Welcome, Mariella Bertelli!

We are thrilled to be welcoming Mariella Bertelli for a series of events this March including a solo performance, classroom visits, a workshop for storytellers, and a featured performance as part of our World Storytelling Day event. Mariella is an accomplished teller whose range of stories rooted in cultural and family histories in Italy include the magic of fairy tales and the incredible resilience of families across trials, tribulations, and generations.


Mariella Bertelli is a Toronto-based storyteller who tells fluently in English and/or Italian. She tours in Canada and internationally with a wide repertoire, from longer narratives to tiny tales, telling to people of all ages.

She is a longtime and experienced storyteller, with a wide repertoire of folk, fairy and literary tales, especially from her Italian heritage. She has also developed stories from her background and life experience, including her own newcomer’s experience from when she first arrived in Canada as a teenager.

Mariella’s style is varied, she adapts her craft to suit young and older audiences. She sometimes uses other arts, like Kamishibai, Bankelsang (Cantastorie style storytelling), Crankie and Tall or Miniature Puppets. Her rhymes and rhythms enchant little ones while her family sagas of migration and endurance captivate older children, teens and adults.

As a storyteller and through her work as a member of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People), Mariella is also an advocate for children and young people’s rights to stories, literacy and information. She has developed and delivered training programs on reading with newcomers and refugees in Rome and in Toronto. She has been involved in the IBBY Italia project, to build a children and young people’s library on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where thousands of refugees have been passing by.

Through this project she has initiated another project dear to her heart, with the high school students on the island: to translate into Italian a Canadian book, Stormy Seas, Stories of Young Boat Refugees , written by Mary Beth Leatherdale and illustrated and designed by Eleanor
Shakespeare, published by Annick Press in 2017. The book was published in Italian in 2019 by Il Castoro Publishing House and presented at the Bologna International Book Fair last April. She is also currently a judge on the International jury for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, also known as the Little Nobel Prize, administered by IBBY International.

Mariella was one of the featured national storytellers for the TD Canadian Children’s Book Centre Tour In 2018, traveling in Labrador, where she reached various communities and many children with her stories. In 2019 she represented Canada at the International Storytelling Festival in Sharjah, U.A.E.

She has been storytelling at National and International festivals, events and conferences in Canada, the U.S., South Africa, England, Belgium, Italy; she has taught storytelling courses and has presented a variety of workshops to adults, children and families; she has been a speaker on storytelling and is active in the storytelling world community.

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