Good Books on: Story Telling
Recommendations of My Favorites!

These are books on how to tell stories - and I highly 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 Books.
  • The Story-Teller's Start Up Book: Finding, Learning, Performing and Using Folktales
    By Margaret Read MacDonald (August House Publishers Inc, 1993)
    ISBN 0874833051

    Want to learn how? The author of Twenty Tellable Tales, and The Parents Guide to Storytelling: How to Make Up New Stories and Retell Old Favorites and numerous other story telling books, will get you started. A teacher and librarian for many years in my Seattle area, Margaret has an infectious and involving style of telling and the twelve stories in this volume are fine examples you can learn and use. All the basics are covered here from finding breaking down and learning the story, to telling it and networking with other tellers, all with excellent bibliographical material as well. This is my number one recommendation for the beginning teller. Margaret Read MacDonald is also the author of The Storyteller's Sourcebook: A subject, Title, and Motif-Index to Folklore collections for Children.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Storyteller (3rd edition)
    by Ramon Royal Ross (August House, 1996)
    ISBN 0-874-83451-1

    A classic book that helped to spawn the current storytelling revival 25 years ago, the new edition includes discussion of personal experience stories, urban legends, choral reading, storyboard, puppetry, and music and movement storytelling. Each edition has gotten better, I know, I own all three. Here is a book that will be especially useful for teachers (whether Sunday School or the working week) who want to use puppets or flannelboard or singing and dancing as a part of telling the story. There is material here I haven't found elsewhere.

  • 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!

  • Storyteller, Storyteacher by Marni Gillard ISBN 1571100148

    A gem of a book from a teacher that really understands the place of story in our lives!. Not just for teachers, it is especially strong in helping people of all ages discover their own personal stories and overcome the fear of sharing them. Parents ought to read this book. Marni Gillard is gentle and vunerable, and at the same time, courageous and perceptive. She shares many examples from her years of observing people telling stories, and has an excellent bibliography of resources. I strongly recommend this book!

  • Storytelling Professionally: The Nuts and Bolts of a Working Performer, by Harlynne Geisler (1997)

    This book is full of the practical "nitty gritty" of becoming a fulltime professional by someone who has done it. She tells how to sell yourself, organize and prepare; run a business, as well as matters such as censorship, contracts, ethics, props, music, etc. It will help you avoid the pitfalls along the way. This book is packed with practical information and excellent resource lists. It is not just for Storytellers - teachers, librarians, clowns and other children's performers will find it valuable as well. I can't think of a better how to book for prospective storytellers.

  • Story$Sells: by Elizabeth Gibson (1999)

    Brand new! After sitting through one too many truly boring business presentations, the author decided to write a book to teach business people how to make their dry material into stories. This 101 page paperback sounds like just the thing - for those who have to give presentations, or for those who have to sit through them to give away as a gift.

    More books applying Storytelling to business can be found in StoryBIZ.

  • Creative Storytelling: Choosing, Inventing and Sharing tales for Children by Jack Maguire (Yellow Moon Press., 1992)
    ISDN 0938756354

    A practical volume for the beginner whether parent or teacher; there is material here on sources and types, gearing stories to different ages, techniques and utilizing your own experiences to create new tales. If you want to get started, this is a good book!

  • The Power of Personal Storytelling: Spinning Tales to Connect with Others by Jack Maguire (J P Tarcher., 1998)
    ISDN 0874779308

    In The Power of Personal Storytelling, professional storyteller Jack Maguire explains how to mine your memories to communicate more effectively, enhance personal and professional relationships, and understandyourself better so that you can better understand others. Step by step, he illustrates how shaping and expressing true stories about our lives and those of the people we've known can connect us more vitally with others; develop our creativity; strengthen our humor, courage, and confidence; and render our lives more memorable.One device is to help students find a "counterpart" story from the traditional body of folklore and well-known material we all grew up with. Jack has lots more ideas -- activities that allow students to link personal memories (reality) with abstract ideas. He has a chapter that uses storyboarding as a way of finding key scenes or stepping-stones as parts of a developing story.

  • Stories to Play With: Kid's Tales Told with Puppets, Paper, toys and Imagination by Hiroko Fujita, Fran Stallings (Editor), [August House, 1999]
    A book on using props for storytelling working with pre-school and younger children. Many of the props in this book enable the preschoolers to recreate the story on their own, which is a valuable pedagogical process in itself. Some of the props are simple enough that the preschoolers can make their own after hearing the story, also a valuable process.

  • 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."

  • 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."

  • 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 stories characters and settings. This book will help you ground your stories in all your senses - and the chapters of prompts do just that!

  • How to Make Money Performing in Schools: The Definitive Guide to Developing, Marketing, and Presenting School Assembly Programs
    by David Heflick
    (Silcox Productions, 1997) ISDN 0963870580

    Using his experiences as an arts program presenter and input from arts administrators, Heflick has produced a pragmatic guide for the artist looking to supplement his or her income through in-school performances. Heflick begins by detailing just what the secondary and elementary schools are looking for in terms of educational and entertainment content, the accompanying materials required, the length of presentations, and how to employ appropriate themes. He also discusses ways for artists to mold their experiences into presentations, concerns for working with younger audiences, how to market one's self, keeping the necessary paperwork, and secondary opportunities for income. Logical and no-nonsense, this should be a real boon to artists attempting to break into an expanding, lucrative market. Touring extensively with The Dave & Cindy Duo, David Heflick has performed over 1000 school assembly programs since 1984.

  • Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking about Difficult Stories
    by Loren Niemi & Elizabeth Ellis
    (August House, 2001) ISDN 0874836239

    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.

  • Creating a Family Storytelling Tradition: Awakening the Hidden Storyteller by Robin Moore, August House, 1999).

    Focused on storytelling at home with the family - this is a good book for learning storytelling as well. Using series of journeys in imagination - assembling a storyteller's toolkit both inner (memory, imagination and visualization) and outer (voice, gesture and movement.) Thanks to August House for keeping this book in print!

  • Len Cabral's Storytelling Book
    by Len Cabral (Neal-Schuman, May 1997 - ISBN 1555702538)

    This book teaches you to act out a story and interact with your audience rather than just reading to them. Most of the stories are accompanied by a "Telling Guide" appearing in the right hand column of each page which explains step-by-step how to tell the tale and a "Teaching Guide" which offers suggestions for related activities and ideas for discussion. The book begins with some very simple tales and progresses in the level of interactivity so you can move on to more advanced techniques as you become more comfortable and experienced. A couple of dozen multicultural tales are included.

  • The Art of Storytelling
    by Nancy Mellon (Harper Collins - UK February 1998)

    Earlier prints of this book were called "Storytelling and the Art of Imagination". This book outlines various essential parts of a story, characters and how they have been traditionally used, symbolism associated with characters and settings, and examples from folktales.

  • Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book
    by Pete Seeger, Paul Du Bois Jacobs (Harcourt Brace., 2000)
    ISDN 015100370X

    This is a nice collection of a variety of stories, many originating in this well known folksinger's own childhood. There are everything from family stories to versions of Bible tales to stories inspired by songs, history, legends, and Seeger's own imagination. In an introduction to each chapter, Seeger explains the source of the tales and offers suggestions for scouting similar ones. Each story, easy to learn, and ready to read aloud or tell, concludes with possible variations, themes, morals, and, sometimes, music. Valuable for parents, teachers, camp counselors, and librarians, this cozy collection will not only be a ready resource but also may encourage novice storytellers to strike out on their own as well.

  • The Magic Orange Tree: And Other Haitian Folktales by Diane Wolkstein, Elsa Henriquez (Illustrator) (Schocken Books, 1997)

    A paperback reprinting of significant and highly recommended book on storytelling, that includes stories collected in Haiti, and also revealing notes on the tellers and their styles of telling. Diane Wolstein, the author, has been telling stories for 30 years and travels and preforms both nationally and internationally. She often tells stories at the Statue of Hans Christian Anderson in New York's Central Park.

  • 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, 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 Storytellers' Journey: An American Revival
    by Joseph Daniels Sobol, University of Illinois, 1999).

    An analysis of the storytelling revival in America from the 1970s to the present, its roots, its future, and a close examination of its connection to NAPPS/NSA. This is a book on why, rather than how, to tell stories in our modern culture, and deals with many of the issues facing that revival movement. Joseph Sobol is also one of the editors of Jack in Two Worlds: Contemporary North American Tales and Their Tellers (Publications of the American Folklore Society, 1994).

  • The Art of the Storyteller
    by Marie L. Shedlock (Dover Books)
    ISBN 0-486-20635-1

    A classic book by one of the founders of American storytelling written in 1915 but still one of the most readable books on the subject in print. Both the practical how-to's and an excellent selection of stories. You can probably find this one in the library, if not in a used bookstore nearby, though it remains available from Dover Books (11 East 2nd St., Mineloa, N.Y. 11501 - no phone orders accepted), which have also kept available Joseph Jacob's English folklore books, Andrew Lang's Fairy Tale books of many colors, and Howard Pyle's Arthur and Robin Hood books - look in their section on Children's Books.

  • Just Enough To Make A Story: A Sourcebook for Storytelling
    by Nancy Schimmel (Sisters Choice Press., 1992)
    ISDN 093216403X

    Learning how to tell a story can make you a more effective orator and conversationalist, as well as helping you share your own life experiences and those of your family. In simple and elegant style, Nancy Schimmel relates the process of storytelling from choosing and learning a story to telling one. This is a terrific sourcebook with plenty of ideas to get you going and reading lists at the end of each section, including a four page listing of sources for stories involving strong and active heroines.

  • 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.

  • Write Right! : Creative Writing Using Storytelling Techniquesby Kendall Haven (Teacher Ideas Press, 1999) ISBN: 1563086778

  • 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.

  • Storytellling Card Games

    Storytelling Book Sources: and more books suggestions!

    August House, Inc
    P.O. Box 3223, Little Rock, AR, 72203

    This Publisher has lots and lots of Storytelling resources - including lots of books and tapes - in fact that is all they publish. They are linked to the National Storytelling Association and Festival in Jonesborough, TN. They have so many collections of multicultural tales and books of stories - I can't begin to list all the good books they have available on storytelling. Visit their On-Line Catalog or get their catalog soon!!

    Libraries Unlimited/ Teacher Ideas Press
    Department 9643, P.O. Box 6633, Englewood, Co. 80155-6633
    1-(800)-237-6124, ext. 1 - E-mail:

    Noted for award winning books, some of their titles include:

    Ornx Press (Recently acquired by Greenwood Publishing Group)
    4041 North Central , Suite 700, Phoenix, AZ, 85012-3397
    By Fax: 1-800-279-4663 By Phone: 1-800-279-6799

    Stenhouse Publishers
    P.O. Box 360, York, ME 03909-0360

    Publishers and distributors of a wide variety of teaching related materials

    Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.
    100 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013
    (212) 925-8650 Fax: (212) 219-8916

    Internet books and how-to-do books for librarians and educators. Online Catalog.

    • The Storytime Sourcebook: A Compendium of Ideas and Resources for Storytellers by Carolyn N. Cullum
    • Wellsprings of Imagination: The Homes of Children's Authors by Mark West
    • The Birthday Book: Birthdates, Birthplaces, and Biographical Sources for American Authors and Illustrators of Children's Books by Mary Hovas Munroe and Judith Rogers Banja
    • Bridging Cultures: A Program Kit for Schools and Public Libraries by Barbara Radke Blake and Tom Kruger

    Vineyard Video Productions
    P.O. Box 370, West Tisbury, MA., 02575-0370.

    • Three fine videotapes with Jay O'Callahan - one of them, "A Master Class in Storytelling", 33 minutes with workshop guide - is considered one of the best ever done on the subject. Other videos available for teacher training, parent education and classroom use, from kindergarten through post secondary levels.

    Yellow Moon Press
    P.O. Box 1316, Cambridge, MA, 02238

    • Joining in : An Anthology of Audience Participation by Norma Livo (Editor)

    H. W. Wilson
    950 University Ave., Bronx, NY, 10452
    1-(800)-367-6770 or (212) 588-8400 and Eldrbarry's Bookshop

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