REVIEW: Crash Course in Storytelling

Crash Course in Storytelling by Kendall Haven & MaryGay Ducey

Post number four is for my first required book of the semester, Crash Course in Storytelling by Kendall Haven & MaryGay Ducey, which was one of four required textbooks for my Storytelling course. I’m not going to bother with a spoiler space for this because it’s a textbook/guide for librarians who want to start incorporating storytelling into their library activities, so it’s not like I’m going to spoil a plot or anything.

Anyway, this book is obviously very “pro” storytelling, and mentions numerous times that people are already storytellers of some sort, since telling stories (i.e. relaying something that’s happened, as opposed to lying) is part of our normal everyday communication. Just as obviously, this book spends numerous pages extolling the virtues of storytelling, including quoting several studies that point out that children tend to remember stories that are told to them much better than ones that are read to them. (This made me wonder if there are also studies that say the opposite. I can’t imagine anyone would really be that against storytelling that they would bother, but who knows?)

The rest of the book is full of some how-tos and tips for the novice storyteller, including dos and don’ts. Some of the tips, like laying out the characters, motives, main events, etc., when you’re planning the story you’re going to tell were particularly helpful, as were what you should do if you experience a brain cramp and can’t remember what comes next. As someone who is completely freaking out about the idea of telling a story to the rest of my classmates, this book was a good starting point. Here’s hoping telling my first story is really as painless as they’re making it out to be!

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