Good Books on: Moving to the Next Level in Story Telling
Recommendations of My Favorites!


These are books on strengthening your skills in preparing and telling stories - and I recommend them to you. For information concerning their prices, availability and, if desired, your convenient purchase, follow any of the linked titles, a service of Eldrbarry's Story Telling Page in association with Amazon.com Books.
  • The Storyteller's Guide: Storytellers share Advice for the Classroom, Boardroom, Showroom, Podium, Pulpit and Centerstage - by Bill Mooney and David Holt (August House Publishers, 1996)
    ISBN 0-874-83482-1

    The authors interviewed more than fifty storytellers - professionals, teachers, actors, authors, etc. and present here their contributions on a lot of topics. There is material here for the novice teller as well as the beginning professional. There is a lot of advice on topics ranging from learning stories and dealing with stage fright to ethics to setting fees and marketing yourself. Get and Read this book!

  • The Way of the Storyteller
    by Ruth Sawyer - Back in Print!! (Penguin USA, 1998) ISBN: 0140044361

    This book first written in 1942 has be reprinted numerous times and is truely a classic! A series of essays on the nature and power of storytelling that have inspired several generations of tellers, combined with eleven excellent stories. Her chapter on how to abolish technique is heavily underlined in my copy. Reread this book often, and put quotations from it on your wall. Just as I have on my website.

  • Creative Storytelling: Building Community, Changing Lives by Jack Zipes (Routledge, 1995)
    ISBN 0-415-91272-5

    This book has a lot to offer! Written by a professor who has written numerous books on fairy tales and their varients, it offers tried practival how-to suggestions for bringing storytelling in the curriculum of schools, discussion of the different genres of stories with both traditional and modern examples and their value in peoples lives. There are a lot of stories contained in this volume and an extensive bibliography as well. I strongly recommend this volume to storytellers and teachers.

Developing Your Stories
  • From Plot to Narrative: A Step by Step process of Story Creation and Enhancement by Elizabeth Ellis Parkhurst Brothers Publishers Inc; 1 edition (September 1, 2012)

    Masterful storytelller, Elizabeth Ellis' new book allows us to break down her process of creating stories into ten easy steps, each chapter having exercises attached to them to help us take our story from it's simplest structure and transform it into a fully formed story. The chapters cover context, conflict, sensory imagery, characterization, point of view, emotion, connection, humor, wisdom, word choice and finally assembling all of these into a delicious story ready for the ear or eye.

  • The New Book of Plots: Constructing Engaging Narratives for Oral and Written Storytelling by Loren Niemi Parkhurst Brothers Publishers Inc; First Edition, 1st Edition edition (September 28, 2012)

    How many ways can you tell a story? This book is about how narrative is shaped. Loren Niemi describes nine plot forms that can be used for either adapting a traditional piece or in creating an original story, with exercises after each chapter. Any serious storyteller ought to take this book into consideration.

  • The Whole Story Handbook: Using Imagery to Complete the Story Experience by Carol Birch
    (August House, 2000) ISDN 0874835666

    A children's librarian and instructor in Storytelling and children's lierature has written an excellent little book on technique - in particular, working with texts, and developing a story's characters and settings. This book will help you ground your stories in all your senses - and the chapters of prompts do just that!

  • Storytelling and the Art of Imagination
    by Nancy Mellon (Yellow Moon Press 3rd Ed 2003)

    In this classic in the field of storytelling as a healing art, Nancy Mellon offers the tools for story-making and story-telling through examples and exercises. Her deep sense of mission and her commitment to creativity inspire this step-by-step guide on how to tap into vast creative wisdom within the archetypal characters, landscapes and plots found in tales throughout the world.

Developing Your Technique
  • Tell the world: storytelling across language barriers compiled and edited by Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald. (Libraries Unlimited (November 30, 2007)

    Explores the techniques of bilingual storytelling, along with information on using storytelling in language instruction, presenting workshops, and translation into sign language.

  • The Grammar of Fantasy : An Introduction to the Art of Inventing Stories by Gianni Rodari, Jack David Zipes (Teachers & Writers, 1996) ISBN 091592451X

    Translated from the Italian by Jack Zipes, this book has lots of innovative ideas and games that teachers and storytellers can use to stimuate children's creative writing - prompting children to think more imaginatively while acquiring basic linguistic and artistic skills. There are lots of applications for those who tell stories, especially those who want to create new stories, or do "improvisational" telling.

  • The Magic of Metaphor: 77 Stories for Teachers, Trainers & thinkers by Nick Owen (Crown House Publishing (2001)

    Suggestions for telling and a selection of stories, anecdotes, and extended metaphors which can be adapted and developed by counsellors, healthworkers, therapists, coaches, managers, professional speakers, and teachers. "Chicken Soup for the soul" styled material promoting positive feelings, encouraging confidence, offering direction or vision which a teller will likely interpret and frame to his particular context, or infuse with his own applications. The stories are grouped into Pacing and Leading; Adding Value; Structures and Patterns; Response-ability; Choice Changes and Transition.

  • Impro for Storytellers by Keith Johnstone [Routledge, 1999] ISDN 0878301054

    Though not concerned with telling stories, this will help a serious storyteller develop his skills. "Beyond its strictly theatrical applications, Impro for Storytellers aims to take jealous and self-obsessed beginners and teach them to play games with good nature and to fail gracefully. If you've ever been clumsy and awkward, this book will improve your interpersonal skills and encourage a life-long study of human interaction." "This book should be every improvisers bible. As if Impro wasn't enough, Johnstone's new book focuses solely on improv, while his last dealt a great deal with his personal past and teachings. Johnstone describes tons of incredible short-form games, which could all be used in developing a long-form troupes unity and confidence. There is not much else to say, but if you consider yourself an improviser this book should live on your bedstand."

Exploring the Genre's of Story
  • Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie and Folklore in the Literature of Childhood by Jane Yolen
    (August House, 2001) ISDN 0874835917

    This book of essays by a noted children's writer helped turn me on to the wonders of stories - and I am so glad to see it back in print with an additional six essays! It is a book you will read over again and again and each time you will gain new insights and inspiration into what gives stories their magic. Like Sawyer's Way of the Storyteller, it is a book written with a love for the stories, both old and new, that touch a child's heart and remain with there long into adult years reflecting on their timesless value. It is no wonder this volume is so frequently quoted!

  • The Ordinary and the Fabulous: An Introduction to Myths and Legends and Fairy Tales for Teachers and Storytellers by Elizabeth Cook

    This book deals with telling the Greek, Northern European and Arthurian myths and legends to children ages 8 to 14. The second edition, done in 1976, covers critically various versions of the stories and presents some practical guidelines for researching and telling these tales. Ms Cook is more concerned with appropriate presentations for young people than in reading meanings into the stories. There is a lot of valuable material in this book, look for it at the library or for a used copy.

  • Inviting the wolf in: Thinking About Difficult Stories by Loren Niemi and Elizabeth Ellis

    This book aims to help you deal with stories that by their subject matter are hard to tell - tales of wickedness, loss, sorrow and grief. Stories can help us deal with crises and the tragic side of life. The book covers three essential elements: discussing the value and necessity of telling them, and how to section on creating and shaping them, and sample stories with exposition on how they were done. A good book for storytellers, ministers, counsellors and human service professionals.

    See more pages on Various Story Genre in Hatter's Classics.

"Coaching" the Story Teller.
  • Improving Your Storytelling: Beyond the Basics for All Who Tell Stories in Work or Play by Doug Lipman [August House, 1999] ISDN 0874835305
    A book for Advanced storytellers. Fran Stallings says "Although the book is full of suggestions for exercises and very practical remedies, it is more than a how-to manual. It teaches the aesthetic and moral principles we must understand in order to make our own informed decisions as responsible tellers."

  • The Storytelling Coach: How to Listen, Praise, and Bring Out People's Best by Doug Lipman (August House (October 12, 2006)

    Lipman outlines his basic coaching principles, guideines for emotional safety, the four primary obstacles to success, and suggestions for overcoming them. Vivid stories from various storytelling traditions and from the author's experience clarify his points. Storytelling coach is practical and thorough.There are lots of good, helpful examples in it as well,

  • Storytelling Tips by K. Sean Buvala
Miscellaneous suggestions