by Nancy Mellon
Hawthorn Press, 2000
ISBN – 1-903458-08-0
Book Reviews by Katrina Kenison and Thomas Moore
Nancy Mellon invites us to liberate the inner storyteller who resides within each one of us. In this wise and wonderful book, she provides all the tools parents and teachers need to engage in this practical, magical art:.. how to create a listening space, how to use the events and rhythms of the day, how to make up new stories and how to transform old ones, how to play with stories, how to teach with them, how to use stories to support our lifelong journeys of growth and transformation, and much more. Here is a treasure trove for professionals and rank beginners — a book borne of years of hands-on experience with parents and children, written from the heart and stirring to the soul. She inspires us to become more conscious human beings, in touch with our deepest selves and with the world around us.
Katrina Kenison, editor for many years of Best American Short Stories Author of Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry (Warner 2000)
…I’m delighted with this new book by Nancy Mellon on storytelling for parents… She helps… us see how family stories can have classic themes and forms. She understands the importance of voice and articulation, but she doesn’t offer rules. I think her book will give parents guidance and courage to trust their imaginations and to explore certain simple structural motifs common to great stories and the simple ones that arrive on a parent’s lips on an ordinary evening. The last thing we parents need is a rule book for storytelling. What we can use is some gentle encouragement to adopt the persona of storyteller. I appreciate Nancy Mellon’s way of giving us good ideas without making us feel that we are now bound to certain expectations of what is right and proper. Once the pleasure and personal inventiveness leave the process, we’ve lost the heart and soul of this kind of storytelling. The parent who is a storyteller enters a tradition that looks simple but is actually complex and serious. Family storytelling is more than kid’s stuff. Its pleasures are fully adult for the storyteller. All of this Nancy Mellon describes with a good storyteller’s sensitivity. She also mentions the obstacles that parents run into as they try to tell stories. At the deepest level of experience, our lives are made up of story fragments and images in search of a coherent narrative. We find meaning in those stories. The deeper we go into them, the deeper the place from which we live. It follows, I would say, that storytelling is the primary task of the parent. Making stories honest, attractive and appropriate for children is an inviting task. …Let Nancy Mellon teach you to be a storyteller and a discoverer, for you and your children, of worlds that truly make a difference.
Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul (Harpercollins 2000)