I Am a Story

illus. by Dan Yaccarino. 40p. HarperCollins. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062411068. POP
PreS-Gr 3—This picture book imagines the story of story—from the story's point of view. Yaccarino's characteristic bright, stylized illustrations take readers from an ancient campfire to a modern-day one, making key stops along the way as the tale proudly narrates through the page turns. "I am a story. I was told around a campfire, then painted on cave walls. I was carved onto clay tablets and told in pictures." Together words and illustrations capture a broad range of storytelling methods and platforms: art, writing, theater, radio, television, film, computer, and more. The book also subtly tackles the struggles of access as story prevails through time, contrasting wealthy private libraries with public libraries and showing failed censorship attempts. Coming full circle, the book closes as it started, with stories around a campfire—this time with a modern-day family under the constellations that were represented in the beginning by pictures in the sky.
VERDICT A simply told but powerful celebration of the importance of story as well as a jumping-off point for more in-depth study of communication through history. An excellent choice for classroom discussions.

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