How would your child react if they knew about a storm in their body?  Do they know they can make a storm sound story with their body?  What would they say if you asked, “Can you swallow a storm?”    And what happens to “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm”?

I was recently blown away by the opportunity to join LaVar Burton for a presentation of Reading Rainbow in a school assembly in Sarasota, Florida.   Even though I live and offer Kindermusik in Lakeland, I was willing to travel to be a part of this !

Awhile back, Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik International became partners in offering books and activities in a APP for iphone and Kindle Fire.   This partnership resulted in adding Music Mountain to the RR app, as I shared earlier in a previous post:  Music Mountain Rises on Reading Rainbow App.  Most of the books on Music Mountain are published by Kindermusik International.


As part of this partnership, Kindermusik educators have been invited to join Lavar Burton on tour in school assemblies around the United States, and “Ms. Debbie” was honored to be part of the show at the Emma E Booker Elementary last Friday, May 1.   LaVar is touring around the United States sharing his new book, and launching new ways to meet his ultimate goal, creating ways for all children to experience the love and benefits of reading.  That is SOOO in line with Kindermusik International, creating ways for all children to experience the love and benefits of music.

Through an agenda mailed to me, and a little research, I learned that LaVar would read the new book he recently published, “The Rhino who Swallowed a Storm“, which is a book within a book, about the storm that can rage within us when we are scared or overwhelmed, and how there are helpers who can be found to help us calm the storm.  It is truly a book for helping to heal the soul, and even has a parent guide for discussion in the back of the book.  I LOVE books like this that are in tune with the power and process of a good story to help develop strong social and emotional skills.

My creative wheels started spinning, as I read about storm in this book, and how the character was learning to control it.   I had recently watched a video of a choir that used only their body sounds to create a storm sound story, and was fascinated by it, thinking it might be a great way to give the students an opportunity to move expressively (my given goal), as well as the perfect introduction to his book.

Could I make this work with a roomful of elementary students?  And will these folks let me try? It is their show after all, and I’m only alloted a maximum of 10 minutes.   I had to ask, and the answer came back…  LaVar loved the idea !     (insert little girl giggle here…)

In the Kindermusik for the Young Child recordings, there is a musical piece that captures the story of a storm, “Sounds of the Sea” by John and Jackie Negus.  This was the perfect recording to put it all together.

YES, the students were totally engaged in using their hands and bodies to create the sounds of the storm.  Turns out their symbol for their school is a tornado!  After practicing all the movements needed, and dividing into three groups, the music was turned on and the musical magic was in motion.  I wish I had a video of it to share.  At the end, I asked the students, “Can you swallow a storm?”  and they all answered NO, and then I pointed to LaVar, “Maybe this book will give you a different perspective about the storm that may be raging inside someone.”

I didn’t realize it at the time because he was behind me, but LaVar was doing all the actions along with the children.  The photo featured in an article in the Sarasota newspaper has a picture of me leading the leg tapping, and in the background, he is several inches off the floor for the jump of thunder !  He was so personable with everyone, especially the children.  Several were selected to ask questions, and he went out of his way to help them feel comfortable.


The next day, I heard back from them… “Debbie,   I heard nothing but amazing reviews for you!! I heard that everything went so well and that everyone (even the adults) had a great time! Thank you so much for all of your help in making this event special! ”    My spirit is soaring high like a balloon in the sky.

Perhaps your family might like to try this at home, using the following steps to create a storm sound story.  It could be a singular storm, but it sounds better and better the more folks that can do it together.

  • First, swish hands for the wind sound.  Start slowly then get faster.
  • Snap fingers for the light rain sounds.  (younger children can clap lightly)
  • Tap legs for the heavy rain sounds.
  • Stomp feet for the thunder sounds.  With a group of people, it works best to jump in sequence, so it sounds like rolling thunder.
  • Then reverse the sequence as the storm passes.


But don’t swallow that storm, unless, of course, you order the book and learn how to deal with the storm inside.