The best books on storytelling for teachers

Margaret Read MacDonald Author Of Teaching with Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling
By Margaret Read MacDonald

Who am I?

I am passionate about the importance of telling stories in the classroom. My career has been as a children’s librarian in public libraries, but with much time spent telling stories in schools. My daughter and her husband followed in my footsteps as storytellers and found that using storytelling in the classroom has so many benefits. We all offer workshops for teachers, write articles encouraging storytelling, and try in any way possible to grow the corps of teachers who discover this joyful addition to the classroom.


I wrote...

Teaching with Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling

By Margaret Read MacDonald, Jennifer MacDonald Whitman, Nathaniel Forrest Whitman

Book cover of Teaching with Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling

What is my book about?

Use storytelling to enhance your curriculum. Clear suggestions for learning and telling stories in the classroom with 22 easy-to-tell folktales. Chapters include using story to foster community, build character, improve communication, explore cultures, enhance creativity, build confidence, and extend into many areas of the curriculum. 

The authors hope to convince you that storytelling is an important and joyful addition to your classroom. Taking just five minutes a day for a told story can leave memories that will last a lifetime. This book won the Anne Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award. Margaret Read MacDonald is also the author of The Storyteller’s Start-up Book, Twenty Tellable Tales, and The Parent’s Guide to Storytelling. 

The books I picked & why

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The Story Vine

By Anne Pellowski,

Book cover of The Story Vine

Why this book?

I found some wonderfully unusual formats for storytelling here. The book includes string figure stories, drawing stories, finger play stories, riddle tales, and tales told with dolls and incorporating music. I use some of the simple stories like the mosquito string figure tale when I’m teaching beginning tellers. My students find them easy to learn and fun to use.

Children Tell Stories: Teaching and Using Storytelling in the Classroom (Multimedia DVD included with the book)

By Martha Hamilton, Mitch Weiss,

Book cover of Children Tell Stories: Teaching and Using Storytelling in the Classroom (Multimedia DVD included with the book)

Why this book?

It is exciting to encourage students to start telling stories too. This book had lots of good ideas that I use in my storytelling classes for children. Kids enjoyed activities like rolling a yarn ball back and forth across a circle as they add to a story. The book includes 25 easy-to-tell tales for student beginners. And I learned from watching the DVD Children Telling Stories: A Storytelling Unit in Action that was included.

Once Upon a Time... Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying

By Elisa Davy Pearmain,

Book cover of Once Upon a Time... Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying

Why this book?

I found that owning a collection of tales organized by these themes was very useful. Over 100 short folktales on themes of cooperation, courage, diversity, empathy, friendship, generosity, honesty and fairness, perseverance, respect, responsibility, self-control, and bullying prevention. Pearmain also gives suggestions for telling these and for extending them in the classroom. Wrapping an idea in a story really helps the concept sink in for the listener. Having a collection like this helped me build programs for use in the library.

Moral of the Story: Folktales for Character Development

By Bobby Norfolk, Sherry Norfolk,

Book cover of Moral of the Story: Folktales for Character Development

Why this book?

This book contains twelve easily told tales that can be used to discuss character development. The Norfolks include suggestions for classroom use of the tales. I like to recommend this to the teachers in my storytelling classes as the advice comes from a teacher who has written several other books on using stories in the classroom.

The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps to Presenting an Unforgettable Story

By John Walsh,

Book cover of The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps to Presenting an Unforgettable Story

Why this book?

This book is written specifically for those telling stories in religious settings. However, the advice on learning and presenting stories is so clearly and usefully presented, that I would suggest this as a good read for anyone hoping to share stories with children. If you are planning to tell stories in a religious setting, this is definitely your go-to book.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in storytelling, art, and folklore?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about storytelling, art, and folklore.

Storytelling Explore 47 books about storytelling
Art Explore 86 books about art
Folklore Explore 144 books about folklore

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Four Short Stories: A Great Storyteller at His Best, Kamishibai Man, and Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives if you like this list.