The Stories Children Tell

Making Sense Of The Narratives Of Childhood

Susan Engel

Henry Holt and Co.

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Whether presenting their versions of real events or making up tales of adventure and discovery, children enchant us with their stories. But the value of those stories goes beyond their charm. Storytelling is an essential form through which children interpret their own experiences and communicate their view of the world. Each narrative presented by a child is a brushstroke on an evolving self-portrait – a self-portrait the child can reflect on, refer to, and revise.

In The Stories Children Tell, developmental psychologist Susan Engels examines the methods and meanings of children’s narratives. She offers a fascinating look at one of the most exciting areas in modern psychology and education.

What is really going on when a child tells or writes a story? Engel’s insights into this provocative question are drawn from the latest research findings and dozens of actual children’s tales – compelling, funny, sometimes disturbing stories often of unexpected richness and beauty.

In The Stories Children Tell, Susan Engel examines:

  • the different functions of storytelling

  • the way the storytelling process changes as children develop

  • the contributions of parents and peers to storytelling

  • the different types of stories children tell

  • the development of a child’s narrative voice

  • the best way of nurturing a child’s storytelling skills

Throughout these discussions, Engel presents compelling evidence for what is perhaps her most intriguing idea: that in constructing stories, children are constructing themselves.

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The Stories Children Tell
1The World of Children's StoriesEvery work is a stepping stone to a personal confession.You are Running River, and I am Hawk Eye. Let's say you were sitting in the longhouse, and I heard a bear coming up. So I jumped out from behind a tree, and I speared that bear with my tomahawk. And then you cooked the meat over the fire. Then Chief Sitting Bull played on the drum and we had a ceremony. And I was the hero because I killed the bear. And I got an extra feather for my headdress.Every story a child tells, acts out through play, or writes contributes to a self-portrait--a

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About the Author

Susan Engel

Susan Engel, currently a visiting professor of psychology at Williams College, has taught at all levels, from prekindergarten through college. In her research and writing, she has focused on children's language and creative processes and the meaning of their stories. She lives with her husband and three children in New Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Susan Engel

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The Stories Children Tell
Making Sense Of The Narratives Of Childhood
Susan Engel

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
January 1995
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466813137
ISBN10: 146681313X
250 pages
$7.99
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Henry Holt and Co.

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