Storyteller presents to 2,600 area students

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Carmen Deedy, fourth from left, a storyteller and author, spoke to about 2,600 area students recently as part of a Jonas Foundation program.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, the Jonas Foundation recently brought an extremely talented artist to Dalton. Carmen Deedy, a bilingual storyteller and children's author, shared her stories with three large audiences of middle school students. Her stories were a mix of humor, values and memories. After one of her performances, one student was heard to exclaim, "That was amazing!"

Deedy has been one of the most popular Jonas programs for many years, but the Jonas Foundation can no longer afford to send her to individual schools. Thus, the foundation applied for a grant that enabled them to bus more than 2,600 students to the Wink Theatre to watch Deedy perform. Three performances were held so that all the seventh-graders from Dalton Public Schools, Murray County Schools and Whitfield County Schools, along with all Eastbrook Middle School sixth-graders, could experience her stories.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Deedy came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1964. She grew up in Decatur where she lives today. Deedy began writing as a young mother and storyteller whose National Public Radio commentaries on "All Things Considered" were collected and released under the title "Growing Up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia." Many of her stories are true experiences that occurred as a result of her immigration to the United States.

In addition to being a wonderful storyteller, Deedy is also well-known for her children's books. Each of her books is beautifully illustrated and exhibit morals and values. Many of her books are written for elementary students but have important lessons for all ages.

Deedy is also an accomplished lecturer as a guest speaker for the TED Conference, the Library of Congress, Refugees International and the Kennedy Center.

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