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The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration helps children preserve their heritage

(L-R) Fran Hamilton, Christan Perona and Kharis Perona discuss The Grannie Annie organization's mission to preserve family stories.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio
(L-R) Fran Hamilton, Christan Perona and Kharis Perona discuss The Grannie Annie organization's mission to preserve family stories.

Often times, when a person passes away, their story dies with them. But a local non-profit organization hopes to keep those memories alive. 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration and the role it plays in encouraging young people to preserve their families' stories.

The organization helps children discover, write and share stories from their family's history, and then publishes illustrated collections of their work.

Founding executive director of The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration Connie McIntyre said the idea for the books began in 2005. “Grannie Annie” is a friend of McIntyre’s, whose mother was a story-teller and wanted to make sure family stories didn’t get lost.

“Anne was such an inspiration and helped me see the value of family stories. Not only for the family, but for the community – the immediate community and the wider community of the world,” McIntyre said.

The next edition will come out in May and will feature three dozen stories. The Grannie Annie is currently accepting story applications — submissions close on February 1.

For the upcoming edition, the story selection process will be open to the public. During the final rounds of selection, The Grannie Annie wants to invite community groups to help narrow down the story selection – including civic organizations, book clubs and church organizations.

“…Any group of people in the community who wants to support students in literacy, history, family and art. It all comes together in The Grannie Annie,” McIntyre said.

Fran Hamilton, founding associate director of The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration, said children in the fourth through eighth grades are encouraged to interview older relatives and write about something interesting from their family history. Homeschooled or international students of corresponding ages can submit stories as well. Stories of various backgrounds and heritages are welcome.

“People have a lot of time now to interview their families during the holidays, when extended families tend to get together. It’s a great time to do interviews,” Hamilton said.

Also joining the conversation on today’s segment were Westminster Christian Academy student Kharis Perona and her mother Christan Perona.

Listen below to Kharis Perona share the story of her great-grandfather’s experience on the Orphan Train:


The books can be purchased on the Grannie Annie websiteLeft Bank Books or Amazon.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.

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