About Karen

About Karen Young

Make Your Next Event Memorable with One of Karen’s Storytelling Programs!

karenyoung-fullKaren Young’s stories are “for the young at heart and ancient in spirit.” Her lively and lyrical style transports audiences around the world and back in time. A versatile storyteller, Karen’s vivid character portrayals from history and folklore entertain and educate audiences of all ages.

A professional storyteller since 1992, Karen has entranced listeners at schools, libraries, museums, festivals, parks, camps, malls, churches and arts festivals. Wherever people are willing to sit a’ spell and listen to a story well told. Karen has been featured at storytelling events throughout the Midwest and delights in telling stories that promote self-discovery, creativity and a sense of wonder.

As a writer and workshop/residency leader, Karen believes in the power and value of Story which led her to create innovative and entertaining workshops for children and adults. Along with her Storyteller Side by Side partner, Gale Rublee, Karen is a storytelling artist with Springboard, the premier arts organizations in St. Louis.

Karen was a Featured Teller at the 2007 St. Louis Storytelling Festival and a Regional Showcase Teller at the 2007 and 2015 National Storytelling Network Conferences.

Written work includes:

  • Storytelling Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Children with Special Needs (edited by Sherry Norfolk and Lyn Ford): Karen wrote the introduction to Chapter 5 “Storytelling Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Children with Multiple Disabilities”  Purchase here
  • Team Up! Tell In Tandem!: A “How To” Guide from Experienced Tandem Storytellers (edited by Jonatha Hammer Wright): Karen wrote the chapter called “What Happens when a Writer and an Actor Collide?” Storytellers Side by Side Purchase here
  • Storytelling Magazine – March/April 2008 issue: Cover story was Karen’s version of the folktale “Stone Soup”.

Art of Story Residency

Through St. Louis Springboard, in 2018 Karen completed her third year of participation in a grant program funded by the Very Special Arts division of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

What I Learned from Diverse Groups of Special Needs Students 

“From the medically fragile high schoolers I learned that one is never too old to enjoy musical nursery rhymes, sound effects and soft animal puppets.

From the rambunctious middle schoolers who created group stories I learned that their outside of the box thinking took their stories to places only teenagers and their limitless imaginations could go.

From the elementary students I learned that even shy or unhappy children are willing to act out a story if they have a friendly puppet on their hand.

I ended my participation in this year’s Residency grateful that I was able to share Story with these special students in the varying ways they were able to receive them. The constants I saw within each classroom were the dedication of the teachers and paraprofessionals, the ability and willingness of the students to be open to “outsiders” and the innate joy and creativity within each student, however they were able to express it.”

Their faces and voices will stay with me for a long time. ~ Karen Young


“Your stories were seasonal and appropriate to their ages, so we know this was a learning experience for our children.”
Preschool Director

“At our Prime Time Read evening…students and parents were mesmerized as Karen told fairy tales from around the world with great style and warmth…she showed a great deal of creativity and imagination, not seen in most storytelling presentations.”
School District Reading Specialist

“Karen Young uses her voice, imagination and understanding of children to spin a magic web. Her stories are wonderfully creative and fun…Great whoops of joy could be heard in my classroom when Karen would come in…She is a gifted storyteller and a joy for all who hear her work.”
Elementary Teacher

“Thank you for participating in our Missouri Heritage Days. The students truly loved listening to your stories—you make them come alive!”
School District Specialist

“Your stories were great! Can you come back tomorrow and tell us some more?”