1. "Once upon a time, in a deep dark wood, in a teeny tiny cottage with a straw roof, lived a big rat. His name was Claude." -- from Tomie dePaola, children's book author

2. "Deep, deep down in the ocean as I was minding my own business..." -- from Lily Wong, professor, Southeast Asia Union College

3. "Way back in the back hills where even the ants didn't go, I remember..." -- from Jerry Tello, author and education consultant

4. "In old grandmother's trunk there was a ..." -- from Rebeca Barrera, president, National Latino Children's Institute

5. "There once was a rabbit who loved to dance." -- Laura Sims, storyteller, author, and educator

6. "My grandmother used to tell me home is where the heart is. I did not understand what she meant by that until one stormy night when ..." -- from Deborah Eaton, president, National Association for Family Child Care

7. "Long ago, in a faraway place, there was a land filled with wonder. In this fantastic place there was a little girl. She was very special, for she had a magic ..." -- from Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo and Nancy Wang, members of Eth-Noh-Tec, an Asian storytelling troupe

8. "It started out just like any other school day. I finished the last soggy pieces of cereal from my bowl full of milk. (I always pour too much!) But as I grabbed my coat and ran out the door, I couldn't believe my eyes!" -- from Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder, Children's Defense Fund