The Storyteller

Illustrated by Evan Turk
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About The Book

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.

About The Author

Phoograph (c) by Veronica Lawlor

Evan Turk is an Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning illustrator, author, and animator. He is the author/illustrator of The Storyteller and Heartbeat and the illustrator of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book, Grandfather Gandhi, and its companion Be the Change. Originally from Colorado, Evan now lives in the Hudson River Valley with his husband and two cats. He is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and continues his studies as a member of Dalvero Academy. Visit him at EvanTurk.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (June 2016)
  • Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481435185
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® AD870L

Raves and Reviews

* “The art of storytelling is celebrated as a life-giving force in this enthralling picture book. . . .Original storytelling with the feel of the best folklore.”

– Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Visually stunning with a storyline to match, Turk is beginning to make good on his talents. This is a man with storytelling in his blood and bones. Our children reap the rewards. A can’t miss book.”

– Betsy Bird, Fuse #8 blog

* “Turk combines primitive sketches and simple patterns to create sophisticated multimedia spreads. Fountains of blue pour from the mouths of storytellers, cementing the message that stories,like water, are life sustaining. The revelation of the final narrator brings this multifaceted tale to satisfying closure.”

– Publishers Weekly, starred review

* “Using age-old literary elements and a loose, contemporary art style filled with symbolism, Turk successfully melds two equally important concerns of our time—the need to keep storytelling alive and the need to protect and conserve our drinking water. . . . This lush and lovely title is highly recommended.”

– School Library Journal, starred review

*“Rich illustrations rendered in watercolor, ink, and pencil engulf the pages with desert golds and deep indigo, blending folk-art and contemporary styles. .. Turk’s layered ode to storytelling’s magic begs to be shared aloud with a group . . . [in] this beautiful, original folktale.”

– Booklist, starred review

“A veritable nesting doll of a narrative . . . this story about the power of story is a call for reconnection with tradition, oral and otherwise. Turk’s illustrations transport the reader to a Morocco of the past and present, capturing the timelessness of the country juxtaposed against the cautionary message about disappearing customs.”

– BCCB

Awards and Honors

  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
  • Aesop Accolade
  • Texas Bluebonnet Master List
  • Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award (NY)
  • Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Multicultural Books List
  • Children's Africana Book Award

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Evan Turk