me. Stories are important because they share a message that is or will be passed down by generations and sometimes people just need to know that there’s someone, somewhere out there that felt the same way or that went through something similar. As humans, I think that makes us feel seen or validated. That’s why diversity and inclusion are important in every story, so any person doesn’t matter what their background is can see themselves and their story represented, and they can relate to it.Alicia Calderon, Mexico

One of my favorite stories growing up was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. When I was younger it was a fun, entertaining book for my family to read together. When I graduated college last May, my grandparents bought me a copy (and made me read it out loud in front of my whole family!) to remind me that this is just the beginning and life has so much more to offer. I think this book is a great reminder that we all have so much potential, and we should continue to reach for our dreams despite the obstacles or challenges that we may face. – Taylor Weissman, U.S.

Stories are important, because they give meaning to what is happening in our lives. Stories remind us that life is not a well-established plan that just unravels, but that it’s the detours, the stops, the setbacks that make it memorable. – Malte Tichy, Germany

As a kid I was fascinated by stories like the “Jungle Book.” Clear Good vs. Evil dynamics appealed to me at that age. At an older age, stories where characters are a combination of good and bad started to fascinate me more (Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.).  Because the older I got, the more I understood that humans‘ personalities are a combination of good and bad. Continuing on that theme, as an adult I enjoy a lot of stories that are unpredictable and characters that evolve to surprise us. As a recent example, I find the TV series “Breaking Bad” to have all elements of a story that fascinate me at this age. 

As a parent with young kids, I enjoy reading stories like Astrid Lindgren’s „Pippi Longstocking“ to both my son and my daughter.  Smart, funny, irreverent, strong characters like Pippi inspired my kids a lot in their own journey of discovering role models they could identify with. – Victor Surpaceanu, Sweden

I love reading “The Rainbow Fish” to my children. As a mom to two young boys, I love what reading has done for their social and communication skills. It’s truly fascinating to watch someone learn to read and enjoy hearing a story!  Storytime is also a great time to let your imagination can run wild! Whenever I’m reading to myself or my kids, I am able to just be fully present in the now.  My to-do list goes on the backburner for a bit.   – Arlyn Knox, U.S.

Growing up in Guatemala, it was impossible to escape the local folklore stories and I found them both super scary but mystifying. Now when I look back, I still find it fascinating how these stories have come to be and how they define the local culture. – Leslie Kivioja, Sweden  

To lose yourself in a book is a great way to unwind and escape. Stories also help us feel connected and inspired. Growing up my favorite book was “The Secret Garden” and now as an adult, I love to read the same book to my children – I even have the original book from my childhood! My family love listening to audio books together on a long ride. The Michael Morpurgo books are particular favourites. We also love sharing and reliving our own real-life family stories. – Maxine Tingley, UK

I loved „The Hare and the Tortoise“ from Aesop’s Fables when I was a child. I loved this story because it taught me the importance of continuing to move forward, even if slowly and gradually. If we keep moving forward little by little, we can make great progress in the end. Today, we live in an age where speed is required in everything, but I think it is still important to teach our children that there are things that can only be accomplished with steady effort through such stories. There was a complete collection of Aesop’s Tales, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Japanese folktales at my home, and I would read my favorite stories including this one over-and-over again. Those stories sparked my imagination and took me to a world of dreams! – Hideko Hamate, Japan

Curious George books. I loved reading these books as a kid and reading them now to my own children. I have saved some of the books for grandkids I may have someday. These books are about learning, forgiveness and fun curiosity, which we all need as adults too. – Rachel Longo, U.S.