Children's Storytellers & Readers

Children of all ages are invited to join storytellers from South Mountain Community College's Storytelling Institute and readers from Sun Sounds of Arizona for folktales, legends, and engaging stories that will delight and entertain.


Hear Storytelling Institute storytellers at the bottom of every hour. At the top of each hour, you'll enjoy hearing Sun Sounds of Arizona readers, Aimee Smith, and Michelle Hufford, long-time educators from Chandler Unified School District.

10:30 a.m.

  • Lizbeth Congiusti, Debbie Rowe, Wendy Miller, Mark Compton

11:30 a.m.

  • Pamela Spence, Lizbeth Congiusti, Wendy Miller, Sandra Scott

12:30 p.m.

  • Debbie Rowe, Sandra Scott, Mark Compton, Kathy Eastman

1:30 p.m.

  • John Gennette, Mark Compton, Kathy Eastman, Alexander Rodriquez, Chrissy Dart

2:30 p.m.

  • Mark Goldman, Kathy Eastman, Chantel Freed, Laura Rutherford, Liz Warren


Children's Storytellers

Mark Compton has been telling stories around the Valley of the Sun for many years delighting listeners at Boys and Girls Club, Botanical Gardens, schools, libraries, and community events. As president of West Side Story Tellers, he has helped bring the annual Tellabration to the West Valley. His work at KJZZ's Storyfest today continues the tradition of telling stories to entertain, educate, and enchant.

Lizbeth Congiusti is from a large Italian family who sat around the dining table telling stories. In 2016 she told her first story for the Arizona Storytellers Project and became hooked on storytelling.  She enjoys telling to audiences of all ages.

Chantel Freed enjoys utilizing her creativity while telling folktales, fact-based stories, and personal stories as an oral traditional storyteller. Chantel lived in Germany with Mario, her husband, before landing in the 100-degree temperatures of blazing Arizona back at the beginning of 2015. She has been involved with the Storytelling Institute at South Mountain Community College and her community ever since. She is active in the Storytelling Institute’s guild, and is also the administrative assistant for the institute. On May 4, 2018, she will receive her Academic Certificate in Storytelling, a 30-credit program offered by SMCC.

John Gennette has performed for young audiences from Michigan to California—in schools, theatres, libraries, parks, backyards and living rooms—wherever a group of children are ready for a story. John is also the co-founder of Storyscope – A Story Circles Project, which welcomes people from every walk of life to share personal stories with one another as a way to celebrate cultures and strengthen communities.

Michelle Hufford has 17 years of experience teaching in the elementary classroom setting. Her passion is literacy and her ultimate goal is to encourage a love for reading in each of her students. Michelle is currently working as an elementary school librarian at Patterson Elementary School in the Chandler Unified School District where she gets to do one of her all-time favorite activities every single day: read to children!

Debbie Rowe is a student of the SMCC Storytelling Institute, currently working on her storytelling certificate. She happily enjoys crafting and listening to stories of all genres and loves participating in community events. It’s a joy to meet a whole new community of people!

Aimee Smith has been an elementary teacher for the past 13 years. An avid reader since childhood, she tries to spark a love of reading in her students. Even though she teaches sixth graders, Aimee still reads aloud to them each day and believes you’re never too old to enjoy a story. Her love of reading also led her to Sun Sounds of Arizona, where she is a volunteer reader.

Pamela Spence has a Master's degree in Intercultural Communication and maintains a dual career as a consultant in training, teaching, and instructional design. Her career began as a Cultural Anthropologist and Linguist in Ecuador. She performed socio-economic research with several international organizations, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and the Peace Corps Training Center. Speaking Spanish French and Quichua is an asset to her international work.

Liz Warren, a fourth-generation Arizonan, is the director and one of the founders of the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The Institute received the Maricopa Community Colleges 2016 Diversity Award, and the 2014 New Times Best of Phoenix award for “Best Place to Learn to Tell Tales.” Her textbook, The Oral Tradition Today: An Introduction to the Art of Storytelling is used at colleges around the nation. Her recorded version of The Story of the Grail received a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award and a Storytelling World Award. She serves as storytelling coach for Gannett’s nationwide Storytellers Project. In July 2014 she received the Oracle Award for Service and Leadership from the National Storytelling Network. In September 2014 she was named to the New Times list of 100 Creatives in Phoenix.  She spends most summers in Ireland teaching for Mesa Community College’s Study Abroad Ireland program. The Arizona Humanities Council recently awarded her the Dan Schilling Award as the 2018 Humanities Public Scholar.