Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book

Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book

by Pete Seeger, Paul DuBois Jacobs

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Folk icon Pete Seeger carries on the storytelling tradition by teaching parents old and new classics to pass on to their children.

For more than fifty years, Pete Seeger has been sharing his songs and stories with the world. Now in this wonderful collection of stories, ideas, and music, he shows how anyone-grandparents, parents, teachers-can start a storytelling


Folk icon Pete Seeger carries on the storytelling tradition by teaching parents old and new classics to pass on to their children.

For more than fifty years, Pete Seeger has been sharing his songs and stories with the world. Now in this wonderful collection of stories, ideas, and music, he shows how anyone-grandparents, parents, teachers-can start a storytelling tradition of their own. In Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book, he and Paul Jacobs include Pete's own family stories, tales from America's past,
new versions of familiar legends, and stories based on Pete's favorite songs, such as "Abiyoyo." And, in keeping with the theme that a story never really ends-in fact it gets better each time it is told-the book sends the reader away with wonderful story openers to get started. With suggestions on how to personalize the stories, this is not only a valuable resource for any classroom or household but a precious, intimate gift from one of America's most beloved musicians.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Wonderful fun for everyone."-The New York Times Book Review

Valuable for parents, teachers, camp counselors, and librarians, this cozy collection will not only be a ready resource but also may encourage novice storytellers to strike out on their own."-Booklist

Every page in Storytelling is delightful. A good reminder that storytelling is a proven method of imparting wisdom."-Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Barnes & Noble, Inc.
For half a century now, Grammy Award-winning Pete Seeger has been hammering out freedom and folksongs all over this land. In this festive book, story-weaver Seeger shares his favorite original stories and instructs us how to gather our own. Seeger's tales range from sequences from the lives of Rosa parks and George Washington to a riveting reprise of Jonah and the Whale. Generations of fun.
Wonderful fun for everyone.
New York Times Book Review
Wonderful fun for everyone.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Claiming that America is becoming "a nation of spectators" blind to their own folklore, Seeger presents this earnest collection to catalyze our collective imagination and resuscitate the country's oral tradition. The 80-year-old singer/songwriter/activist smartly anticipates that his audience (modern, pressed-for-time parents) will be daunted, so he offers helpful, if commonsensical, advice: start with something familiar (folktales, the Bible, Shakespeare), do not worry about structure or length and be spontaneous. "What's important is to create an atmosphere of sharing," he rightly observes in the introduction. "Kids are more interested in you than the plot." With the help of freelance writer and poet DuBois Jacobs, Seeger recounts more than 25 of his favorite tales in their entirety--some from American history ("The Emancipation Proclamation"), others from late-19th- and early-20th-century rounds and lullabies ("Dick Whittington and His Cat"), as well as selections from Seeger's and his father's oeuvres ("The Intelligent Lightbulbs"). All of them resonate with the balladeer's worldly voice and, of course, have a moral--usually about the power of music or the importance of hard work--that children will be able to grasp and apply to real life. In the case of stories based on traditional songs (e.g., "Sam, the Whaler" goes along with the 19th-century whaling song, "The Hudson Whalers"), Seeger has also reproduced a few bars of music. A nice touch is chapter six, the closing section, which consists solely of story beginnings that Seeger urges readers to build on. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
School Library Journal
Seeger's musical concerts may be better known than his storytelling, but, in truth, his musical lyrics tell stories: of family, of history, of injustice, of social movements, and/or are just plain fun. Librarians, parents, grandparents, and school and Sunday-school teachers will find encouragement here to try their wings and allow their creative imaginations to develop into shaping songs and stories. Seeger often infuses his original stories and retellings of known tales with messages for making the world a better place. He likes to stretch many of his stories toward the outlandish or illogical, yet they hold the central core of truth and get the point across. Margaret Read MacDonald's The Storyteller's Start-Up Book (August House, 1993) is a more serious, straightforward, and indispensable guide for beginning tellers. The book gives a jump start to the imagination and makes a nice addition to the collection.-Judy Sokoll, Florida Storytelling Association, Naples Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
American folksinger Seeger culls from his half century of performing around the world to present a medley of tales, ideas, and music. He also includes suggestions for personalizing the tales and insight into the process of storytelling to encourage readers to begin their own storytelling tradition. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
0.65(w) x 8.50(h) x 5.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Marge Piercy
This is a refreshing and enjoyable series of stories for parents to read to their children with suggestions for embellishing and tailoring the stories to the child and to their families. It is a book that parents can use without fear of offending their own sensibilities or those of their children and that's a relief; a perfect bedtime book.
Marion Wright Edelman
Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book is a gift to anyone who has ever been asked to tell a child a story. With wise and entertaining examples this warm and loving man teaches us to draw on our own experiences, values, and imaginations to create stories that will captivate our children.
— (Marion Wright Edelman, President, The Children's Defense Fund)
Studs Turkel
Though Pete Seeger is celebrated as 'America's Tuning Fork' and the best ad hoc choral director in the land (how he induces audiences to sing out is a wonder), he is a masterly storyteller. In this endearing book he transmutes classic folk tales into today's idioms and they become stories born again. A lovely book for the elders as well as for the young.

Meet the Author

Pete Seeger, a Grammy Award winner as well as the recipient of the N.E.A. National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors, has performed all over the world for audiences of all ages. His internationally recognized songs include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Turn, Turn, Turn." He lives in Beacon, New York, with his wife of over fifty years, Toshi Seeger.

Paul DuBois Jacobs is a freelance writer and poet. He earned an M.F.A. from the University of Virginia, where he was the recipient of the Henry Hoyns Graduate Creative Writing Fellowship. Paul's grandfather co-wrote a number of songs with Pete Seeger which led Paul to collaborate with Pete on Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book. He lives in Brooklyn.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
May 3, 1919
Date of Death:
January 27, 2014
Place of Birth:
Patterson, NY
Place of Death:
New York City, NY

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