Tai Chi Storytelling

In this unique and dynamic program, Xelena will follow a reading of her book All Around Us with a movement-based retelling of the tale. Drawing upon her experience living in China, she will introduce participants to the basics of tai chi in a way that will make the story meaningful and unforgettable. Time permitting, participants will then engage in a group story circle that will involve their own ideas and movements inspired by tai chi, yoga, or other forms of expression. This program is appropriate for ages 5 to adult, and can be modified for younger audiences with parent participation.

*30 minutes minimum, with the option to extend exercise up to 90 minutes

Story Walk: An Interactive Way to Experience Story

Also in conjunction with the San Antonio Public Library, Xelena and Adriana shared an early version of the book with their community through a dynamic reading and art installation, designed in the style of a Story Walk. This unique way of sharing stories promotes family literacy, healthy living, and nature appreciation. Please contact the creators to discuss the space and cost considerations involved in replicating this exhibition in your space or city. Indoor or outdoor displays are possible.

Circles are Everywhere

What do you see inside a circle? What can you design using only circles? What circles are you a part of? Using simple demonstrations and free-writing/drawing exercises, this workshop can be tailored to fit any age group. It involves brief discussion post book-reading and a chance to participate in a worldwide experimental art project based on circles. Older writers will leave with the beginnings of a reflective story, essay, or poem.

*30 minutes minimum, which includes story time for younger participants.

Play & Learn: Early Childhood Programming

In conjunction with the San Antonio Public Library, Xelena and Adriana led an early-literacy-based “Play & Learn” program that centred around their story. Themes included gardening, rainbows, circles, and family. Each activity included some component of early literacy practices (reading, writing, talking, singing, and playing). Please contact the creators to request a list of these activities to replicate in your library, home, or learning center. It is also possible to incorporate one or more of these activities into a scheduled visit.

The Seeds of Personal Story: Educator Workshop

Open to teachers, parents, and lifelong learners, this workshop asks us to go to our roots to find the stories that shape us. With a light focus, we will explore culture, family traditions, and belief systems through reflective writing exercises and guided discussion. Educators will learn simple techniques for eliciting similar writing from their students through fun exercises.

*1 hour minimum, with option to extend to 2 hours.

A Rainbow of Words & Color

Add a splash of color to your walls as participants create a group mural that combines images and words relevant to agreed-upon themes and intentions. Everyone will have the chance to contribute ideas in the form of sketches and creative writing, which Adriana and Xelena will help refine during the workshop. The final piece can be a stand-alone art piece for the space or the initial sketch for an eventual mural. (Adriana, an experienced muralist, can advise interested parties on mural development plans.) This program can be modified for early/pre-writers.

*90 minutes minimum is optimal for the exercise, with the option to extend exercise up to 2 hours or longer.

Sowing Seeds

This is a simple seeding activity that can be led in conjunction with any of the aforementioned programs or as a stand-alone project. It is also a nice prelude or follow-up to a scheduled author/illustrator visit. Many ideas can be found online, and we are happy to suggest the ones that have worked for us in past programs. Older participants can engage in conversation about the metaphorical seeds we wish to sow in our circles of community.

*30 minutes minimum, including reading.

The Rainbow Within: Playing with Poetry

This workshop asks participants go within and reflect upon their own unique gifts. We will connect with images from nature, as we build a poem that may play with metaphor, simile, or personification. Adding illustrations to our creations will enhance the experience and the final piece (which can be formatted on a single page or in “mini book” form). If time allows, we will extend the poem into expressive movement, with a focus on mindfulness / positive affirmations.

*45 minutes minimum, with the option to extend exercise up to 2 hours.

Writing & Sketching in Nature

Take a nature walk with All Around Us creators Xelena & Adriana, as they guide participants in new ways of observing their environment and re-envisioning their findings on the page. As writers, we will play with personification and other poetic tricks. As artists, we will discover ways to add life to objects that only appear to be inanimate. All ages and levels are welcome to take the nature walk, but participants ages 8 and up will benefit the most from this experience.

* 45 minutes minimum, with the option to extend exercise up to 2 hours. Open access to nature is essential. Parks, gardens, and even yards are ideal.