Arlene N. Cohen

Humorous Short Stories

Adult short stories capturing life’s acute moments.

Arlene Cohen writes books for adults and children. Her adult fiction centers on female protagonists facing and moving through the vicissitudes of life.  Having had a life punctuated by acute moments of disbelief, she lives to transform them into something acceptable. She employs humor and magical realism to heighten and reveal the truth beyond appearances.

In her books for children, she integrates creative movement and stories to simultaneously develop literacy skills, agility and an appreciation for literature.  Her goal is to develop whole children. Learn more about Arlene’s work in this area on her website.

Arlene has a Master’s Degree in Children’s Librarianship from the University of Hawaii, where she was a Librarian and taught Storytelling in the Speech Department. She has studied and danced all of her life.  She taught Creative Movement and Yoga in dance schools and community centers.  She was as an Artist-in-the Schools Dancing Storyteller for many years. Her programs were sponsored by the National Foundation on Culture and the Arts, The Hawaii State Culture  and  the Arts, the Zoological Society in Hawaii, The Regional Arts and Culture Council in Oregon, and The Texas Heritage Musical Foundation.

BOOKS:

Stories on the Move (2007)

Mostly True (2019)

Your biggest literary influencers:

Alice Hoffman, Nathanial Hawthorne, Carson McCullers, Laura Esquivel

Last book read:

The World That We Knew:  A Novel by Alice Hoffman

The book that changed your life:

The Scarlet Letter takes an in-depth look at human nature.  It not only examines how cruel society can be to non-conformists; but, also reveals the power to endure and rise above shaming and social stigmatizing.  I felt and identified with the struggles, self-defeating thoughts, and triumphs of the main characters. The book inspired me to trust and remove myself from situations that limit me in any way. The book is as relevant today as it was when it was written in the 19th Century.

Your favorite literary character: 

Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter is a complex and dynamic character who challenges and overcomes extreme adversity.  Shamed and punished by the Puritan Society, she searches deep within herself and develops her own moral standards and beliefs.  Nathanial Hawthorne created a Feminist character in 1850, years before woman’s suffrage was enacted.

Currently working on:

Woman Redacted: A Novel; and Literacy on the Move Series (The Dancing Chameleons (Ages 2-6), The Dancing Reptiles (Ages 4-8), and The Dancing Dogs (Ages 6-10): Picture and coloring books to simultaneously entertain and teach children literacy skills, grace and an appreciation of literature by combining fun stories with creative movement.

Words to live by:

Know what matters to you and LIVE IT!  Look beyond appearances.

Advice for aspiring authors:

Set aside the same time each day to write until it become a habit. You know it’s a habit when your characters start demanding your time.

ARTICLES/REVIEWS

Mostly True: Short Stories

“Some of these stories took me back to the 60’s, a time I remember with fondness. Each story was uniquely entertaining. Great writing!”

— Lynda Hiltner

Stories on the Move:  Integrating Literature and Movement with Children from Infants to Age 14

Can be viewed on the publisher’s page: https://www.abc-clio.com/ABC-CLIOCorporate/product.aspx?pc=F2765P

Arlene Cohen is a professional storyteller and dancer who performs for groups of all ages, and conducts workshops on movement and story. Educated as a children’s librarian, she has also taught storytelling at University of Hawaii.

After seeing Cohen’s presentation at a Las Vegas Writers Group meeting several months ago, my first thought was: What a shame that all school children can’t have presentations of this type. You see, through utilizing motion and dance techniques paired with animated dialogue she brings the characters and stories to life. Those fortunate enough to be listening, find themselves glued to the narrative.

Cohen has taken her message to a multitude of venues. To name a few, Oregon/Washington Library Associations and Oregon/Washington Educational Media Associations as well as In-Service Trainings for Teachers and Librarians.Her workshops and performances have been given at festivals,  zoos, aquariums, as well as at schools, libraries, churches,art galleries, and conferences, for audiences of all ages.She was also an Artist-in-the Schools Storyteller in Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and California.

Motivated to show how to invigorate  story time, and get children of all ages actively involved in learning with dozens of interactive, ready-to-use activities designed with an eye to the targeted age group, Cohen’s story programs are energized by instilling them with the power of movement!

This method has solid basis. As the mother of a son who was a motivational speaker/memory expert for many years I clearly recall that  one of the things he emphasized was that the body remembers before the mind does. He employed motor memory in all of his seminars.

Cohen holds a Master’s Degree in Children’s Librarianship from the University of Hawaii, and taught storytelling in the speech department. She also studied and taught ballet, modern dance, creative dance, and yoga.  Her programs have been sponsored by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Hawaiian Zoological Society, and The Regional Arts and Culture Council in Port land, Oregon.

Libraries Unlimited published her book, Stories on the Move: Integrating Literature and Movement with Children, Infants to Age 14 in 2007. This book is based upon her studies and experience, with a program that develops a child’s emerging cultural and interpretative literacy skills. The first three chapters are appropriate for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The fourth chapter takes children on StoryTrips to other countries and includes language, stories, dances, and customs of those countries. The fifth and sixth chapters for older children show them how to interpret story structure and the elements of character, setting, mood, plot, and theme.

Her guide offers dozens of interactive, ready-to-use, story-based activities, all age appropriate, designed to actively involve children in learning. Expansion of the child’s self-awareness, range of expression, and artistic awareness covers developmental stages all the way from infancy through puberty. Simple to use, these literature-based programs can be employed by any educator, even those with little or no dance experience. Each program includes learning goals/skill development, a literature-story connection, and detailed instructions for movement and vocal improvisation and creative dramatics.

This is definitely a resource to be checked out by anyone interested in stimulating the child’s mind and creating an interest in literature. I was enthralled by Cohen’s performance at the LVWG meeting, and I’m way over the age of fourteen!

Morgan St. JamesExaminer.com