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Eileen Colwell

(1904—2002) librarian and storyteller


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(1904–2002), contributed outstandingly to the development of storytelling in British schools and libraries. In 1924 Eileen Hilda Colwell became responsible for children's libraries in Hendon, Middlesex. Her pioneering work there inspired widespread library and storytelling programs for young children. She continued her work when lecturing at Loughborough University's school of librarianship, where she conducted in-service education courses for librarians and teachers. Her own storytelling style was quiet and undemonstrative, with effective pauses. She avoided drama, gesticulation, and visual aids, believing that they detracted from the story, citing a parent whose overacting of Goldilocks led his daughter to ask when he was really going to tell her the story. Colwell compiled two collections of stories suitable for telling or reading to children. A Storyteller's Choice (1961) was followed by A Second Storyteller's Choice (1963). Her book Storytelling (1980) is considered a standard work.

From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.


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