Velma's Stories
9001 S. Chappel, Chicago IL 60617
phone: 773-221-3574
fax: 773-221-5633

Velma Gladney is an early childhood educator with a Master's of Science degree in Education. She uses her storytelling gifts to help young people develop strong imaginations, self-esteem, character and an appreciation for the written word. Velma's strong alto voice fuses mind, body and soul to deliver powerful stories to audiences of all ages. She has a wide repertoire of stories to fit a range of occasions and audiences.


Chicago Public School Vendor number available.


Velma's work with storytelling has also inspired her to start a storytelling program at her church, Park Manor Christian Church on Chicago's southside. Park Manor's 8 o'clock service now includes stories for both older and younger members of the congregation and features a number of aspiring storytellers that have enthusiastically responded to the opportunity to practice the craft.



African American Women

A historical journey into the lives of powerful African-American women. A dramatic presentation of the works and lives of Bessie Coleman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Zora Neale Hurston, Barbara Jordon and Sojourner Truth.


Biblical Stories

Stories from the Old and New Testament. Stories that are powerful and will inspire, teach, motivate and challenge the human mind.


Character Development

This program offers individuals the opportunity to develop traits of honesty, compassion, friendship, loyalty and responsibility. Stories that appeal to the imagination and to a moral sense.


Ghost Stories

This program offers a variety of scary, spooky, funny stories. Stories that will chill your bones.


Kwanzaa Time

Stories to embrace the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Stories to spark the imagination and celebrate the African-American culture.


Participation Stories for the Very Young

The audience can join in songs, chants and act out parts of the story. An excellent way for the young to gain a sense of confidence and build the oral vocabulary. The children will be inspired and entertained.


Tales From Around the World

Tales that will allow one to visit many other lands and become familiar with other cultures of the world.


Traditional African and African-American Stories

A presentation of tales that involve animal characters. Ananse the spider, Hare, Monkey, Bre'r Rabbit and others that traveled from Africa to America in the oral tradition.


Underground Railroad Stories

Stories are told about the invisible tracks of the underground railroad that were quietly and secretly laid. This secret operation stretched from the deep south northward and helped many runaway slaves find freedom in the north. The stories relate details of the problems African-Americans faced in slavery.




Basic Storytelling

Come and explore the art of storytelling. Learn the value and purposes of storytelling. Learn a story and have great fun being a teller.


Parents as Storytellers

A workshop designed to help parents become storytellers in the home.



Sample Performances:

  • Chicago Public Library 1999 "Bring in the Expert" Series

  • Foster Park School Arts Festival, Kenicott Park

  • Tellabration 1997-98

  • Jesse Owens Mentoring Program

  • DuSable Museum of African-American History

  • Amelia Earhart Elementary School

  • Printer's Row Book Festival

  • McHenry County College / Underground Railroad program

Praise for Velma's Stories


"I found Velma's storytelling to be rich in humor, color and vivid details. Her strong delivery made the stories come to life".
---Carol A. Cannon, Head Children Librarian, Woodson Regional Library, Chicago, Illinois


"Velma's stories are always well received by parent and children alike. She promotes that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from sharing a story."

---Mary Jones, Head, Brainerd Branch Library, Chicago, Illinois


"I love the energy she puts into telling her tales and so, apparently, did the audience. Her telling was great!"

---Judith Heineman, Producer, Tellebration, 1997-98


Some of Velma's Audiences Have Included:

  • Neighbors Eve Hyde Park

  • African American Book Festival

  • The Trail of History-McHenry County

  • McHenry County Underground Railroad Tour

  • Southeast United Methodist Church Afterschool Program

  • Mayor Daley's Spring Book Conference

  • Legler Library-Women's Program

  • Tellabration-Park Manor Christian Church, Producer

  • Tellabration-Hyde Park

  • Atlas Center-Grandparents Day

  • Lucy Flowers High School

  • Overton Child Parent Center

  • LaRabida Children's Hospital and Research Center

  • Gallery 37-Words 37 Program