LAHS student organizes storytelling event set for Saturday at library

Making a return after nearly three years, the Los Altos Library’s storytelling festival for all ages is scheduled 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road. 

Anooshkha Shetty, a junior at Los Altos High School, organized the free event, stemming from her association with the South Bay Storytellers and Listeners organization.

According to its website, SBSL is a “network of people ... who are dedicated to making storytelling a vital part of our community and improving our storytelling and listening skills.” The group meets the third Sunday of each month at Los Altos Methodist Church.

Shetty said she joined the organization when she was 5 years old because she enjoyed hearing the stories people told. She then progressed to storytelling when she was around 8 years old.

Shetty's personal favorite stories to tell are Anansi stories, which are African folktales following the life of a knowledgeable spider.

“I like seeing the reaction of children when I tell the story,” she said. “It’s fun to tell because there are so many actions involved and different voices.”

According to Shetty, each story lasts 5-10 minutes; topics range from personal accounts to cultural expression. The lack of restrictions enables participants to pass down their own experiences to listeners, she said, adding that this is unique to storytelling, because the presence of technology has led to a disconnect in society.

“Storytelling passes down thoughts about different cultures and different life experiences,” she said. “And we don’t do that anymore with phones and social media. We don’t talk face to face and share our stories and what we have learned.”

Shetty said she hopes to continue holding storytelling festivals at the library and to pass down her love for storytelling to her younger sister, who is also a storyteller with SBSL.

The event will feature 12 storytellers chosen by Shetty because of their “love for storytelling,” she said.

For more information, call 948-7683.

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