maryjo_med_smallA  NOVEMBER to REMEMBER

                  “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much!” Helen Keller


NAEYC Washington, DC * Saturday, Nov. 23 at 10:00 a.m. come celebrate with me in room 146A.  I am shipping give-a-ways totaling $300.
Watch for my new hat in the halls, vendor area, and hotel *** or on the street.  Visit me in the Kaplan booth on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and check out the
FROG STREET booth for a special appearance and great
give-a- ways.

This November is special because our family celebrates several birthdays during the month and on Nov. 11 we celebrate a grandchild’s birthday along with celebrating ALL the VETERANS who have helped keep our country a safe and proud place to live.  We salute the United States of America!



This purple heart has a place of honor in our house and was received in Vietnam by a proud Marine.  This book by Eve Bunting is an extremely SPECIAL publication.  The wall is history but when you visit you feel like it was yesterday.  When you know names and you can find them your heart hurts all over again.


young, neighbor boy named Noah asked Mr. Bill if he could interview him about
being a Veteran and they spent 1 hour together. 
Two other neighbor children brought Mr. Bill a hand colored American
flag and a thank you note.  Then on Nov.
12 the same children brought two thank you notes from 3rd graders at
Sharon Elementary to say we thank you Mr. Bill. 
My husband is a non-emotional person but he was really taken back by the children’s knowledge and interest in Veterans.  I hope all children are aware of their heritage and will ALWAYS say thank you to all Veterans. 


              This cumulative type of story is great for all ages!!!    

THE HOUSE that SANTA BUILT by AUTHOR DIANNE DE LAS CASAS is a forever on our shelves Christmas story which will truly be a classic.   It invites children to do repetitive actions and sounds.  It is rhythmic and filled with wonderful whimsical illustrations.  I am enclosing the information from the jacket flap so you can see how this book will fit into your Early Childhood curriculum and be enjoyed for everyone.  Go to www.storyconnectio.net  and look for activities that can be part of the introduction of this book. 

Dianne is one of my bestest friends who has introduced me to the ways of the bayou world in her home state of Louisiana.  She is a go-getter and always on the pulse of what is happening in this world surrounding us from picture books to politics.  Gotta love this girl with her high heels and those painted finger nails, and that forever thinking brain under that beautiful head of black hair.



Become a PICTURE BOOK MONTH Ambassador and check out the website at www.picturebookmonth.com where you will find interesting connections. 


SKYPE VISITS available in FEBRUARY, 2014 – a great chance to provide a program for children by bringing Mary Jo into your classroom, library or center.

Be thankful this holiday for all your blessings, thank a veteran, donate to a homeless veteran, share your food with someone who is hungry, help a child or a family,  and God Bless each and every one of you.  I am thankful for our connection through the Early Childhood world and hope to share a hug if you get to DC..

This Thanksgiving be thankful this holiday for all your treasures, thank a veteran, donate to a homeless veteran, share your food with someone who is hungry and God Bless each and every one of you.  I am thankful for our connection through the Early Childhood world and hope to share a hug.  This time of the year our family tries to touch each other no matter the miles and we also try to help those who don’t have what we have and I always hope we share our love of life and give a little hope along the way.

Stay tuned for more exciting information about my author friends and their great publications. For information about a Keynote, Workshop, Professional Development, Visit or SKYPE visit contact me at maryjo@storytellin.com


Hook up with me in DC, on Face Book, Linkedin, Pinterest, Prekandksharing, Twitter and come back each month to connect with







Changes To The Storytellin’ Website!

Mary Jo Huff

© 2013 Mary Jo Huff

If you haven’t visited my website lately you should come on over and see the new changes! I’ve been working hard to add new features and make the website better than ever! During this transition you may receive a few “weird” emails as part of the testing. Just part of the growing process. Thanks again for following! Hope to have much more in the very near future!



I come from Indiana where BASKETBALL creates a true MARCH MADNESS.  Some people would say we are full of it but then maybe we are???  The weather is so unpredictable during this month so be prepared to punt your curriculum.

I visited Austin Peay University in Clarksville, TN and experienced excitement about the ideas on the playground.  Material, purchased at a local store, was tied, at the top, to the high fence and the children could see the effects of the wind even when it was just a





Consider your playground and how you can take advantage of the March winds.  Sound is another effect of the wind and the playground provided exploration of sound.




 If someone is cutting down a tree in your area, especially after a story, ask them to cut you some logs – and of course deliver them to your playground.  This log-a-pillar is a favorite of all the children to sit on and to walk on.  The tent tunnels are a favorite and the children helped construct this tent around the tunnels and they can see and feel the effects of the wind as they listen to the sounds surrounding the area.




 For more information about this wonderful playground and university based center  contact:

Connie Sanders
Austin Peay State University
Child Learning Center
637 N 8th Street
P.O. Box 4776
Clarksville, TN 37044

The world is moving at an accelerated speed but children need to experience the world that surrounds them in a natural play atmosphere.

As the world turns at an accelerated speed I try to keep myself grounded. Each day brings a new adventure and here is a fun and true story.  My cell phone rang and I heard “Grandma Dodie (that would be my family name) it’s me Cole.” 

“Hi buddy I knew it was you.”  “Tell your plane to bring you back!”  “Honey I cannot come back to Florida.”  “Yea, just tell your plane to bring you back.”  “I cannot come back to Florida right now.”  “Yea you have to because I am playing baseball

And I hit the ball really, really hard and runned faster and faster.”  “You gotta come back.”  Then in the background I heard……”Cole, where are you and do you have my phone?”  He figured out to call me on his mom’s cell phone and I cherish every phone call he sneaks.

Kid stories are always the best stories.  Keep a journal of what they say and it will be the best reading day or night.

I am on the road for the rest of the month of March and the calendar is full for April and May.  Hope to see you along the way.


Thanks for joining me and you can contact me at:

Mary Jo Huff
Check out my web site:

Join me on FB, Pinterest, Linkedin and PreKandKsharing



Pre-K Hand & Foot Print Flag

Thanks, Connie Sanders
Austin Peay Child Learning Center
Clarksville, Tennessee 2012

A salute to all the VETERANS and their families for what they have given to this great country.  A special thanks to my own Jar Head who spent 8 years serving his country.  I learned a lot in those early years and my heart and thanks goes out to every VETERAN and their family.   A special thanks for all military families who work so hard to protect our great nation.  If you do not know anyone serving our country find someone, give them a hug or just say thanks.  One of the most touching times is when a military person is at an airport and the entire loading area steps aside and lets the service man or woman board first.  They are the bravest of the brave.



As this time of the year approaches there is always a buzz about the annual NAEYC conference.  This year it was in Atlanta and the conference was filled with the best of the best.  The VERY BEST is seeing old friends from around the world.  Spending a full day in the exhibit hall is always a top priority.

I had the privilege to present a PUPPET PLAY workshop with over 300 in attendance and we jived.  I left with a great feeling in my heart. Watch in 2013 for a new puppet book from Gryphon House filled with all the important ideas that are easy to make and connect to Early Childhood curriculum.

 Let me introduce you to some of my favorite people.

Thousands gathered to hear Mem Fox read some of her favorite stories and to explain to the massive audience how important WORDS are to children and their development.  You should own her books and have them available for yourself and for the children.

This gentle man sings for all children and has produced a 30 minute show filled with songs and it can be viewed at http://acmi.tv and select the Video-On-Demand feature.  On the next page type Songs from the Circle.

His web site is www.hughhanley.com


by Eric Litwin


This is Eric Litwin signing my copy of Pete the Cat to Grandma Dodie…..and I will cherish this book.  I rode on the elevator and said “Are you Pete the Cat Eric?” and we both laughed.  He is an educator, musician, author and true entertainer. 


Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
    Books you gotta have to read, sing, and play with children.


I will check in again on Dec. 11, 2012 and today  I want to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my grandson Liam………..who is 7 .     I am thankful for each and every one of you connected to Early Childhood education. You are the most IMPORTANT people in our society!

Mary Jo Huff, Author, Storyteller, Song Writer, Puppeteer

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The beauty of our world is peeking through my windows.  The leaves are so many different colors, the fall flowers are in full bloom and the air is crisp.  This is a favorite time of the year as I drive back roads from Southern Indiana to Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis and down to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. 

I pack my orange suitcases, grab the puppets and away we go.  Children are so receptive to learning about the changes, the seasons and different types of songs, finger plays and food.


One of the best ways to get parents involved with the children is to create books that travel from school to home and back again.  These books are kept in the classroom so children can read and reread during the year and reference what time of the year the book was made.

The pumpkin pattern is from Jonesborough, Arkansas.  It laminated with 5 mil. Laminate and attached with a metal ring.  The holes on the white pages are reinforced with circle reinforcements.

The children visited the local pumpkin patch and took their own pumpkin home after designing a face on the pumpkin.

PARENT DIRECTIONS:  Share your favorite pumpkin picking adventures.  Your child will illustrate and dictate and return the book the following day.

Pickin’ Pumpkins in the Pumpkin Patch is a song by Jim Coffey and can be found on the CD Peeper Pizzaazzz along with the story of the Orange Ghost on Storytelling for Kids.


A visit to the local fire department is always a highlight for children and attending parents.

After the trip this book was sent home so the children could dictate their favorite thing at the fire station.  If you cannot visit the fire station call your local volunteers and ask if someone can bring the fire truck to your school or center. 


Take It To Your Seat activities are designed by Evan Moor a great publishing company.  The pictures are in color and all you need to do is cut them out and attach to a bag.  The best idea is to purchase or ask for donations of bags and attach the SCARECROW to the outside with Velcro.  The directions are attached to the back with Velcro also.  This way when the bag is worn all you have to do is replace the bag.

Inside the bag are the interactive TAKE-IT-TO-YOUR-SEAT activities.   This idea was used the entire year and was set up as a center.  When the children understood the directions it became a favorite center and they always anticipated the changes in the bags.  The items attached to the bags were laminated with 5 mil. Laminate as were the activity cards.








Two of my favorite books to read along with others listed on my web site.   Yes I read!!!  Someone asked me if I always told stories and I said “Of Course I do!”  then I realized that they were referring to reading to children.  I read all the time as tI still do with my grandchildren but when  a good story begs to be told and retold I am on it right away.

I will insert a few pages from a parent/child, class book.  These ideas worked to connect our families and to get the children ready to become the best readers.

 Enjoy a healthy food activity to accompany this time of the year.

INGREDIENTS:  Volunteers to help so each child can create their own edible pumpkin.

Cheez Wiz
English Muffins

Spreading knife

DIRECTIONS:  Invite the children to choose a toasted English muffin half.  Place the muffin on a paper plate and direct the children as to spreading the Cheez Wiz on the muffin.  Tell them to cover the top of the muffin.  After they are finished spreading the cheese on the muffin tell them to use the raisins to make a face on the muffin.  They can then eat the muffin for their snack.


Each year at this time we talked about and explored spiders and how they spin a web.  The following picture is of a paint reverse.  Be generous with Elmer’s Glue to make the pattern of a spider web and paint it white and place a piece of black paper over the painted web, and rub it with your hand.  The children spend many minutes rubbing the paper because they can feel the web under the paper.  Pull the paper off and hang to dry.  Children are always amazed at this process and it can be repeated throughout the year with different shapes.

This web is black and was reversed on orange paper.


Have a great rest of the month and keep the children’s minds wondering what you will come up with next.  Some call this intentional teaching ( a new buzz word) but at our center we have always taught with the intention of the children learning while having fun.

Check out my web site at www.storytellin.com to find the CDs with music and stories, and sign up for my newsletterMary Jo Huff, Author, Storyteller, Puppeteer and Song Writer.