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The Magic Storyteller®


Tel. (808)234-5262
The  Magic Storyteller


Yona Chock

 Illustrates her stories with

Origami  *  Puppets *  Cartoons  *  Magic

Balloon Sculptures  *  Music and Songs

Yona Chock  was raised in a storytelling family.  Her maternal grandparents were professional actors who toured the U. S.  Her mother was a journalist, and her father was a linguist who served the U.S. Government as a translator.  Yona was born on an orange ranch in California, moved to a row house in Washington DC, and then to a rural farm in Maryland.  The housekeeper on the farm was from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and shared the folklore of the whites, blacks, and Native Americans who lived there.

Yona graduated from La Universidad de las Americas in Mexico, D.F., and did her graduate work in education at American University in Washington, D.C., and in anthropology at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in Honolulu, Hawai'i.  She married Al Keali’i Chock, whom she met at the Ethnobotanical Section of the 10th Pacific Science Congress.  She graduated from Kukui High School, and is listed in the online yearbook (last entry).  Yona taught Hawaiian folklore in UH non-credit classes for two years before moving back to Maryland with her husband and daughters.  She served as a 4-H horse and pony club leader and a Campfire 

Girls leader, telling stories around the fire at many campgrounds.  She was also a columnist for a local newspaper.

The family moved to Rome, Italy, for three years while Al served with the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).  On home leave from Rome the family traveled around the world, visiting several South Pacific island nations (Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and Cook Islands), New Zealand, Malaysia, and Thailand.  

They also lived in the Netherlands for six years, while Al worked as a   U. S.  Department of Agriculture Foreign Service Specialist, serving as Plant Health Attaché and International Regional Director (Europe, Near East, & Africa).  Yona was able to visit much of Europe and Israel, learning and sharing stories in her travels.  She was an active member of the Anglo-American Theatre Group of The Hague (AATG), participating first in an advisory capacity for costuming and props, then as an actress, Costume Mistress for several years, and just prior to returning to the States, as assistant director of a production..Yona taught storytelling for the Montgomery County (MD) Department of Recreation upon their return to the States.  She instructed a class in storytelling [The Craft of Storytelling, a part of the Third Annual Teachers and Librarians Engaged in Storytelling (TALES) Program] at the 1993 summer session of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Since Al's retirement and return back home to Hawai'i in 1992, they have traveled extensively to the Mainland U.S., Alaska, Puerto Rico, China, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Europe (England, Netherlands, and Germany), and Mexico.  While teaching summers at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, she began researching her paternal grandfather, and discovered that her paternal great-grandfather came from Germany in 1876 to become one of the first white settlers in the nearby Silverton area.  They lived there (9,200 ft. elevation) for a quarter of a century.  Her great-grandfather eventually owned a third share of the Golden Eagle gold mine, and was a mining venture capitalist.  From her research in period newspapers she has added stories of the exploration, mining,  and railroading to her repertoire.

 [Photos by Mary Ann Changg, Pacific Photo Company (James Makizuru), and Al Keali'i Chock]

(Revised March 21, 2012)

Al Keali'i Chock,
Oct 9, 2009, 6:19 PM
Al Keali'i Chock,
Oct 9, 2009, 6:19 PM