About the Little Story Telling Company

My name is Mandy Hartley and I am the founder of “The Little Story Telling Company”. I am passionate about science, storytelling and working with children.

I am in a very unique position that I have over 15 years experience working in genetics and I am also a mum. I know how to explain complicated concepts to children in a visual way which they can understand. I also know how to engage children and get them to enter into a story or workshop with me so they get the very best out of that opportunity.

I create stories and communicate them to children in a multi-sensory way including elements to stimulate listening, smell, taste, sight and sounds as well as their as their imagination! Where possible I include scientific experiments in my stories finding entertaining ways to explain difficult scientific concepts such as natural selection, inheritance and evolution to children.

I also run ‘DNA Detective and science’ workshops including careers talks about my career working with DNA, using DNA to solve a crime, how DNA can be used to help archaeologists find out about the past and how DNA can be used to find relatives. This is a great way to introduce children to DNA and hopefully inspire the scientists of the future!

I have recently developed a new GCSE Genetics workshop and I am currently in the process of applying for funding to take this workshop into secondary schools. In addition I have written two books “DNA Detectives – To catch a Thief” and “DNA Detectives – The Smuggler’s Daughter” for children aged 7 – 12 years which combine literacy and science. The books are written in the style of a Famous Five style adventure while teaching children about DNA.

The first book is due to be published in September, the second in November. A series of web links will be available to support each of the books where children can find out more about DNA, forensic science and electromagnets. They can also try out different activities such as extracting DNA from fruit, making an origami DNA helix or going to a virtual laboratory to extract DNA. Each book will also be accompanied by a workshop where children can find out more about me as an author, how I go about writing the books, learning about the science in the book and using it to find out which pets have been stolen.

I am in the process of developing an e-learning workshop for children who are unable to attend my live workshops.
My workshops and stories are available to schools, pre-schools, libraries, children’s centres, children parties, groups such as toddler groups, beavers, brownies and scouts and other groups.

The best part of my job is having an audience in front of me where the children are wide eyed, you can hear a pin drop and feel the excitement in the room as they watch the story or workshop unfold. It is so magical and you really feel you are making a difference to those children by inspiring them with a love of science, stimulating their imagination, their thirst for reading and stories. I feel very lucky to be a story teller, author and science educator imagination!

My name is Mandy Hartley and I am the founder of “The Little Story Telling Company”. I am passionate about science, storytelling and working with children.

I am in a very unique position that I have over 15 years experience working in genetics and I am also a mum. I know how to explain complicated concepts to children in a visual way which they can understand. I also know how to engage children and get them to enter into a story or workshop with me so they get the very best out of that opportunity.

I create stories and communicate them to children in a multi-sensory way including elements to stimulate listening, smell, taste, sight and sounds as well as their as their imagination! Where possible I include scientific experiments in my stories finding entertaining ways to explain difficult scientific concepts such as natural selection, inheritance and evolution to children.

I also run ‘DNA Detective and science’ workshops including careers talks about my career working with DNA, using DNA to solve a crime, how DNA can be used to help archaeologists find out about the past and how DNA can be used to find relatives. This is a great way to introduce children to DNA and hopefully inspire the scientists of the future!

I have recently developed a new GCSE Genetics workshop and I am currently in the process of applying for funding to take this workshop into secondary schools. In addition I have written two books “DNA Detectives – To catch a Thief” and “DNA Detectives – The Smuggler’s Daughter” for children aged 7 – 12 years which combine literacy and science. The books are written in the style of a Famous Five style adventure while teaching children about DNA.

The first book is due to be published in September, the second in November. A series of web links will be available to support each of the books where children can find out more about DNA, forensic science and electromagnets. They can also try out different activities such as extracting DNA from fruit, making an origami DNA helix or going to a virtual laboratory to extract DNA. Each book will also be accompanied by a workshop where children can find out more about me as an author, how I go about writing the books, learning about the science in the book and using it to find out which pets have been stolen.

I am in the process of developing an e-learning workshop for children who are unable to attend my live workshops.
My workshops and stories are available to schools, pre-schools, libraries, children’s centres, children parties, groups such as toddler groups, beavers, brownies and scouts and other groups.

The best part of my job is having an audience in front of me where the children are wide eyed, you can hear a pin drop and feel the excitement in the room as they watch the story or workshop unfold. It is so magical and you really feel you are making a difference to those children by inspiring them with a love of science, stimulating their imagination, their thirst for reading and stories. I feel very lucky to be a story teller, author and science educator imagination!

About me as an author

I live in Norfolk with my husband and two children Annabelle (10yrs) and Harry (7yrs). I have a PhD in Genetics and worked for 15 years in various different laboratories using DNA to study subjects as diverse as populations of fish at the genetic level, detecting inherited human diseases, criminal work and paternity and relationship testing.

I now run scientific workshops and perform stories to children. The stories are designed to be multi-sensory and to help children with their understanding and visualisation of different scientific concepts. I wanted to create a series of science based adventure books which were also educational. I have designed the stories so that the reader can see how the characters in the book use DNA to solve a mystery – just like real forensic scientists! At the same time the reader will learn all about DNA as part of the story.

I wanted to share my love and passion for science with children and hopefully inspire some future scientists.

I live in Norfolk with my husband and two children Annabelle (10yrs) and Harry (7yrs).

I have a PhD in Genetics and worked for 15 years in various different laboratories using DNA to study subjects as diverse as populations of fish at the genetic level, detecting inherited human diseases, criminal work and paternity and relationship testing.

I now run scientific workshops and perform stories to children. The stories I perform are designed to be multi-sensory and to help children with their understanding and visualisation of different scientific concepts. I wanted to create a series of science based adventure books which were also educational. I have designed the stories so that the reader can see how the characters in the book use DNA to solve a mystery – just like real forensic scientists! At the same time the reader will learn all about DNA as part of the story.

I wanted to share my love and passion for science with children and hopefully inspire some future scientists.

About my workshops & stories

My name is Dr. Mandy Hartley. I have a degree in Pathobiology and a PhD in Genetics. I have worked with DNA for over 15 years. For my PhD I used DNA to study populations of fish using genetic markers. This included using Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium and other population statistics. I then worked in various NHS Molecular Genetic laboratories as a Clinical Scientist and later as a Deputy Manager. My role was to test patients for a variety of inherited diseases, interpret family trees, predict likelihoods of inheriting a disease and write reports for the results of this testing including prenatal tests. I also was involved in setting up screening tests for Neonatal Diabetes and inherited Kidney Diseases. I then worked for a relationship testing company as the Laboratory/Quality Manager. We were involved with testing many complex cases including criminal cases and forensic testing for corporate cases and items from deceased individuals. I was involved in setting up the forensic laboratories which are currently used by the Norfolk Police for forensic testing. When my children came along I realised I needed to balance my work and home life so I set up ‘The Little Story Telling Company’.

 I now perform stories to help children from 2 – 12 years with their understanding and visualisation of different scientific concepts and I run ‘DNA Detective’ science workshops to teach children about DNA. More recently I have used my experience working with DNA to start writing a series of ‘DNA Detective’ fiction books for 7 – 12 year olds. I am currently working with the Sanger Institute in Cambridge to get funding for a GCSE Genetics Workshop to take into secondary schools. I then plan to follow this up with an A Level workshop and to set up a Children’s Laboratory to teach science to children from 4 – 18 yrs using modern technology.

 The idea for my workshops and stories came from my passion for science. My aim has always been to share my passion for science with children and to inspire them with a love of science. At school I remember there were areas of science which I struggled to understand and some topics which because of the way they were taught I found boring. I thought about how I could communicate these areas to children so that they could be easily understood and would keep children entertained and engaged. I felt if it was fun for children and easy to understand they would want to learn and more importantly would retain the information.

I come from a family of science teachers and I was aware of the lack of resources to teach science in schools and that only 5% of primary school teachers have a science background. As a consequence in situations where teachers lack specialist knowledge or experience of a subject (in particular DNA) they may not have the confidence, vision or time to think of ways which would enable children to visualise these concepts. I was in the lucky situation that I did have time, specialist knowledge, vision and resources. I could put science across to children by combining accurate science knowledge with stories and workshops which were engaging because they contained elements that children of all ages and abilities love. These included; audience interaction, exciting and different props to look at, smell, taste and hear, problem solving, elements of science in the real world, a mystery, surprises, experiments, acting, asking questions and songs for younger children.

I realised that explaining science to children through a story or an interactive workshop which contained these elements would be an incredibly powerful tool to help them understand, engage, explore a subject and most importantly to retain the information. In my experience if you have a solid understanding of the basic concepts of a topic, this will provide a fantastic platform that can be built on and makes it easier for children to understand more complicated extensions of this subject later on.

As word has spread the demand for my workshops and stories has gone from strength to strength. I now regularly perform my stories and workshops in many different primary schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. Discussions with the children following the workshops and stories demonstrates that they have understood the subject. The feedback has been amazing with many of the children telling me they have been inspired to pursue a career in science which is music to my ears!

My name is Dr. Mandy Hartley. I have a degree in Pathobiology and a PhD in Genetics. I have worked with DNA for over 15 years. For my PhD I used DNA to study populations of fish using genetic markers. This included using Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium and other population statistics. I then worked in various NHS Molecular Genetic laboratories as a Clinical Scientist and later as a Deputy Manager. My role was to test patients for a variety of inherited diseases, interpret family trees, predict likelihoods of inheriting a disease and write reports for the results of this testing including prenatal tests. I also was involved in setting up screening tests for Neonatal Diabetes and inherited Kidney Diseases. I then worked for a relationship testing company as the Laboratory/Quality Manager. We were involved with testing many complex cases including criminal cases and forensic testing for corporate cases and items from deceased individuals. I was involved in setting up the forensic laboratories which are currently used by the Norfolk Police for forensic testing. When my children came along I realised I needed to balance my work and home life so I set up ‘The Little Story Telling Company’.

 I now perform stories to help children from 2 – 12 years with their understanding and visualisation of different scientific concepts and I run ‘DNA Detective’ science workshops to teach children about DNA. More recently I have used my experience working with DNA to start writing a series of ‘DNA Detective’ fiction books for 7 – 12 year olds. I am currently working with the Sanger Institute in Cambridge to get funding for a GCSE Genetics Workshop to take into secondary schools. I then plan to follow this up with an A Level workshop and to set up a Children’s Laboratory to teach science to children from 4 – 18 yrs using modern technology.

 The idea for my workshops and stories came from my passion for science. My aim has always been to share my passion for science with children and to inspire them with a love of science. At school I remember there were areas of science which I struggled to understand and some topics which because of the way they were taught I found boring. I thought about how I could communicate these areas to children so that they could be easily understood and would keep children entertained and engaged. I felt if it was fun for children and easy to understand they would want to learn and more importantly would retain the information.

I come from a family of science teachers and I was aware of the lack of resources to teach science in schools and that only 5% of primary school teachers have a science background. As a consequence in situations where teachers lack specialist knowledge or experience of a subject (in particular DNA) they may not have the confidence, vision or time to think of ways which would enable children to visualise these concepts. I was in the lucky situation that I did have time, specialist knowledge, vision and resources. I could put science across to children by combining accurate science knowledge with stories and workshops which were engaging because they contained elements that children of all ages and abilities love. These included; audience interaction, exciting and different props to look at, smell, taste and hear, problem solving, elements of science in the real world, a mystery, surprises, experiments, acting, asking questions and songs for younger children.

I realised that explaining science to children through a story or an interactive workshop which contained these elements would be an incredibly powerful tool to help them understand, engage, explore a subject and most importantly to retain the information. In my experience if you have a solid understanding of the basic concepts of a topic, this will provide a fantastic platform that can be built on and makes it easier for children to understand more complicated extensions of this subject later on.

As word has spread the demand for my workshops and stories has gone from strength to strength. I now regularly perform my stories and workshops in many different primary schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. Discussions with the children following the workshops and stories demonstrates that they have understood the subject. The feedback has been amazing with many of the children telling me they have been inspired to pursue a career in science which is music to my ears!