The best storytelling books 📚

Browse the best books on storytelling as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning

The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning

By Ernest Kurtz, Katherine Ketcham

Why this book?

Drawing upon stories from all the great spiritual traditions, Kurtz and Ketcham keep shocking us out of our assumptions about the spiritual life, and inviting us to abandon the pursuit of perfection that many of us identify with it. They pull the rug out from under us, telling us what we don’t expect to hear. There’s something comical about embracing imperfection. But if they’re right, it’s the only real alternative to living tragically. I suggest watching Chaplin’s City Lights and Laurel and Hardy’s The Music Box, as you make your way through the chapters of this book.

From the list:

The best books on spiritual breakthrough

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Book cover of Birds of Heaven

Birds of Heaven

By Ben Okri

Why this book?

Birds of Heaven is a tiny book full of noble thoughts on why stories and storytelling are integral to our humanity. Okri, the Man Booker Prize author of ‘The Famished Road’, eloquently states ‘The universe began as a story… we are part human, part stories.’

The text contains two inspirational essays on the meaning of language and its power to shape our lives. The work presents an alternative spiritual response to the problems of the present day. It is bursting with beautiful and insightful gems.

From the list:

The best books about the healing power of story and storytelling

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Book cover of Storytelling with Children

Storytelling with Children

By Nancy Mellon

Why this book?

If you feel inhibited about making up stories and telling them to children, this is the book for you. Encouraging you to spin golden tales, Nancy Mellon shows how you can become a confident storyteller and enrich your family with the power of story. Children love the unique and human quality of storytelling, and parents and teachers alike can learn this practical, magical art with Nancy’s methods, tips and resources. This book may help give you storytelling wings - even if you didn’t think you could fly this way! It is a must for any adult who seeks to enrich…
From the list:

The best books about the healing power of story and storytelling

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Book cover of The Power of Stories: Nurturing Children's Imagination and Consciousness

The Power of Stories: Nurturing Children's Imagination and Consciousness

By Horst Kornberger

Why this book?

Why do we tell stories? What power lies within storytelling? From the great myths and legends to enchanting fairy tales, parables, fables, and folk tales, stories can have a great healing and educative power. They come from our subconscious and imagination, deep inside us. They have much to teach us about ourselves and the world we create around us.

Described as a manual for ‘soul ecology’, in his book Kornberger first explores this ‘story power’, then explains how to apply it to help a child develop, or to heal and transform a child with difficulties. He then discusses the art…

From the list:

The best books about the healing power of story and storytelling

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Book cover of The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue & Vice for Box Office Success

The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue & Vice for Box Office Success

By Stanley D. Williams

Why this book?

As the title suggests, Williams’ book focuses on identifying the Moral Premise at the heart of your story idea and building around it. It’s a very thematic approach to storytelling. This Moral Premise essentially breaks the story into four components: a positive “virtue”, a negative “vice”, desirable consequences (success), and undesirable consequences (defeat). You can use this to create a simple structure of “Vice leads to undesirable consequences (defeat), while Virtue leads to desirable consequences (success)”. I'm admittedly oversimplifying it, but it's a great tactic to get to the heart of your story's theme and strengthen your narrative. 

From the list:

The best books on story structure (you’ve probably never read)

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

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

By Martha Hamilton, Mitch Weiss

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.
From the list:

The best books on storytelling for teachers

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