Who is she and what does she think she’s doing?

Barb Lawson started out as a child. She had a bunch of fun as she grew up with her writer, newspaperman dad and her artist, teacher mom. Barb grew up sharing a room with her creative and talented sister, Beth. (Beth is award-winning author, Elizabeth Massie!) They would make up stories every night and drive the rest of the family nuts. After graduating from JMU with an early childhood education degree, Barb became a Kindergarten teacher. She loved kids, she loved to sing, she loved telling stories, and she loved acting goofy and being loud so things worked out well in the Kindergarten world. She taught for 22 years and had a blast!

Then, Barb got the opportunity to write teacher materials for some major educational publishers. So off she went, into the world of writing. That was great, but Barb still wanted to work with kids, so for the past 16 years she has been a professional storyteller. She LOVES it! Barb has a great time sharing wild, wacky, loud, upbeat stories and songs with kids. Not only does she tell stories, but she also writes them, and is the author of children’s books. To top it all off, Barb is an artist. She illustrates her children’s books and creates bright, bold designs and pictures for her art business, Art with a Twist.

During her teaching years, Barb worked with Gifted and Talented students across the state of Virginia and she wrote, directed, and produced for children’s theater. Barb wanted more adventure, so in 1985 she applied for the Teacher in Space program.

As a storyteller, Barb has entertained thousands of students, teachers, and families up and down the east coast with her hilarious, interactive storytelling programs, workshops and in-services. Elementary school students, teachers and parents have raved about Barb’s energetic programs and how she is able to connect with kids of all ages. Check out what people are saying about her shows!

VCA-logoBlack2In 2014, Barb was selected by the Virginia Commission for the Arts to be one of their Performing Artists, traveling across Virginia telling stories and teaching workshops. The Commission provides funds to help pay for Barb’s visits to Virginia schools. PLEASE contact Barb if you are interested in getting up to half the cost of Barb’s programs paid by VCA. Barb can give you all the information you need to apply for funding. But don’t delay, funding goes quickly. Contact Barb today.

As part of the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Virginia, Barb has been a featured storyteller for more than 10 years and continues to visit Charlottesville area schools during that special week. She has an extensive theater background and has performed leading and supporting roles in over 60 musical theater productions. Check out the list of Barb’s theater productions here. Hey, guess what? Barb LOVES musical theater!! She also acted in the Parents’ Choice Award-winning PBS television special, RHYMES AND REASONS.

‘Put Something In’

By Shel Silverstein

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.

In 2000, Barb founded Fun Stuff Publications, a company that produced books and materials to help teachers with Virginia Standards of Learning. She wrote and illustrated more than 30 books for Fun Stuff. And now, Barb has revised her SOL Teacher Resource Books to the newest standards (2016) and her books are now published as Barb Lawson Books. You can order her SOL titles here. Barb also continues to write for major educational publishing companies including The Education Center, Scholastic, Harcourt Brace, Inc., Steck-Vaughn, Scott Foresman, and McGraw-Hill.

In 2007, Barb was awarded the Dawbarn Award presented by the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge (VA). “Each year, the (Dawbarn) Awards event honors educators who have demonstrated a commitment to inspiring, encouraging, and fostering the education of young people.” And Barb got it for being a teacher and storyteller! How awesome is that?

The C.C.C. Legacy Award (2009) was presented to Barb, along with co-writers Duane Hahn, Elizabeth Massie and Richard Adams, by the Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy Foundation. It was awarded for writing and producing Shenandoah Moon, a musical that tells the story and preserves the history of the Skyline Drive, which was built by the C.C.C. in Virginia in the 1930s. Creating the musical and performing as “Grandma Sally” in Shenandoah Moon was a wonderful experience. (Hey, you didn’t think she would write a musical and not write a part for herself! – Yee-ha!)

“Songs with a TWIST” (2006) is Barb’s first music CD for kids. She worked with musician, Richard Adams, to produce a wild and wacky, fun-filled treat for the whole family. There is also an accompanying songbook! And released in 2009, Barb’s second CD and songbook, “MORE Songs with a Twist!” features 10 more wild and crazy songs!

how-many-wordsBarb’s first picture book, JAMBO, WATOTO! (Hello, Children!), was written with award winning author and sister, Elizabeth Massie in 1998. They worked with artist, Marsha Heatwole, to create an amazingly beautiful art book for children.

In May 2014, Barb wrote and illustrated her picture book, HOW MANY WORDS DOES IT TAKE TO WRITE A BOOK? It’s a reading book and a counting book with a lot of silliness mixed in. It’s great for elementary kids, and comes with an Activity Guide packed with ideas and activities for teachers and parents. Get your own copy here.