What's Old

Children Tell Stories Receives Rave Reviews and Storytelling World Gold Award

Susan Hepler, writing for Children's Literature, says "Anyone who works with children will be amazed at the power of storytelling to move listeners and tellers alike. This book exemplifies that power. Adults can easily get children started with the helpful instructions, narratives, examples, quick exercises or hint boxes, and story bibliographies provided. . . A supplemental DVD shows winsome real children telling stories in a variety of settings: a third grade workshop, a family storytelling night, and at school. Practicing classroom, ESL, and literacy teachers explain why this skill is so important to children's reading, writing, speaking, and thinking. . . It is a great package for parents, teachers, club leaders, and drama coaches to help children discover and rejoice in their, perhaps newfound, abilities to spin stories in ways that will enchant listeners. . ." Read more reviews

The second edition of Children Tell Stories is almost a completely new book. It provides compelling rationales for the value of storytelling, links to state literacy learning standards, detailed storytelling tips, easy ideas for storytelling curriculum, and carefully selected and extensive bibliographies. Children Tell Stories is useful to both experienced and novice teachers and storytellers who work with students from preschool through college.

The really exciting news is that Children Tell Stories has a companion DVD included in the back jacket. Award winning filmmaker Peter Carroll (www.petercarrollproductions.com) followed us around in January 2005 and documented our storytelling project in Karen Powers' third grade class at Northeast School (Ithaca, NY). Peter currently has a contract with the Smithsonian Institution and has done lots of educational films for National Geographic. He ended up with eighteen hours of footage (including interviews with students, teachers, administrators, and parents). Peter magically distilled this to a twenty-minute feature film. The film includes older students telling as well so it can be shown to students of all ages as an introduction to a storytelling unit. (It can also be shown to teachers or administrators to convince them of the power of storytelling.) There is also a separate menu with four young tellers sharing their entire stories at a family storytelling event. For more information, see About the DVD.

We now have four books available as part of Richard C. Owen Publishers' "Books for Young Learners" series. These small, beautifully illustrated picture books are reasonably priced and thus perfect for use in the classroom. (That doesn't mean they can't be used elsewhere!) We have been teaching younger children to tell stories lately and have rewritten a number of very short, simple folktales and fables in language that makes them accessible for telling by first, second, and third graders as well as older students with learning problems. (Older student tellers are amenable to using picture books when their goal is telling to younger children.) Richard C. Owen Publishers plans to have a few of these picture books coming out each year. Eventually there will be a critical mass that will make it much easier for teachers of younger children to have every child choose a simple, very short tale to tell.