Norah Dooley is a storyteller, critically acclaimed children’s author and educator and the founder of a story slam series in Greater Boston. Norah’s widely acclaimed picture book, Everybody Cooks Rice is one of four titles in a series about her former neighborhood in Cambridge, MA. She specializes in teaching people of all ages how important their stories are and how to tell them.
Norah Dooley performs at festivals, conferences, events and venues throughout the U.S.. She has been featured as an Exchange Place storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, the Clearwater Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, National Storytelling Conference, Fringe Fest, in San Francisco, 2019 and several Cambridge-based Revels. For the past 18 summers she has told stories to 1000s of children through ReadBoston. For 3 years, she appeared as a historical storyteller for Save The Harbor, twice supported by Mass Humanities grant.
Norah teaches storytelling at Lesley University’s graduate school of Education and has taught storytelling to undergraduates at Tufts, Boston and Suffolk Universities. Internationally she has lectured teachers of English and graduate students in Tokyo, Japan on the role of storytelling in language acquisition. In summer of 2017 she taught storytelling in Arsuha, to Tanzanian Secondary school teachers as part of the African Storytelling initiative of World Ed.
Norah has an MEd in Creative Arts and Learning and has been a full time classroom teacher and an instructor in visual and performing arts in elementary and middle schools. Her 4 published picture books are available at LernerBooks.com and all titles; Everybody Cooks Rice, Everybody Bakes Bread, Everybody Serves Soup, Everybody Brings Noodles are about her family and their former Cambridge neighbors.
Norah has 6 spoken word CDs: The Music of Angels ( 1999) Italian Folk Tales (2002) Stories from the Neighborhood (2002) Rabbitails (2006) My Bad, Bad Dog and Other Neighbors (2006) and Irish Tales (2007) all produced by Seat of Her Pants Productions and available at CDBaby.com. Her latest book, My Bad Bad Dog (SeatofHerPants, 2016) is the first in a series of picture books about her childhood.
It was such a wonderful day! The kids were so taken by you, your expressiveness, your voice, and your stories. I just love the idea of the picture map you drew for them and think it will be so helpful in writing their own fables and plays. A couple of them said “this was the best day”, and I agree. It was the best day of the year!
Thank you, that was great! We have had a lot of authors come but yours was the best presentation we’ve ever had.
After your presentation to children in third, fourth and fifth grades, we had one child [I would describe as a ‘reluctant writer’] who asked his teacher, “Could we do some writing when we get back to the classroom?”… not , “When is recess?”, or “Can we have our snack now?”. You really struck a chord with so many. The teachers were thrilled to hear you say things they constantly say to children to encourage them to write. Your manner of presentation was captivating, convincing and encouraging… for children and adults.
The school is still full of your wonderful storytelling. Your work and this is no “flarching” as my English Grandmother would say, is stellar. You are without doubt the best storyteller that I have ever heard and I’ve heard a lot. Thank you so much for coming to Gordon. We very much hope that you will come back soon. I was in Kindergarten yesterday and reading a description of noodle making and eating along with a thank you to Norah Dooley for sparking the whole thing. Fifth grade have your book draft as a writing model and they are engaged in their own endeavors.
Wow! I am just starting to come down from the Spoken Word high! We had our finale on Friday (which was fabulous) and the teachers shared some stories – we learned so much from you and it was so evident at the finale! We just cannot thank you enough!“
I am writing because I want to thank you for your inspiration and encouragement. Each time I tell a story, I think of you fondly, and I wanted to thank you for showing me the magic that is created when a story is told from the heart instead of just read from the page. It has become a useful tool in my teaching repertoire, and one my children heartily enjoy.
Norah’s presentation to the Mass Bay District UU ministers and religious educators today was somewhere beyond superlative. I’ve been preaching, teaching, (and preaching & teaching) the value of stories, for 35 years now. And in that entire time, I’ve never encountered someone who could do what you did: both demonstrate and teach memorable story-telling technique simultaneously. Brava!
Norah Dooley puts all of her heart and soul into her craft, whether it be storytelling, writing, writing in collaboration with students, teaching or directing. She uses her charisma to excite her audience/students and draw them into her circle of warmth. This often allows kids to take new risks with their emerging abilities. She has great follow through- once committed to a project, she gives it everything, and always keeps her eye on making it a quality experience for her collaborators.
Norah's salient message to me - and everyone she has worked with, from all walks of life - is that everyone has a story. From observing her StoriesLive lessons in Boston Public Schools to her generous collaboration with me to develop a public narrative storytelling for advocates I was working with who have experienced homelessness. Norah has a dynamic and incredibly engaging way of storytelling and teaching, which she adapts adeptly to each group with which she works. I have deeply enjoyed working with her, and could not recommend the experience enough!