Tampa/Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival

2020 Featured Teller: Orisirisi African Folklore

How to Participate

ATTENTION: School Media Specialist, Teachers, Youth Leaders, and Parents

Hillsborough County is once again gearing up for its 40th Annual Storytelling Festival.

WHEN: Saturday, April 25th, 2020, 10:00am – 4:00pm
WHERE: Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library, located at 1505 Nebraska Avenue, Tampa, FL 33602 .

Every Registered Festival Quality Youth Storyteller who attends the Festival will receive a FREE book of their choice and a Storytelling Festival T-shirt!



  • To renew and promote the art of storytelling for children and adults
  • To introduce some of the best stories in the oral tradition to children and adults.
  • To develop self-confidence and public speaking skills in children.
  • To involve special populations, such as the elderly, the handicapped, the Spanish speaking and African-American Communities in the renewal of this art.
  • To better prepare children for participation in the art by providing in-service training in the art of storytelling for the teachers, librarians and recreation leaders of these children.
  • To bring to the Tampa Area a festival introducing folk tradition as presented through the telling and hearing of good stories; using the local talent of Hillsborough County’s children and adults, as well as some of the finest storytelling artists in the nation.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE: Students – Kindergarten through 12th Grade


If you are planning to participate and do not have a manual you can view/download the pdf here or Jason Rogers at RogersJM@hillsboroughcounty.org and a manual will be mailed to you. Manuals are free to all Hillsborough County residents.

How you and your students can participate:

1. Lead a group:

Notify Jason Rogers by e-mail if you will be starting a group by providing the number of participating students and a mailing address. Use the attached form for this. A packet will then be sent to you via mail with materials you need for your group.

2. Instruction:

Use the Storytelling manual  for activities.

3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluations should all be completed by March 21st, 2020
  • Storytellers will be evaluated at schools, libraries or recreation centers. After the children have learned their stories, arrange for a storytelling event at which they will be evaluated. You can plan to make this a small mini-festival within your own school or facility.
  • If a child is participating independently (i.e. not in a school setting), the parent may arrange for the child to tell their story and be evaluated by contacting their local Hillsborough County public library’s Youth Specialist.

Evaluators: The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System will provide children’s librarians to help with the evaluating if needed. Contact your closest library for this service. Because of possible scheduling restraints, contact your library early. Other evaluators might be your school’s media specialist, teachers or PTA members. (See Manual p. 22-23: Suggestions for an Evaluation Panel).

Evaluators will need:

  1. Evaluation Form for EACH storyteller (See Manual p. 28: Evaluation Form, or print from library’s Storytelling website)
  2. Criteria For Storytelling (See Manual p. 21: Criteria for Evaluation Storytelling)
  3. Registration and Parent Consent Form for EACH storyteller. Mark the corner box on the registration card to indicate those children who have met the storytelling criteria and have been judged to be a Festival or Ambassador Quality Storyteller.
  4. Invitation Letter to be sent home to the parent if the child was judged as Festival or Ambassador Quality Storyteller, inviting them to the culminating Festival on Saturday, April 25th, 2020. ALL children and their families and friends are invited to attend this FREE Festival.
  5. Certificates (See Manual p. 26: Certificates) should be awarded to ALL participants.
  6. Stop watch or watch with second hand. All stories must be timed accurately and time entered on Registration Card (example: 4 min. 32 sec.) Accuracy is critical for scheduling purposes at the culminating Festival.
  7. Suggestions for an evaluation panel (See Manual p. 22-23)

4. Registration and parent consent form:

  • Each storyteller will need a registration form. The registration form should be filled out by the storytelling instructors so that spelling and information is accurate, legible and complete. This form can then be sent home with the child for the parental consent/choice of storytelling time. PLEASE PRINT ALL INFORMATION OR COMPLETE THE ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM.
  • For statistical purposes, please make copies of registration forms before sending home with child/parent. If a form is not returned, please mail the copy (without completed parent consent info) in with your completed ones so that we know how many children were deemed Festival or Ambassador Quality (your school could win an award for the most participating children!)
  • These completed forms SHOULD BE SENT TO JASON ROGERS ON OR BEFORE April 1, 2020.
  • For statistical purposes, please send in registration cards for ALL participating storytellers.


Jason Rogers
Youth Services
John F. Germany Library
900 N. Ashley Dr.
Tampa, FL 33602

Phone: 813.273.3764
Email: RogersJM@hillsboroughcounty.org

Timeline :

  1. Notify Jason Rogers by e-mail if you have a participating group. If requested, schools may receive a package of materials via mail to assist with leading your group (or you can go online to print the materials yourself).
  2. Schools evaluate their storytellers by March 21st, 2020, completing the registration portion of form with the parent consent portion due back to the schools by March 28th, 2020.
  3. Schools will mail completed registration/parent consent forms to Lorie Tonti by April 1, 2020.
  4. Schools will receive their students’ storytelling schedules for the day of the Festival by April 3, 2020.
  5. Come and enjoy the Festival on April 25th, 2020

Contact Us

Jason Rogers
c/o Tampa-Hillsborough County Library
102 E. 7th Avenue
Tampa, FL 33602

What the Festival contributes:

County-wide mini-festivals each Spring …

In February and March, children tell their stories at a series of mini-festivals throughout the County. Those children who meet the Storytelling Committee’s criteria for outstanding storytelling are deemed to be Festival Quality Storytellers and are invited to be featured storytellers at the culminating Festival in April. All children who learn stories are awarded a certificate thanking them for promoting the art of storytelling. Those children who are Festival Quality Storytellers are featured at the Festival and awarded gift books and ribbons at that event (approximately 500 each year).

See a Map

Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library, Home of the 40th Annual Hillsborough County-Tampa Storytelling Festival: 1505 Nebraska Ave., Tampa, FL 33602


hourglass59 days and counting until the 40th Annual Storytelling Festival is here!

What they’re saying:


“This [Festival] is a wonderful opportunity to see and hear storytelling at its best by some terrific young talent. Great job Storytellers!”

— Deanna Long, Festival Attendee

In Memory

Virginia RiversThe Annual Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival is dedicated to the memory of Virginia Rivers