PROFESSIONAL READING

Engaging Community Through Storytelling: Library and Community Programming

NORFOLK, Sherry & . 170p. bibliog. illus. index. photos. Libraries Unlimited/Teacher Ideas. Jul. 2017. Tr $50. ISBN 9781440850691.
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This collection of insightful essays focuses on storytelling as a way to explore different backgrounds and identities and to illustrate how stories are a tool to connect communities and give those who are unheard or silenced a voice. Each chapter looks at different perspectives: those of intercultural understanding, those of our elders, those of cultural pride, those of all ages, and those of the disenfranchised. Contributors share in detail the process of developing, promoting, celebrating, and evaluating programs such as festivals, workshops, and classes. The entries offer examples of interfaith, intergenerational, intercultural, and social justice—oriented programs. However, at times the stories and experiences of indigenous people and people of color are marginalized. Some tales are grouped into, for instance, "multicultural folktales" or "immigrant stories"—a categorization scheme that seems aimed at a primarily white audience. The chapter "Voices of Cultural Pride" uses the insensitive term illegal immigrants, which is at odds with the book's message of empathy and understanding. A greater emphasis on projects led by indigenous people and people of color, as well as the inclusion of views of cultural insiders, would have enhanced this resource.
VERDICT Despite some issues, this title will inspire readers to develop their own community-building storytelling projects.

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