Welcome back to our Mom Around Town Blog Series! Today I’m here to introduce a special entertainer, The Storybook Mom, who specializes in children’s storytelling! Check out her interview below and remember to read our last post from the Chicago Swim School here if you haven’t read it already!
Owners Name: Nili Yelin
Business Name: The Storybook Mom
Year Established: 2000
Location: Chicago and surrounding areas
Interview with Nili, The Storybook Mom:
Erika: What services does your business provide?
Nili: Interactive storytelling for kids of all ages.
Erika: I agree with you, Nili, with “all ages” because you put a lot of humor that adults can appreciate in your storytelling and the adults are enjoying it just as much! How does your business benefit the families in the Chicago area?
Nili: I hope to share my love and passion for literature, words, picture books and families through my performances and bring families together to share time in an old fashion way with a new twist! I perform and teach the families how to perform a story and let loose and be silly. Everyone benefits from some quiet and loud time and to focus on the same thing at the same time.
Erika: I think it is important to make storytelling fun and I just love your silly approach. My kids loved your performances! How did you get the idea to start your business?
Nili: I brought my own children when they were little to many storytimes and found them boring and listless and thought with my background in acting I could bring stories to life and also entertain the grownups at the same time. Being a mom is hard work and taking care of kids all day is the hardest work so since I had also spent years in comedy and improv it was a way to be funny, live in the moment and share some good laughs too with grownups.
Erika: What did you do before you started your business?
Nili: I acted in theatre, film, tv and did voiceover for commercials. I worked at Saturday Night Live for 10 years and at MTV for 5 years in New York City. I was a stand up comedian for years and stopped when I had kids. I was too tired to stay up late and would joke that I wish I could do comedy in the daytime and sit down. So I created “sit down stand up” for families.
Erika: That had to be so much fun! I was always a huge fan of Saturday Night Live and I imagine that was an amazing experience. Love the idea of the “sit down stand up” too! How funny! Can you share one memorable story from an experience you had related to your business?
Nili: I host the Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row Lit Fest Kids Stage every year and a couple of years ago Peter Yarrow, from Peter, Paul and Mary was a guest. He told me that he watched the way I worked with the audience and that he loved the feeling of joy and community that I created and hearing that from a childhood idol was incredible. So now I like to call my area at the Fest my own “Bookstock”, where peace and love and books abound.
Erika: You are too funny, Nili! I also LOVE to read and my kids do too! I also love the name “Bookstock!” Is there anything else you would like to tell us that is new for your business in 2015?
Nili: I have been working on a picture book series of my own for the last two years, researching, traveling, meeting some amazing collaborators and artists and am close to having the first in the series done and ready to go to my book agent. I have been inspired by a Broadway show from my childhood and have sought out the creators and producers of the original work and have listened to the music and researched the show every day for the past two years. I love adapting and performing stories and am now doing more original writing on my own. I perform stories 5-10 times a week and have been for almost 15 years so I know picture books in my soul and heart.
Erika: That is amazing and I’m sure it will be incredible! I look forward to seeing the completed project! Are there any upcoming events or promotions that you would like to share?
Nili: I will be hosting The Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest Kids Stage once again Saturday, June 6th and Sunday, June 7th, a Storytelling at Ribfest on June 13th, hosting Wilmette Summerfest Kids Stage on Saturday, July 11th and have weekly storytimes year round!
Erika: I knew you were busy but it sounds like the Summer will keep you going for sure! Those sound like fun events! Is there anything else you want to tell us about your business or yourself?
Nili: I plan to branch out nationwide in the next couple of years, continue writing, have a storytime app called “5 Little Somethin’ Somethin’s” at Apple Store and maybe do some grown up comedy again once my son graduates High School next year and I don’t have to get up at 6am . I am planning on writing a one woman show called “I Could Have Been Famous But I Had to Carpool” based on my acting and comedy career.
Erika: Those sound like great goals and I can’t wait to hear more about that show! Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this interview with me. I always taking my kids to your performances when you are in my area and they just talk about it for weeks after! They always remember your name due to your introduction (I won’t spoil it because the readers will have to see for yourselves).
Here are some more pictures of The Storybook Mom in action! All of the kids had a lot of fun and I love the interaction that Nili has with her fans! The kids all got to learn how to take a bow at the end of the performance and all received stamps on their hands. My youngest son was most impressed by the cookies she shared with all of the children (and parents) as well. The Storybook Mom is offering any of our readers a special deal too so check below! Make sure you leave a message for Just Peachy Photography or The Storybook Mom about the post below!
If you mention “Just Peachy Photography”, when you book your next birthday party/event with The Storybook Mom, you will receive a $25 discount!
And just a few more in this fun slideshow! Make sure you check out her next show!