by Evan Turk
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016
Ancient storytellers draw in readers one scene, one suspense at a time; so enthralled are the listeners, that they barely notice they are under the storyteller’s spell.
The Storyteller does what a good storyteller does, wraps one story inside another, inside another and always leaves you wanting for more—the true magic of a storyteller.
This story is about a boy who lives in the Moroccan deserts and finds himself on the doorway of death, when he meets an ancient, long forgotten storyteller. The storyteller charms the boy with stories of a glorious blue bird and rich, blue miraculous yarns. That night the sandstorm announces he will return at sundown take over the kingdom. Inspired, the boy offers to tell him a story, and he repeats the storyteller’s story, stretching the story out two nights. In that time, the boy gathers water sellers and through his own ingenuity, finds a way to save the city.
In an oversized format dressed in Moroccan colors and arts, readers will eagerly be swept off to another land in the magic of the storyteller.
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The Table Where Rich People Sit
Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Peter Parnall
Aladdin Picture Books, 1998
Poet Byrd Baylor lives in Arizona and writes in open verse of the vastness of its deserts and mountains. She has several books, my favorites being the empowering, “I’m in Charge of Celebrations,” and eye-opening, “The Table Where Rich People Sit”—or whichever book of hers I’ve read last!
She writes of the inner spirit and how it is influenced by the land around us. She challenges our values, insisting there are other ways to exist in and enjoy the world. I’ve read “The Table Where Rich People Sit” to adults and they are amazed it was meant for a children’s book, for it speaks to their adult beliefs; they hear her message questioning what brings value and worth to our lives. Many of Baylor’s books are illustrated by Peter Parnall, giving a distinct look to her collection.
The Other Way to Listen, 1997
I’m In Charge of Celebrations, 1995
Desert Voices, 1993
Your Own Best Secret Place, 1991
The Desert is Theirs, 1987
Hawk, I’m Your Brother, 1986
The Way to Start a Day, 1986
Everybody Needs a Rock, 1985
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