One Night in Oraibi

Once long ago, a Hopi storyteller told me to listen for the voice of Spider Grandmother, weaver of the web of life, who still whispers wisdom to guide us—if we listen. So I listened. That was why on a freezing afternoon in northern Arizona, with my teenage son, Cannon, driving a rented Jeep up a […]

“Learn to Lead in Love”

Dear Gardeners, Storytellers, Readers, and Friends, Welcome to “Spider Secrets,” my monthly blog about gardens, gardening, and storytelling, with stories about mythic and modern gardens and about my own garden on San Francisco’s historic Russian Hill. We’ll also visit my favorite private and public gardens and green schoolyards. Enjoy downloads of nature stories from my […]


Seeding Courage and Hope  “When we sow a seed, we plant a narrative of future possibilities,” writes Sue Stuart-Smith, British psychiatrist, in her bestselling book, The Well-Gardened Mind. And with stories from long-lasting traditions, we as storytellers, teachers, parents, and grandparents, can plant seeds of hope and  courage in young imaginations. Children today need folk […]

Mending The Deep Web

Over time, men in power have excluded women from policy-making, and excluded scientists from Rachel Carson on. As a result, look where we are! Much of Earth’s magnificent web of life is threatened by greedy corporations, cowardly leaders, and “the catastrophic errors of war and destruction of the environment,” as Carl Sauer wrote in Man […]

The Wild Adventures of Monkey King

Are your children jumpy, restless, and bored? Are you? Containment is challenging for everyone, especially kids. Calm is hard to find. So, I offer you “Monkey King,” a story that, in wild leaps of imagination, illuminates the perils of hyperactivity and the rewards of meditation—and storytelling, too. In this beloved ancient Chinese myth, a maddening […]

Today these words lit my way through this dizzying time.

“We need your stories like air….” —Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, a mother at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, San Francisco.   This image is from my new Toy Storybooks project for kids. More info to come soon! For many stories your kids will love, see my book Grandmother Spider’s Web of Wonders. And here are some thoughts […]

My Favorite Reviews

My favorite reviews are often from children. These portraits of Spider Grandmother by Josephine Phandt (age 6) and her sister Antonia (age 3) made my day! Their love of stories, of nature, and of life itself shines so brightly.  My storybook, Spider Grandmother’s Web of Wonders, is a collection of twenty-five traditional wonder tales illustrated […]

Can Tiny Creatures Triumph?

Tiny Creatures Can Triumph: from my new Toy Storybook project for kids. Butterfly Blue reads a story to Button and three Garden Children about Ant and Bee who circled the Earth on a quest. Now the Garden Children must search for a weaver who can mend Earth’s tattered web of life. Can they succeed? Stay […]

Toy Storybooks to Create at Home

Toys and household things can be stars in this storytelling project that children, as well as parents, grandparents, and gardeners, can enjoy. I have always loved my children’s toys and those from a neighborhood pre-school we had here when the children were little. Now, years later, I’ve discovered the fun of creating stories and storybooks […]