Shakin’ Down the Acorns

Elementary School Assembly Program Storytelling & Music

Back in the days before electricity, before wide-screen televisions and blockbuster movies, computer games, and smart phones, people had to make their own entertainment, their own culture. They did this by telling stories and singing songs. They danced and played musical instruments. They even made their own toys. Was it fun? You bet it was. These simple pastimes provided moments of enjoyment and helped strengthen the bonds of family and community. The Time Travelers carry on this important tradition. Weaving together the spirited telling of legends, tall tales, and historical facts from America’s past with fiddle and banjo duets, humorous songs, and projected images of original paintings, the McHughs bring both history and the imagination to life for students.


“The children were delighted with the stories, accompanying music, and the three-legged dancing chicken. I loved listening to the children squeal with delight at the highlights of each story.”

~Jeanne Stockton - Twin Rivers Unified School District, Sacramento, California

Joe and Paula McHugh love turning young people onto American history, to help them appreciate how courage, perseverance, ingenuity, humor, and a noble vision enabled many people from many lands to forge a nation that is both our home and our hope. As Americans we love the myth of the “rugged individual,” the lone cowboy or police officer who rights every wrong, the solitary inventor or scientist who comes up with the next great discovery. But as is the case with many myths, reality tells a different story. And for Americans, that story is one of cooperation, each citizen doing his or her part to tame the wilderness, build railroads, dig coal, establish schools, overcome injustice, or just bring a moment of entertainment and enchantment into lives harried by necessity. Through the sharing of legends, tall tales, and historical facts, string music and songs, and projected images of original paintings, Joe and Paula McHugh invite young people to see themselves as part of a bigger story, to inspire them to draw upon the courage, humor, and dogged determination of earlier generations in their efforts to find purpose and meaning in life

The Time Travelers offer engaging  assembly programs for elementary school groups ages K-3 and 4-6. Stories are age appropriate. Please contact us for more information on scheduling and fees.

Author / Illustrator Visits

Along with being an oral storyteller, Joe McHugh is a writer and publisher with seven books under his belt. Paula McHugh is also a publisher and book illustrator. Together the McHughs offer schools a unique opportunity to combine one or more engaging assembly programs with a series of more intimate workshops where they share their experiences and insights into storytelling, writing, illustrating, and publishing. They also love performing evening concerts for the entire school community: students, parents, teachers, relatives, support staff, and others.

To see Joe & Paula Books

“Author Days are fun and introduce children to books. Storyteller/Author Day with Joe and Paula provided much more. Along with inspiring an interest in reading, it fostered speaking and listening skills while increasing cultural communication and vocabulary skills. The added music and art were great!”

~ Mary Jane Andrews, Media Tech., Oak View School, California