Sparkle Stories Blog

Three free Thanksgiving stories, and one GIANT elephant

elephant on dumbwatier cropped

Hello Sparklers!

Do you see that giant elephant?

Well, she represents a giant goof we made. 

You see, our website wasn’t working right.

And so the developers dug in to find the source of the problem.

What did they find?

A massive collection of giant graphics files, grinding our little site down to a halt.  We had uploaded those lovely, large photos and images, not knowing what giants they were. And like that little mouse, our website was struggling under their weight.

What does that mean for us?

Well…. we have to re-format those images.   Every one of them.  And there are hundreds.  And hundreds.

We had to laugh.

We’ve uploaded and tagged over 900 stories.  We’ve reformatted and tagged hundreds of blog posts.  And so, what’s another several hundred graphics images?

We’re on it!

But what does this mean for you? Continue reading “Three free Thanksgiving stories, and one GIANT elephant” »

Refugees, Otherness and a Free Story of Compassion.

Last week was a shock for the world.  The events in Paris and Beirut left us all feeling horrified and vulnerable.
We posted these stories to help you ground and reassure your child – they were stories that repeated the basic message, “This happened, you are safe, and the grown ups will do whatever they can to make sure you stay safe.”
And now – with the world wondering what to do with the thousands of Syrian refugees and how to regard the Muslim population in our towns and cities and countries – we would like to offer another story.
It is one of compassion, of empathy and one that proclaims “We are all connected and Everyone Belongs“.  This is what we believe and if this is a message that you want to offer your child, here is “The Pigeon King and the True Source” from our “By Thistle By Thimble” series.


“The Pigeon King and the True Source”

The story is about the descendants of one couple – an Abraham/Sarah-like couple who were the model of peace and hospitality.  They have three daughters, each of which inherit certain unique qualities of their parents.  Thus begins the feeling of separation – of us and them.  The result ultimately is oppression and then war.  But luckily a group of children – all descended from the three distinct lineages – find each other, begin to play and discover an ancient spring of water.  This is the true source of that binds them all together.  And a seed of peace and reconciliation is planted.

This story is offered as an alternative to stories of ‘us’ and ‘them’, to ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people.  Instead it says we all come from the same place – we are all flawed and we are all seeking the same thing – peace.  This, we believe, is a message worth spreading to our young people.  

Three Stories for Holding our Children in the Face of Terror

Last night we were having a family hang-out after dinner.   My son had asked me to email out his birthday list, and just before I opened my gmail, I peeked at the tab open on Huffpost and saw the news about the Paris attacks.

I quickly scrolled to find out the basics, and closed the tab with a horrible wrench in my stomach.  I took a deep breath and preceded with the evening, trying to contain the grief I was feeling — in order to protect my children from the fresh and terrible news.

After we said goodnight to the boys, and were finally having those few minutes of adult conversation, in came my younger.   Pale and trembling.  He recounted how weeks ago a schoolmate had told him about ISIS videos in which people were painfully beheaded.   And he was afraid.

I protect my younger from news of that level — almost ferociously — but it’s going to come in through some crack.  How can it not?  (And then there’s his incredible intuition.  I had said NOTHING but still he knew what was up.)

So what do you do?


I held my guy, and told him how safe he was. (Bless our country. Bless our situation in it.  Massive gratitude here.).

I asked him to feel the warmth of my body, and to see if he could feel the love pouring from mine into his.  (I was inviting him into his body and out of his frightened mind.)

And I reminded him how loved and cared for he is.   And safe.

These are fearful times — and it can be so hard to imbue our homes and parenting with a sense of deep security, when we ourselves look at the news and tremble.

Here’s where the power of story comes in.

When the stories in the news are of terror and fear, we can intentionally choose different stories to tell our children.

We have a three good stories that we’ve written over the years to support children and families through times of crisis.  You’ll find them all below.

Prayers to Paris, and prayers to the world as we seek to heal and find love in the middle of great fear.

Here’s how to make use of these stories:

If your children have questions about the events in Paris, ISIS, or terrorism, share these stories with them. Don’t give them context or an explanation, just invite them to listen.

And then, when the time is appropriate, you can return to the ISIS or terrorism conversation, and help them to use the story to chase the “could bees” away and only attend to what is true for your family.


A story about how to feel safe while grieving a sudden tragedy

We wrote this story as a support children who may hear (or feel) the impact of the incredible tragedy.  Stories can be powerful healers — they can offer solace, they can be a vehicle for deeper understanding, they can provide emotional support through mirroring, and they can inspire conversation.  We wanted a story that addresses loss and tragedy, but that leaves children with a sense that the adults in their world love them, and are keeping them safe, and are doing everything they can to ensure that it never happens again.

(This was written as a support in the aftermath of the school shooting in Sandy Hook in December 2012.) 


This story is about a young girl named Lee, who loves her little black dog Prince.  But one day, Prince is suddenly killed by a speeding car.  The girl not only has to come to grips with the abrupt loss of her dog, but she also manages questions like “Who was it?  Why didn’t they stop? How could they do it?”.  And the ultimate message from her loving parents is this:  We love you.  It is OK to be sad.  We are holding you.  And we will do everything we can to prevent this from happening again.

For the text version of this story, see the original post HERE.

“Denny and the Could Bee”

A story for children worried about scary events that are out of their control

This story is all about the insidious nature of imagining what ‘could’ happen. Rumors, exaggerations, fearful stories and even simple wonderings have ‘Could Bees’ buzzing around in them. Luckily Mr. James, Denny’s kindergarten teacher, has a way of shooing those Could Bees away and allowing the truth of the matter to become clear.

This story was inspired by the ebola scare, but it is appropriate for meeting any of the big local, national and world events that are out of our children’s control.  (It does not mention ebola.  The child in the story is concerned about bullies, loud bells, and cooties.)

This story teaches the children about “Could Bees” and how to recognize them. It also gives the children a tool – a “Could Bee Spray” of soothing herbs like lavender that will help send the Bees on their way.

It is our hope that families can use this story to inspire conversation, and establish a clear family understanding around big events that the larger community or media is talking about so regularly and loudly.

 (This was written as a support for children in the face of fears about Ebola in October 2014.) 

Download Denny and the Could Bee 

For the text version of this story, see the original post HERE.


A story for children worried about their safety

It is a short story about Dennis, a happy little six year old boy who wakes one morning to see his mother listening to the radio in the kitchen.  She turns it off, but Dennis can tell that something is wrong and that his mother is feeling sad – and maybe a little scared.  She explains that something happened, a big storm moved through a town, and buildings were damaged and people were hurt.  When she sees that this is making him feel nervous, she scoops him up and tells him,

“I know that when something like this happens – when there are very strong winds or other kinds of storms – people around the world will know about it. And do you know what they do when they find out?  They will help.”

She then told him about how all the people on their street, in their neighborhood and in their town that want to make sure that he, Dennis, is safe.

“But you know what, Dennis?” his Mother asked, raising her eyebrows, “It is time for us to be the helpers.  There are people that are feeling scared right now because a storm came to their house.  Our house is fine and so are we.  Are you ready to be a helper?”

We hope this story helps with how your children meet this and other difficult events that we all must face.

 (This was written as a support of families after the Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes in May 2013.


Download Helpers

For the text version of this story, see the original post HERE.


These stories have no Sparkle advertisement –
only a short copyright tag at the end. 

It is only intended as a gift to support families who may find it useful. 

Feel free to download and share or email these stories as often as you’d like. 

We give permission for it to be shared freely.


friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words and images we receive!


 Dear Team Sparkle,

I am so excited for you all!  Since discovering Sparkle Stories 4 years ago, I have been consistently delighted and impressed
Your work is so vital to this world.
As a storyteller, former Waldorf school teacher, and consultant, I am inspired as much by your amazing business sense and growth as I am by the way you tap into the spirit of wonder.  Thank you for making our lives richer.

sparkle kitchen- pierogies

Pierogies|| Sparkle SaturdayIn this week’s Saturday Sparkle story “Help Is Near” we hear a Russian folktale about three brothers who work together to bring back the King’s three daughters from the grips of three nasty serpents.

I don’t know about you, but fighting three serpents would make me famished, so I hope the brothers had a large stash of pierogies to see them through their journey.

What’s a pierogi, you ask?  Well, a pierogi is doughy dumpling stuffed with filling—like potatoes and cheese—and typically served with sour cream or onions.  Think of it as the Russian equivalent to the ravioli.

As is often the case with traditional, ethnic foods, pierogies are also a good way to turn leftovers—in this case, mashed potatoes—into a whole new meal.  Continue reading “sparkle kitchen- pierogies” »

friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words and images we receive!




Hi Sparkle Team,

Just wanted to fire off a few words of THANK YOU! I took a few moments to read over the FAQs about the new site/app and from your excellent explanations Sparkle is moving forward in a way I always hoped it would (and likely better!).
I am so excited to not have to choose which subscriptions and just have access to all the goodness. Fantastic idea!
Not only do I feel like I’m getting the steal of the century, but I can also have Sparkle grow seamlessly with my family. We can pull stories that are appropriate for our life journey not just our age journey. Keep up the fantastic work! 
~Kristin Runyon

sparkle kitchen- popovers

Popovers||Martin & Sylvia Saturday'sIn this week’s Martin and Sylvia: Saturdays! story, “A Hunting Morning”, Laura is visiting the Browns next door, and Martin and Sylvia are invited over for buttered popovers. Mr. and Mrs. Brown then decide to set up a ‘popover treasure hunt’ for the three children where they need to use their noses to find the tasty treats. When the hunt begins, however, the children are surprised to find they are not the only ones doing the hunting!


For the longest time I thought that you had to have a special pan to make popovers, so—not wanting to clutter up my kitchen with a one-trick pan—I simple never made them.  


But, did you know that you can make popovers in a normal muffin tin?


Continue reading “sparkle kitchen- popovers” »

friday’s kind words

Whenever a Sparkle family takes the time to share their experience with the stories, we are delighted and moved.  Each week we like to share some of the kind words and images we receive!


Don’t let anyone tell you that kids age out of Sparkle Stories!

We listened to your first story in the Dry Gable series and my 11 year old son really connected to the voice and feel of the story. He thought it was great and honestly, being a story teller himself (has written a musical and wants to join a theater group to be a playwright) he is a bit of a story snob.

I am forever grateful to your family for sharing wonderful tales with my family. You have brightened days, helped the kids through tough times and brought joy to our holiday celebrations.

All the best, Roz

sparkle kitchen- taffy

IMG_1069In this week’s Martin and Sylvia: More Adventures! story, “The Treeclimber’s Code” Martin wants to climb an extra tall maple tree, so Daddy introduces him to the first rule of the “treeclimber’s code”—a climber must be able to climb entirely on their own with no help. When Martin decides to climb a spruce tree, instead, and gets up higher than ever, Daddy introduces him to the second rule—only climb as high as you can comfortably get down. When Martin is finally down and covered in sticky sap, Daddy introduces him to the third rule—climbers clean off their own pine sap!


Inspired by poor Martin’s sap covered hands—as well as Halloween, which is always a good time for homemade candy, in my book—this week I decided to have my own little taffy pull, something I’ve wanted to do every since I read about Anne and Diana making taffy in the childhood classic Anne of Green Gables.

One thing I’ll tell you that Anne didn’t cover:  do not even attempt to make taffy at home without first setting out about a half-stick of butter next to your work area.  I had oiled my hands up well, but ended up needing to be rescued by my family when the taffy started gluing itself to me after only the fourth or fifth pull.  If not for my nice husband, I might be there still.

Continue reading “sparkle kitchen- taffy” »

A giant Halloween treat: FOUR Free Stories!


Halloween boy-2

We have an absolute
HEAP of Halloween stories!

We love Halloween,
and we enjoy sharing that in all ways!

Below are the four stories that will be shared on the Podcast this week. But you can listen to them here NOW!

And below that you’ll find links to EVEN MORE!

Hold out your Halloween bag…..



1.“The Trick and the Treat”


It’s all about a magician, whose one magic trick isn’t really a trick, it’s real magic!

Septimo the magician has one trick: a card trick where the Jack of Hearts mysteriously flies into the air and disappears – only to reappear over someone’s head and then float back to the deck.  But the truth is, it is not a trick at all – it is real.  Septimo received the trick one Halloween night when he was seven years old – and he has been using it ever since.  That is, until a Halloween night many years later when the Jack of Hearts suddenly disappears.  And where did it go?  Maybe the girl with the sparkling green eyes knows…

This story is
 from the By Thistle By Thimble Audio Story Series.

Download The Trick and the Treat

2. “Sam Sugarpop and the Switch Witch Surprise”

switch.witch-2Sam Sugarpop is a frisky little fire sprite who loves loves loves sweets: “for breakfast, for dinner, for supper and tea” as the nursery rhyme goes.  When the children of the world hear his rhyme and also get a taste for sweets, a Halloween tradition is born: trick or treating for candy!

Well – it turns out that Sam is not the only fairy looking for sweets:  there is a cheerful witch that wants the candy for a very different reason: one that is a surprise to the children, their parents and to Sam Sugarpop himself.  And this brings about another Halloween Tradition – one you might not know about…

This story is from the So Many Fairies
Audio Story Series.


 Download The Switch Witch


3.   “The Orchardman and the Scarecrows”

 sparkle scarecrow!
There is a mystery at Kamwell’s apple orchard.  How is it that every morning he finds all the ripe apples neatly picked and lying on the soft grass?  When he looks around and sees only his scarecrow – he wonders… could it be?

This story is
 from the By Thistle By Thimble Audio Story Series.


 Download The Orchardman

4. “The Dark”


It’s autumn: the days are getting shorter, and the dark comes earlier. Martin is feeling nervous. He can’t see as well at night, and he worries about shadows and things he can’t see. All of it makes it difficult for him to go to sleep at bedtime.

Momma encourages him to use his other senses, and guides him through a hearing, smelling and feeling exercise that not only reassures him, but relaxes him enough to fall deeply asleep.

We recommend that you simply share this story with children who are struggling with fear of the dark.

The story includes a small, sense-based exercise that will relax and reassure – which can be used and adapted in your own family.

It’s from the Martin & Sylvia Audio Story Series.

Download The Dark


Just like with Halloween sweets,
it’s better when you SHARE!  


If you have enjoyed all of these Free Halloween Stories, please share them with your friends and family.   



It’s a Halloween Gift for your friends
and for Sparkle!


Would you like more Free Halloween Stories?


Jack-O-LanternThere you’ll find three more stories! 

Halloween Magic”
from the
Junkyard Tales Audio Story Series

“The Jack-o-Lantern”
from the So Many Fairies Audio Story Series

“Halloween Wonder”
from the by Thistle by Thimble Audio Story Series.


You can find the Sparkle Podcast in three places:



Each Audio Book is just $6 for an hour of delightful audio,
and includes 3 Halloween stories!

Enjoy the brand-new

So Many Fairies
Audio Book!



Try the favorite

Martin & Sylvia
Audio Book


final junkyard copy 2


And add the
Junkyard Tales
Audio Book!


(See all of Sparkle’s Audio Books HERE!)


free story!

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