Why We Tell Stories

Chennai Storytelling Festival

photo by Ameen of the Storywallahs

We were honored to learn that Sowmya Srinavasin, a professional storyteller living in Bangalore, India, performed our story, “The Kite Flyer of Beijing,” at the Chennai Storytelling Festival on Saturday, February 8.

The story is about an old man living in Beijing who loves to fly kites with neighborhood children. The old man dies and his spirit enters a kite, making it come alive and able to perform all sorts of tricks, to the delight of the children below. For an unexpected reason, the old man eventually decides to take his place in heaven as a reward for the good life he’s led. The story gently introduces children to the subject of death and afterlife, while celebrating an enchanted land where kite flying is revered as an expression of the human spirit. (To download a copy of our story, click here.)

Sowmya wrote to us after the Festival to tell us that our story had been very well received by the audience. She shared a video of her storytelling at the Festival, along with a photo of her, deftly holding the imaginary strings of a kite between her fingers, teaching her audience how to fly a kite. My sons and I loved looking at both, and have been smiling ever since! 

In her e-mail, Sowmya explained why she loves storytelling.

I know that stories and storytelling for me is grace from above, for it is such an inward journey which reflects on those around . . . so surely it has impacted each and every member of my family, especially my children.

Teaching children, she writes, is one of the main reasons she became a storyteller.

The stories I tell inspire children to imagine and create and write of new wonderful worlds for themselves. Stories create a space of love and listening, empathy and understanding, creativity and freedom to experiment. These are the intangibles we cannot measure; we cannot mark or grade, but they add value to living and to the lives of curious minds. We hope that with more people who see value in such learning, these children grow up to be more empathetic and caring of all around.

In her beautiful yet simple description of grace, Sowmya captured the essential reason why we, as humans, love telling stories.

Sowmya Srinivasan is also the Creative Consultant to the Kid and Parent Foundation, which encourages parents and children to promote childhood literacy and development through storytelling. Sowmya is a frequent blogger and can be followed at www.soulspace.blogspot.com and www.reinventionstories.wordpress.com. Contact Sowmya at