bedtime stories for kids & sleepy adults

The Fifth of January brings Twelfth Night and the Sixth brings Epiphany: two events that mark the close of the Christmas Season as the Magi arrive at the stable with their gifts for the newborn child. In Italy, the story takes on another dimension, for there, legend has it that the Magi stopped at the home of an old woman called La Befana and invited her to join them on their journey. But she had too much housework to do, so she turned them down. When she changed her mind, it was too late. Still to this day, on each Eve of the Epiphany, la Befana sets out with her broom in search of the child, leaving presents for all the other sleeping children she visits as she searches for the newborn king.

For Episode No. 8 of our bedtime stories series, we invite you to Stay Awake with Marietta Falconieri as she reads her favorite version of the story: the one retold by Tomie de Paola in his book "The Legend of Old Befana." Reading the story –– and acting out the roles –– is a Little Christmas (that's another name for Epiphany) tradition in Marietta's family, and she welcomes us all into the fold as la Befana sweeps Christmas away for another year.

Our bedtime stories series began just before Halloween in 2021 with a magical retelling of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in a performance of "The Misadventures of Ichabod Crane" by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk. This episode is still available, too, and it's a delight no matter what time of year. We also invite you to Stay Awake with John Cutrone as our JCBA Director tells the tale of "Pierre, a boy who didn't care". It's a story by Maurice Sendak. You can also stay awake with British artist Davy McGuire as he reads "That Pesky Rat" by Lauren Child, John Cutrone reading "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Kianga Jinaki as she reads "The Greedy Hyena," and John Cutrone once again, reading Diane Goode's story for St. Martin's Night, "Spooks a-Hunting," while storyteller Caren Neile tells a tale for Chanukah called "The Scent of Latkes." This is what Stay Awake is all about: Great tales, from us to you, as we gather JCBA friends from around the world to tell stories and read children's books. Our goal is to help your little ones fall asleep. (Kids, don't tell the adults, but our plan is to keep you up with us while the adults catch 40 winks. But that's just between us.)

Watch all our episodes right here at the Stay Awake tab at We hope to release a new bedtime story every month or so. If you have a good story or if you are a good reader, contact us and let's chat about the possibility of getting your tale on the air. Enjoy staying awake with us!


While the world is fast asleep,
a story's better than counting sheep.