May is National Share a Story Month 2021, which is ‘an annual celebration of the power of storytelling and story sharing….’
With this in mind we take a look at a small collection of books in our archive. This might spark some happy childhood memories of bedtime stories or times spent curled up with a book drifting into an imaginary world. You may have one of these books tucked away on a shelf that might have been passed down through the family.
Margaret Baker was born in the 1890’s into a Quaker family and wrote stories that were illustrated by her sister Mary from the 1920’s onwards. The stories she wrote included children’s fairy tales with a moral lesson and books of temperance teachings, which is why we come to have some of these stories in our archive.
Temperance lessons were imaginatively told through stories, rhymes, songs and plays and were used by the teachers and leaders of junior sections of temperance societies including the Band of Hope. They were written as a way of highlighting the physiological effects of intoxicants on the human body for children and young people, but in a way that were entertaining and could be easily understood.
Our forerunner, the British Womens Total Abstinence Union issued a monthly magazine to members called The White Ribbon, to share the associations temperance news with its members across the country. This periodical included a regular monthly feature of Margaret Baker short stories for children with a temperance theme, which the women members would presumably have shared with their own children.
Powerful messages can be conveyed through stories which have a moral behind them. They can teach us important life lessons and right from wrong. Remember The Tortoise And The Hare? The story is about a hare known to move quickly and a tortoise, which is known to move slower. The moral of the story when the tortoise wins, is that slow and steady wins the race. If you work hard and stay focused, you can achieve anything, even when you believe it is impossible.
I can still remember the joy of being read to as a young child, and some of the stories too. Stories can stay in your memory and imagination for a life time, which is a very good reason for us all to ’Share a Story’….