The most recommended storytelling books

Who picked these books? Meet our 108 experts.

108 authors created a book list connected to storytelling, and here are their favorite storytelling books.
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Book cover of Poison

Jackary Salem Author Of Where the Lightning Goes

From my list on overlooked YA fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been told I live under a rock. I don’t know much about popular media, I can’t name any actors, and when I catch onto a trend, it’s usually five to six years after said trend has died out. People alert me of my lack of knowledge like it’s a bad thing, but I think if they could see all the books they’re missing out on, they’d feel otherwise. There are hundreds of thousands of fantastic stories that are neither glamorous nor gritty enough to make it to the forefront of the internet, and every time I find one, it changes my life. Living under a rock: 10/10 would recommend.

Jackary's book list on overlooked YA fantasy

Jackary Salem Why did Jackary love this book?

This book is one of my earliest inspirations, and I’ve never met anyone else who’s even heard of it.

Poison is the very first book that made me think, “Wow. I want to be able to write something like this.” I loved the story, but what I’ll never forget is how the ending made me feel. This book is both simple and complex; a wild, unpredictable journey and a natural progression of events.

I write with the hopes of someday completing something as lovely as this.

By Chris Wooding,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poison as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton, this is no ordinary
fairy tale.

When Poison's baby sister is stolen by phaeries, Poison sets off
on an incredible and dangerous journey to get her sister back from
the Phaerie Lord.

But as Poison travels to the Realm of Phaerie, she discovers that
her story - and her destiny - is not in her control, and that she
will need all her wits about her to survive.

A fantasy where the power of story maybe the only thing that will
save you, and where imagination knows no bounds.


Book cover of The Secret of the Stolen Idols

Anurag Anand Author Of To Hell and Back: Not all Tragedies are Orchestrated by Fate

From my list on Indian crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Anurag Anand is a keen observer of humankind. He believes that the diversity of human emotions, motivations, and actions offer him a rich palette of tones to paint his stories with. He is the author of thirteen books across genres like self-help, historical fiction, crime thrillers, and contemporary fiction. Anurag’s works have been lauded for their realism, simplicity, and sharp characterization by readers across the spectrum. Of course, he is an avid reader and likes to remain abreast with the developments in the Indian writing space. He is a familiar face (and voice) in literature festivals, television debates and other related forums across the country.  

Anurag's book list on Indian crime fiction

Anurag Anand Why did Anurag love this book?

The Secret of the Stolen Idols is Vivek’s debut novel, and it unravels as quite a surprise package. Lucid language, sharp characterization, and a pacy plot make it a story that lingers in your mind long after you are done reading the book. With his descriptions, Vivek brings to life a Goa that lies beyond the prying eyes of tourists, and one that is just as enchanting as its overt persona.

Book cover of The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

Paul V. Allen Author Of Jack Kent: The Wit, Whimsy, and Wisdom of a Comic Storyteller

From my list on children’s stories by cartoonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved comic strips since I was a kid, so children’s books that had cartoon art in them were the ultimate for me. That love drove me to research and write about the career and life of Jack Kent. Books by cartoonists tend to have the whole package: They tell a story visually, they’re funny, and they use language economically but memorably. The limitations I placed on myself in choosing this list were 1) the creator had to have both written and drawn the book, and 2) they had to have been established as a professional cartoonist before moving into children’s books.

Paul's book list on children’s stories by cartoonists

Paul V. Allen Why did Paul love this book?

A fact lost in their massive success in children’s books is that Stan and Jan Berenstain started as cartoonists.

In the 1940s and 1950s their work appeared in the likes of the Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, and McCall’s, and they had a series of best-selling “cartoon essay” books. Their famous bears debuted in 1962 as part of Beginner Books, a line created by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, Helen Palmer Geisel, and Phyllis Cerf.

With 1978’s The Spooky Old Tree, The Berenstains created the quintessential early reader, using repetition and predictability, prepositional phrases, rich visuals, and high drama to captivate their young audience (and their parents). “Do they dare? Yes. They dare.”

By Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Join the Berenstain Bears on a spooky adventure in this classic children's book perfect for learning to read!

Climb the Spooky Old Tree with the Berenstain Bears! This classic children's book makes great use of rhyming and repetition of phrases to encourage children's reading, and the spooky story will delight young and old!

Bright and Early Books are designed to encourage even 'non-reading' children to read.
Some Bright and Early Books are simple stories, others are hilarious nonsense: both types have been designed to give children confidence and make them want to go on reading. Perfect for both boys and…


Book cover of World Tales for Family Storytelling: 53 Traditional Stories for Children aged 4-6 years

Allison Galbraith Author Of Funny Folk Tales for Children

From my list on world folktales for reading to everyone over six.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a storyteller and folktale collector. All my jobs have involved telling stories – as a community librarian, in theatre, in education, and since 2006 as a professional storyteller and writer. I work in schools, festivals, and outdoor education with all sorts of people and their animals. I have honed my skills to find the most enjoyable traditional tales that can be shared widely. I live in Scotland, where I encourage families to read and tell their favourite stories together. Storytelling is a living art form that belongs to everyone. More than anything, I love the natural world, and I bring the magnificence of nature into all my work.

Allison's book list on world folktales for reading to everyone over six

Allison Galbraith Why did Allison love this book?

This is a fabulous selection of stories from all over the globe. The tales are often funny, thought-provoking and entertaining.

Chris Smith clearly knows how to adapt traditional tales to encourage compelling storytelling. He keeps the stories short and manageable for the family to enjoy. You will find well-crafted retellings of old classics like The Princess and the Pea, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rumpelstiltskin, and Cinderella. And they are not sweetened for the faint-hearted - blood is spilt, and toes are chopped off!

There are also lesser-known stories like Fox's Sack and The Talking Skull that will enthral children from all cultures and their adults. An excellent book for mixed ages and professional teachers and storytellers. The source notes are outstanding, highlighting recorded/audio versions too.

By Chris Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked World Tales for Family Storytelling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

These wonderful world tales are all selected from the highly acclaimed 147 Traditional Stories for Primary School Children to Retell, a storytelling resource used by teachers around the globe. In this collection intended for home use, the focus is on tales for children ages 4 to 6. The stories may be read, told, and retold, and then explored with the whole family. They offer a rich vein of world heritage, giving your family a doorway into the wonderful world of traditional tales.

Storyteller Chris Smith presents traditional oral stories from a variety of historical, cultural, and world sources, featuring:

Stories…


Book cover of Scary Stories for Young Foxes

Sarah Allen Author Of The Nightmare House

From my list on where the monsters are more than monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my high school creative writing class, my teacher once said that good writing was a bit like looking at a star. If you look directly at it, it gets a little fuzzy and hard to see. But if you look just off to the side, the star becomes vivid and clear. That, to me, is exactly the power of spooky stories for young readers. We all deal with monsters, to varying degrees, throughout our lives. Even kids. But if we look at it just off to the side, through the angle of a fun, spooky story, those monsters suddenly become much more comprehensible. More faceable. More beatable. 

Sarah's book list on where the monsters are more than monsters

Sarah Allen Why did Sarah love this book?

There are two things that I’ve always loved in my books: animal POV and spooky vibes.

This book has both! In so many ways, the things we face in our everyday life can feel like a horror story, or feel like monsters. For a fox, that would be things like rabies, hunters, fires, etc.

The prose was so good and so vivid, and I really worried with each different story how the little foxes were going to survive. One of my absolute favorites.

By Christian McKay Heidicker, Junyi Wu (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Scary Stories for Young Foxes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Christian McKay Heidicker draws inspiration from witches, vampires, H. P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allen Poe to craft his middle-grade debut, a chilling portrait of survival and an unforgettable tale of friendship.

When fox kits Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they quickly learn that the world is a dangerous place filled with monsters. As the young foxes travel across field and forest in search of a home, they'll face a zombie who hungers for their tender flesh, a witch who wants to wear their skins, a ghost who haunts and hunts them, and so much more.

Featuring eight…


Book cover of Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business

Terry R. Bacon Author Of Elements of Influence: The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead

From my list on influencing people ethically.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a graduate of West Point and a student of military and political leadership. From that foundation, I devoted much of my professional life to researching power and influence and understanding how leaders create impact in business and life. As an educator, counselor, and founder of an international firm on executive development, I created courses on influence to help others become more effective at management and leadership through the ethical uses of influence. I want passionately to know the difference between towering leaders like Abraham Lincoln and manipulative scoundrels like Bernie Madoff, and I’m fascinated by what influences people to take one path rather than another.

Terry's book list on influencing people ethically

Terry R. Bacon Why did Terry love this book?

Whether you are selling yourself or a product, communicating your message effectively is a key to success, and it doesn’t matter if you are trying to influence people through logical persuasion or appealing to their values. Storytelling is as old as humanity and has been a moving and lasting way to communicate. Kindra Hall’s bestselling book on storytelling is a fascinating textbook on the art and science of creating and delivering stories that resonate with audiences and influence people’s decisions. This is one of the best books I’ve read on how to craft compelling messages.

By Kindra Hall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stories That Stick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A clear framework of ideals and a concise set of actions for you to take complete control of your own story, utilizing the principles behind the world's most effective business storytelling strategies..

You keep hearing how story is the latest-and-greatest business tool, and that storytelling can do everything-from helping leaders better communicate to motivating sales teams and winning customers away from competitors.

But what stories do you need to tell? And how do you tell them?

In Stories That Stick, Kindra Hall, professional storyteller and nationally-known speaker, reveals the four unique stories you can use to differentiate, captivate, and elevate:…


Book cover of Playful Rebellion: Maximize Workplace Success Through The Power of Play

Karen Eber Author Of The Perfect Story: How to Tell Stories that Inform, Influence, and Inspire

From my list on unleashing your storytelling and creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have told stories since the age of five when I shared one about my different colored eyes. Tired of being pointed at and ridiculed for the thing I loved most about myself, I learned that stories can shift energy and create connection, even in the most artificial of settings. I’ve spent my career working in and with the Fortune 500 building leaders, teams, and culture, one story at a time. I’ve used storytelling to persuade people when one had the authority to say yes but 99 others could say no. Stories not only slowed their “No,” but they also helped me recruit them to persuade the decision makers.

Karen's book list on unleashing your storytelling and creativity

Karen Eber Why did Karen love this book?

Gary is a master facilitator, improv comedian, and storyteller who inspires you through play.

His book shares how you can be successful in your work by tapping into your creative and playful side to get the best results. Having experienced Gary live in many settings, he knows his stuff! I’m always belly-laughing and coming up with new ideas.

This book is a good reminder that work doesn’t have to be stuffy. The best results come from the relaxed and playful mind and this book shows you how to do that.

Book cover of Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative and Visuals

Jeremy Adamson Author Of Minding the Machines: Building and Leading Data Science and Analytics Teams

From my list on for data science and analytics leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a leader in analytics and AI strategy, and have a broad range of experience in aviation, energy, financial services, and the public sector.  I have worked with several major organizations to help them establish a leadership position in data science and to unlock real business value using advanced analytics. 

Jeremy's book list on for data science and analytics leaders

Jeremy Adamson Why did Jeremy love this book?

Data scientists and analytics specialists are great at building models and algorithms, but often wrap them in a presentation or dashboard that diminishes their value and reduces the likelihood of their work being adopted. This book encourages practitioners to always consider the last mile and to pay as much attention to presentation and aesthetics as we do to the model itself. 

By Brent Dykes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Effective Data Storytelling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Master the art and science of data storytelling-with frameworks and techniques to help you craft compelling stories with data.

The ability to effectively communicate with data is no longer a luxury in today's economy; it is a necessity. Transforming data into visual communication is only one part of the picture. It is equally important to engage your audience with a narrative-to tell a story with the numbers. Effective Data Storytelling will teach you the essential skills necessary to communicate your insights through persuasive and memorable data stories.

Narratives are more powerful than raw statistics, more enduring than pretty charts. When…


Book cover of Jack the Bodiless

Ann Claycomb Author Of Silenced

From my list on fantasy to achieve dazzling feats of storytelling.

Why am I passionate about this?

When you grow up believing in magic, you inevitably face a moment when the world invites you to stop. Books are the reason to keep believing. Fantasy novels specifically give their readers magic to dive into and savor. What makes these fantasy novels so important to me is that they don’t just tell stories about magic, they tell their stories with such verve, such daring, such commitment to achieving the impossible, that they make magic. Reading these books, you will hold your breath, unable to believe that what feels like it’s about to happen could possibly happen when you turn the page... but don’t worry.  It will.

Ann's book list on fantasy to achieve dazzling feats of storytelling

Ann Claycomb Why did Ann love this book?

Is this a nine-book series? Well, yes. Sort of. It’s also a four-book series, then a duology, then a trilogy.  And the first four are set in the Pleistocene. Stay with me. 

May commits to world-building that encompasses ESP—but taken to 11; time-travel; international, intergenerational, and intergalactic political intrigue; powerful familial and romantic relationships; gut-wrenching tragedy, and the transcendence that compassion can make possible. 

To say there is a large cast of characters doesn’t begin to convey how many richly imagined, memorable creatures (not all human) populate these books; the main characters, in particular, are absolutely indelible, by turns terrifying, seductive, tortured, and quietly extraordinary. 

By Julian May,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jack the Bodiless as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Earth stands on the brink of acceptance into the Galactic Milieu, a benevolent political and telepathic alliance of alien races. But some are wary, as their new supervisors have introduced stringent new laws. Leading humanity is the powerful Remillard family, but a ruthless entity known only as the Fury has its own agenda for the Galactic Milieu. It starts to murder those with metapsychic talents, triggering a chaos that could delay Earth's inclusion.

At this delicate juncture, Teresa, wife of clan leader Paul Remillard, conceives a child who could represent humanity's future. But Jack's birth is illegal under Milieu law…


Book cover of Speak Easy: A Tale from the Effluvium

Jacey K. Dew Author Of Three Souls

From my list on fantasy to bring magic to familiar worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I was consistently described as one who had her head in the clouds. I was far away imagining all sorts of fantastical things; dragons soaring in the sky, a witch blasting a fireball in the grocery store, a werewolf coming to eat the gym teacher, the coffee barista is actually a vampire, etc. There is something alluring about supernatural beings existing in our often mundane world; whether they are being subjected to the same life we are or are wreaking havoc for any reason.

Jacey's book list on fantasy to bring magic to familiar worlds

Jacey K. Dew Why did Jacey love this book?

Nanette reignites storytelling when magic and storytelling are forbidden while walking a dangerous line with her sister.

E.S. Barrison weaves a story of relationships in times of suppression of truth and how destructive state-sanctioned propaganda can be.

This story rang hard on familiar stories of real-world issues placed in a magical world, and the danger of being someone willing to go against the religious state; touching on trauma, police brutality, and the rising cost of medicine.

This novella has a lot of interesting points on the power of stories.