cover image I Am a Story

I Am a Story

Dan Yaccarino. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-241106-8

In understated words and bold cartoons, Yaccarino (Billy and Goat at the State Fair) traces storytelling from humanity’s earliest days to the present. Writing in the voice of story itself, he portrays evolving methods of conveying stories, printed and otherwise, while illuminating the pivotal roles they have played across eras and cultures. The opening lines (“I am a story. I was told around a campfire”) accompany an image of a group of primitive humans gathered around a roaring fire, the storyteller’s arms aloft as outlines of zodiac figures float in the night sky above. Yaccarino’s sparse narrative avoids historical specifics while including enough details to make explicit the numerous ways stories can be told, including hieroglyphics, medieval tapestries, theater, radio, film, and other technologies. Scenes of book burnings and protests text speak strongly to the power of words, along with the more positive imagery. Yaccarino’s global scope, as well as a contemporary campfire scene that brings the book full circle, cements the idea that the stories we share are a profound source of human connection. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.)