I Am A Story

I am a Story book cover

This picture book tells the basic evolution of stories beginning with ancient oral traditions up through modern digital reading.

I am a Story
by Dan Yaccarino
Harper, 2016
ISBN 978-0-06-241106-8
Picture book, fiction
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Interest Level: K-3; Reading Level: 3.2
5 out of 5 stars

On the surface, this book tracks the evolution of storytelling from the beginning oral traditions to modern times. Dan Yaccarino covers cave painting, tapestries, invention of the printing press, and digital reading on tables and smart phones. I can see this book being a nice opening read for a lesson on ancient storytelling traditions like folktales and fairy tales.

For me, what makes the story stand out as a 5 star read are some of the extras that Yaccarino has included. He has included the tradition of weaving stories into tapestries, which is not something that is known by most children. I also like how he shows that private libraries preceded public libraries, which opened up reading and education to everyone. He even includes bookmobiles and Free Little Libraries. He mentions censorship, book banning, and book burning, which leads up to his main theme — that stories will live forever.

Using a colorful palette, Yaccarino’s ink on vellum illustrations include some images that are woven throughout the pages and are fun to search for as you read. Children will enjoy finding the red bird that can be found on each page. Stars and the moon are also a constant recurring image. In fact, the story comes full-circle as you compare the constellations that are the subject of the stories around the first campfire with the constellations in the story the modern family is telling around the fire at the end of the story.

This is a great book to read to children in lower elementary grades. It is basic enough to entertain young children, but introduces some interesting times in history that could be explored further with older children. Because it mentions censorship, this would make a good introduction to Banned Books Week in September.

I am a Story book trailer:

For more information on Banned Books Week: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

For more information on Little Free Libraries: https://littlefreelibrary.org/

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