A pair of early childhood educators offers techniques for telling effective and entertaining tales to kids.
In this parenting book, debut author West and Sarosy (A Father’s Life, 2019) draw on their experiences as Waldorf and forest school educators to present methods that make storytelling work. The book explores the neuroscience behind the human fondness for tales. The authors encourage parents to focus on the connections they are able to form by sharing stories with their children rather than developing expertise in dramatic performance or plot and structure (“Because storytelling is about the relationship, not the narrative”). After explaining how to tell tales, the work concludes by urging readers to build links through stories with people of all ages. Each chapter includes several exercises designed to allow readers to strengthen their storytelling muscles as well as examples of tales the authors have told (for instance, a child reluctant to wear a backpack hears about a turtle who wants to shed her shell). The book guides readers through the ties narratives forge between the real world and kids’ imaginative play. The volume examines ways to defuse tension and mitigate arguments through tales (“The story doesn’t resolve the conflict, it creates intimacy”) and to educate children without becoming didactic (“The story of an RNA sequence gone hopelessly awry is not so different from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”). The book is well written and deftly conveys its lessons to readers, avoiding preachiness as it argues that storytelling is a way to provide kids with the attention they crave. The authors are encouraging throughout, making a solid case for storytelling as a skill that can be developed by anyone and practiced effectively by amateurs. Readers will walk away from the book feeling empowered and capable. The sample tales do a fine job of demonstrating how children can be satisfied by simple narratives, and the exercises (“Find Something Small and Make It Big”; “Change Your Voice”) deliver guidance while inspiring readers to experiment.
An informative and practical guide for adults who want to be successful storytellers.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)