Article for Native Hope

You are here:

Why Spiders

audiobooks for childrenI loved hearing and reading faiiry tales and narure myths as a child. Their defense of the sweetness of life against evil forces thrills me still. When I became a teller of stories, at my first storytelling conference in New Mexico, Jose Rey Toledo, a Hopi-Tewa artist with long, white braids, told how Grandfather Sun and Spider Grandmother awoke form dreaming and brought the world into being with a song. Then on a long, dangerous journey, Spider Grandmother led the way to successive worlds in which spiders and insects evolved into animals and animals evolved into people. Spider Grandmother still whispers advice to warn young people away from the four evils-fighting, hating, hoarding, and gambling and toward the good.

This wise and witty story with its vast perspective on nature, evolution, and the trickiness of human nature astonishes me. Clearty, this hard-won wisdom points us towards survival and, if ignored, towards destruction.

With Jose Rey Toledo’s permission, I tell the story to children on the risky road of life and remind them to listen for Spider Grandmother’s soft little voice  My connection with Spider Grandmother deepened when publisher Malcolm Margolin (Heyday Books, News from Native California) introduced Darryl Babe Wilson, writer and teacher from the Achomawi people in the Mount Shasta of California. In the Achomawi story, Spider Grandmother and two her littlest children lead the way towards survival through cooperation, creativity, and hard work. Connections like these weave a web of wonder that grows ever wider and more amazing. Come in and explore stories of nature’s secrets for yourself.


My first storybook, ‘Spider Secrets,’ offers five tales of wise and witty spiders from around the world. My new storybook, Spider Grandmother’s Web of Wonders” (2019) offers all the world wonder tales I have recorded, why I tell them, and how others might too. I have performed across the country from the Silk Road House in Berkeley, Marin Art & Garden Center, Filoli Garden in Woodside, and Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park, to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the Festival of Faiths in Louisville, and at the Moonluza Conference in Sintra, Portugal. I hold a BA in English and an MFA in Writing for Children from Spalding University in Louisville, and belong to NSN’s Healing Story Alliance, the Miranda Lux Foundation, the Garden Conservancy, and am a Voting Member of the Grammy’s Recording Academy. I tell the first story on’s new series for children, StoryParty. In July 2019, I will perform at the Hans Christian Andersen Center in Central Park, NYC.


Beatrice's World