Review of Margaret Reed MacDonald’s New Book–by Joan Leotta
Teaching with Story
Classroom Connections to Storytelling
by Margaret Read MacDonald
Jennifer MacDonald Whitman
Nathaniel Forrest Whitman
August House $24.95
You can judge this book by its cover because it delivers exactly what it promises and the names on the cover provide a pedigree of storytelling that is beyond compare and lives up to its reputation within the covers of this slim volume.
I could use dozens of adjectives to describe how this book will enrich your storytelling in the classroom (or as a professional, your ability to craft programs and grant requests that will cleave to current core content requirements. But basically there is not much more to say than the simple statement that this book does it all, does it well, and teaches what it does by example within the book and by example in its very writing.
Margaret Read MacDonald is one of the premiere folklorists and storytellers of our time. She is equally at home on stage and with her pen, She shares her story finds and technique tips generously. Her coauthors in this book are a testament to that skill and her example. Jennifer is her daughter and Nathanial, her son-in-law. Both of them are teachers. So, MacDonald brings her years of experience as a librarian, writer and teller on stage and in classrooms and joins it with two teachers whose love of story and sharing story come from her example. They contribute their expertise in the daily life of a classroom and curriculum. The combination is electrifying. I found myself wanting to underline every other sentence. It’s a book to read, to mark for future references, to enjoy.
The structure of the book, as well, teaches, It starts with a story–Grandfather Bear is Hungry, and uses the thread of that story’s lessons throughout the book’s chapters on Community, Character, , Communication , Curriculum and Cultural Development, and beyond. In addition, she gives us other stories to share and teaches how we can find our own stories to share. This is a book that belongs in the hands and heart of everyone who loves a good story–parents, teachers, librarians, professional story performers. Have I left anyone out? If so, loan your copy of the book to them. They will enjoy it too.
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