The Storyteller


Book Information

Reader Personality Type
Atheneum 2016
  • Language Arts Curriculum
  • Social Studies Curriculum

"When a storyteller dies, a library burns."---old Moroccan saying

"Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the fertile kingdom of Morocco formed near the edge of the great, dry Sahara."  The colors, the patterns, the exotic images of Morocco vibrate through the pages of this epic story.  Generations of storytellers  passed down their tales sitting near the Great Fountain.  Those stories are stirring and slowly coming back to life.

Once upon a time life became easier in the kingdom of Morocco and "the people forgot their fear of the desert, forgot the fountains and the storytellers."   On this day, a thirsty young boy comes into the Great Square to search for water.  No one has any water to share. the last water-seller tells him, "Take one of my brass cups.  If you find water, you can drink and share it with others."

The boy goes in search of water to put into his brass cup. On his way home he meets a wizened old man who tells him the story of the great blue bird who lives in the courtyard.  This story leads to a series of stories each that connect to each other and revealing the story of the Miraculous Yarn called the Endless Drought.

This is a story of the Saharan wind, of the djinn, of the brass cup that mysteriously fills itself with water. It's a story that celebrates the power of storytelling and our need for storytelling.

Morocco's public storytellers have preserved the oral tradition of storytelling for nearly one thousand years.  Just as the young boy searches for the water he cannot live without, so we need our stories.

Here is the power of story shared through mysterious, exotic, gorgeous illustrations that evoke a sense of adventure, a sense of the unknown past and a sense of connection that holds our cultures steady and reminds us of our roots and our heritage.

48 pages           978-1481435185             Ages 6-10

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,


"From Ezra Jack Keats 2015 New Illustrator Honor recipient Evan Turk comes his debut work as author-illustrator: an original folktale that celebrates the power of stories and storytelling.

Long, long ago, like a pearl around a grain of sand, the Kingdom of Morocco formed at the edge of the great, dry Sahara. It had fountains of cool, refreshing water to quench the thirst of the desert, and storytellers to bring the people together.

But as the kingdom grew, the people forgot the dangers of the desert, and they forgot about the storytellers, too. All but one young boy, who came to the Great Square for a drink and found something that quenched his thirst even better: wonderful stories. As he listened to the last storyteller recount the Endless Drought, and the Glorious Blue Water Bird, he discovered the power of a tale well told.

Acclaimed illustrator Evan Turk has created a stunning multidimensional story within a story that will captivate the imagination and inspire a new generation of young storytellers."--from the publisher

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