Donna Washington Biography
Donna was born an army brat in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She traveled all over with world with her parents. Her father would sit at the dinner table and spin the wildest yarns imaginable. He taught her Arthurian Legend and Greek Mythology by telling the stories in the first person. She thought he had actually been with Merlin and Oedipus. She thought he was thousands of years old. Donna spent from second to sixth grade in Seoul Korea. It was during these years that her parents adopted three Amerasian children. Through it all, she learned about different people, places and of course, learned their stories.
Donna attended Northwestern University and was involved with numerous theatrical productions. It was at this time that storytelling reemerged as something she wanted to learn more about. In the four years she was there, she began to make storytelling a central part of her performance life.
Her first recording work was done with Warren Coleman Productions. She provided the talent on a storytelling tape that was so successful for Children's Press that the tape was used to make four wordless picture books. It was at this time that Donna began writing books. Her first writing project was an anthology. It has been in the works for almost twelve years. A Pride of African Tales was released in December 2003. Award winning illustrator, James Ransome provided the lush watercolor pictures for the book. It received rave reviews from the American Library Association (ALA) Booklist and the School Library Journal. Pride has been nominated for the Pennsylvania 2005-2006 Young Reader's Choice Award Donna's second book, The Story of Kwanzaa, has been in print for eleven years. It is a wonderful primer for kids about the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa. Donna's third book, A Big Spooky House, is a wonderful book to read aloud at Halloween. Her next book will be entitled Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa and will be published by HarperCollins Children's Books.
Donna is also a multiple award winning recording artist. She received a 2002 Parent's Choice Award for her first independent recording "Live and Learn: The Exploding Frog and Other Stories". The October 2004 edition of the ALA Booklist gave Donna's second CD, "A Little Shiver", a recommended review. It also won the 2004 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award and 2005 Storytelling World Honors. Her third CD "Fun, Foolery, and Folktales" also won the 2004 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award and a 2006 Storytelling World Honors. Her fourth CD "The Sword and The Rose" has won an iParenting Media 2005 Excellent Product Award, a 2005 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award and a 2006 Storytelling World Award. All of her CDs have won 2005 Children's Music Web Awards. Donna's fifth CD "Angels' Laughter" was just released in May 2006.
Donna has performed at thousands of schools & libraries and numerous storytelling festivals throughout the country. She has also been featured at numerous storytelling festivals including the 2004 National Storytelling Festival, The Illinois Storytelling Festival, The Three Rivers Festival, The St. Louis Storytelling Festival, The NC StoryFest, The Corn Island and Cave Run Festivals in KY, and the Broward County Children's & Ocala Storytelling Festivals in FL- just to name a few.
She also offers workshops in storytelling, writing, education, and creative drama for librarians and educators as well. Some of her recent workshops venues include the National Storytellers Conference, Forsyth School Media Association, US Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina Library Association Conference, Virginia Library Association Conference, Georgia Council of Media Organizations Conference, South Carolina Library Association Conference, National Storytelling Conference, International Reading Association Conference, Mary Lois Staton Conference at ECU, and keynote speaker & presenter at the North Carolina Elementary Educators Conference among others.
These days you can find her traveling the country at festivals, conferences, schools, & libraries telling stories & giving workshops for anyone who is willing to listen to her.