Haven, Kendall 1946–

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Haven, Kendall 1946–

(Kendall F. Haven)


Born September 24, 1946, in Asheville, NC; son of Girard E. (a nonprofit director) and May F. Haven; married Roni Berg (a graphic designer), August 9, 1986. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: U.S. Military Academy, B.S., 1968; Oregon State University, M.S., 1974, Ph.D., 1975. Religion: "Not particularly." Hobbies and other interests: "The coastal zone where worlds collide, waves crash, and life begins."


Home and office—Fulton, CA. E-mail—[email protected]


U.S. Army Satellite Systems Test and Development, civilian employee, 1972-74; Oregon State University, Corvallis, teacher of oceanography and hydrodynamics, 1974-75; Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Livermore, CA, worked in Energy and Environment Division, 1975-77; Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, senior research scientist and director of Regional Environmental Studies Group, 1977-83; freelance writer and professional storyteller, 1984—. University of California, Berkeley, teacher of coastal zone management classes, 1982-84; teacher of storytelling classes at colleges and universities, 1991—, including Chapman University, California State University, Boise State University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of South Carolina, the Citadel, East Tennessee State University, and University of Phoenix. "Tell Me a Story" (concert series), creator, producer, and host, 1985-88; Bay Area Storytelling Festival, chair, 1987-90; Inside Story (storytelling newsletter), publisher, 1991-93; National Whole Language Umbrella Storytelling Action Group, founder, 1994, chair, 1994—; Sonoma Storytelling Festival, cofounder; presenter at hundreds of workshops, conferences, and storytelling performances. Recordings include Voices and Bully, released by Contra Costa Crisis and Suicide Intervention Service, 1986; Reluctant Heroes, StoryStreet Productions, 1987; Frog Pond Blues, American Cancer Society, 1988; Getting Along, JTG of Nashville, 1988; Dinosaur Tales, StoryStreet Productions, 1988; The Baby Sitter, Institute of Mental Health Initiatives, 1990; Neighborhood Magic, StoryStreet Productions, 1990; Fathers and Sons, StoryStreet Productions, 1991; and The Adventures of Christina Valentine (radio play), Children's Television Resource and Education Center, 1992. Military service: U.S. Army, 1964-68, Signal Corps, 1968-73; became captain.


National Storytelling Association (member of board of directors, 1995-99), Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Authors Guild, Authors League of America.


Named western regional teller, National Storytelling Festival, 1986; winner of regional storytelling competitions, American Library Association, 1986 and 1988; award from California Conference of Local Mental Health Directors, 1987, for the stories "Voices" and "Bully"; winner of national storytelling competition, General Mills Corp., 1987; California Special Recognition Award, California Division, American Cancer Society, 1989, for the story "Frog Pond Blues"; named "notable recording artist," American Library Association, 1989 and 1992; Public Radio Silver Program Award, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1992, for the radio drama, The Adventures of Christina Valentine; Silver Award, best educational program, International Festival Association, 1993; Storytelling World Awards, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004; grants from Child Assault Prevention Training Center of Northern California, Solano County Park System, Gerbode Foundation, and Institute of Mental Health Initiatives.



The Killer Brussel Sprouts, with audio cassette, JTG of Nashville (Nashville, TN), 1992.

Marvels of Science: 50 Fascinating Five-Minute Reads, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1992.

Getting Along (short stories), JTG of Nashville (Nashville, TN), 1994.

Amazing American Women: 40 Fascinating Stories of American Her-story, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1995.

Great Moments in Science: Readers Theater and Experiments, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1996.

Stepping Stones to Science: True Tales and Awesome Activities, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1997.

Marvels of Math: Fascinating Reads and Awesome Activities, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1998.

Bedtime Stories, StoryStreet, 1998.

New Years to Kwanzaa: Original Stories of Celebration, Fulcrum (Golden, CO), 1999.

Close Encounters with Deadly Dangers: Riveting Reads and Classroom Ideas, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1999.

The Land of Oulaf (novel), StoryStreet, 1999.

The Science and Math Bookmark Book: 300 Fascinating, Fact-Filled Bookmarks, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1999.

(Coauthor) The 100 Most Popular Scientists for Young Adults: Biographical Sketches and Professional Paths, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1999.

Worm Holes, Warp Drive, Monoliths, and Monsters: The Amazing Science of Science Mysteries, Fulcrum (Golden, CO), 2000.

Voices of the Revolution (stories), Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 2000.

That's Weird! Awesome Science Mysteries, Fulcrum (Golden, CO), 2001.

Voices of the American Civil War: Stories of Men, Women, and Children Who Lived through the War between the States, Teachers Ideas Press (Westport, CT), 2002.

Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor and Visionary, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 2003.

Women at the Edge of Discovery: 40 True Science Adventures, Libraries Unlimited (Westport, CT), 2003.

100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time, Libraries Unlimited (Westport, CT), 2005.

Wonders of the Sea: Merging Ocean Myth and Ocean Science, Libraries Unlimited (Westport, CT), 2005.

Wonders of the Land: Merging Earth Science with Earth Myth, Libraries Unlimited (Westport, CT), 2006.

100 Greatest Science Discoveries of All Time, Libraries Unlimited (Westport, CT), 2007.


Write Right: Teaching Creative Writing Using Storytelling Techniques, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 1999.

Super Simple Storytelling, Libraries Unlimited (Englewood, CO), 2000.

Get It Write! Creating Lifelong Writers, from Expository to Narrative, Teachers Ideas Press (Portsmouth, NH), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Launching a Scientist, National Storytelling Press, 1995. Contributor to magazines, including National Storytelling, GRIT, Journal of the Whole Language Umbrella, Kid Connection, and Teacher in Focus National. Contributing editor, California Reader.


Kendall Haven once told CA: "I am the only graduate of West Point to ever become a full-time professional storyteller. I am also the only full-time storyteller in this country with a doctorate in science. That unconventional beginning for a performing storyteller has given me a unique perspective on the architecture of stories and on the process of storytelling.

"My doctorate is in oceanography. Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, I worked as a senior research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, conducting coastal environmental assessments for the Department of Energy. In a great career upheaval, I shifted to being a full-time storyteller.

"That shift was mandated by the realization of how powerful stories are. I'd take my nephew to the park, planning to wear him out on the climbing structures and train. Eventually, exhausted myself, I'd give up and flop into the sprawling sandpit to make up stories for him. It turned out that's what he really wanted all along.

"Those made-up stories in the park drew crowds. Kids are natural story magnets, drawn by the strong vibrational and electrical fields of a story-telling, or by their long-range story radar, always sifting the air for the flowing pulse and rhythm of a story. I'd begin a story and kids would materialize from all over the park. Some would boldly plop down right in front and ask me to start over. They had missed the beginning. Others would cautiously pretend to play with a nearby leaf to have an excuse for lingering within easy earshot.

"Then the adults who brought those kids to the park would scurry over to see what was going on in the sandbox. Others would wander by to see what the crowd was all about and, time after time, they stayed to listen. No one scoffed, ‘Oh, just a story,’ and left. They stayed and listened.

"I began to see how powerfully attractive the specific form, architecture, and process of stories and storytelling are. I began to see how hungry for stories most humans are and that the unique form and structure of stories seem to resonate at the deepest core of the human psyche. I began to realize that most humans are on story-deficit, desperately needing to soak up the majesty, wisdom, and joy of told stories—that is, personally, orally delivered information in the specific architecture of a story.

"Then I found out you could actually get paid to tell stories. That was the day I joined the burgeoning ranks of professional storytellers.

"Why do I spend all my time telling and writing stories? Because there is no more powerful and profound medium for human communication. There is no aspect of factual, conceptual, social, or emotional endeavor that cannot be more effectively and convincingly communicated through a story.

"I have spent almost twenty years watching and studying the line-by-line success of live performances of stories by storytellers and comparing what I have learned there to what I see in published, narrative stories. I have been able to bring concepts, lessons, and wisdom from two worlds—live storytelling and story writing—to bear on my work. The results have given me monumental insights on the essential architecture of a story and on how listeners and readers receive, interpret, and internalize a story.

"My writing process is straightforward and simple. One of the story truths I have learned is that stories are always about characters, not events. (That is, readers are captivated by interesting characters, while plot and action alone always leave them unsatisfied and bored.) To uncover any story is to investigate the story character's deepest and most hidden truths. I have to dig for the hidden motives, desires, goals, quirks, habits, and traits that make the character compelling. My job as a writer is to develop a character fully, so that the character's wants and goals, risks and conflicts, and struggles loom in vivid, multi-dimensional, larger-than-life detail in the minds of my readers. Once that task is accomplished, the rest is editorial detail.

"Because of my background in science, my work as a touring master storyteller, and my deep knowledge of story structure and architecture, it has been natural for me to tackle nonfiction stories describing the flow of historical events. I am fascinated by history, and especially by military history. I find that, as a culture, our sense of history and of our place in it is steadily and dangerously diminishing. It is as though we live in a perpetual, floating present which simply is, with no connected historical context or development that led to this particular present. History is last week's television episode. Ancient history is last quarter's corporate report, or last season's hit situation comedy. Yet there exists a fascinating world of high-stakes struggles, dilemmas, risks, and dramas that lie scattered in the path of our collective past. It is a joy for me to wade through this history and ferret out what really happened. It is an even greater joy to find a way to relate that history using the fullest power and allure of the form of a story."



Appraisal: Science Books for Young People, winter, 1995, review of Marvels of Science: 50 Fascinating Five-Minute Reads, p. 32; fall, 1998, review of Stepping Stones to Science: True Tales and Awesome Activities, p. 44.

Book Report, January-February, 1996, Lesley S.J. Farmer, review of Amazing American Women: 40 Fascinating Five-Minute Reads, p. 51; May-June, 1996, Patsy Launspach, review of Amazing American Women, p. 48; September-October, 1996, Frances M. Ramsey, review of Great Moments in Science: Experiments and Readers Theatre, p. 59; November-December, 1999.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 1998, review of Stepping Stones to Science, p. 227.

Curriculum Review, February, 1998, review of Stepping Stones to Science, p. 13; March, 1999, review of Close Encounters with Deadly Dangers: Riveting Reads and Classroom Ideas, p. 15.

Knowledge Quest, March-April, 1999, review of Marvels of Math: Fascinating Reads and Awesome Activities, p. 49.

Library Talk, September-October, 1994, review of Marvels of Science, p. 58.

School Library Journal, September, 1994, Gwen Porter, review of Marvels of Science, p. 147.

School Media Quarterly, fall, 1994, review of Marvels of Science, p. 67.

Science Books and Films, January-February, 1998, review of Stepping Stones to Science, p. 16; July-August, 1999, review of Close Encounters with Deadly Dangers, p. 168.

Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 1996, review of Great Moments in Science: Readers Theater and Experiments, p. 242; April, 1999, review of Marvels of Math, p. 57.


Kendall Haven: Award-Winning Author and Master Storyteller,http://www.kendallhaven.com (April 9, 2007).

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