The Gift of Story

Exploring the Affective Side of the Reading Life

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The Gift of Story explores the value of sharing stories in ways that speak to our hearts and connect learning communities. It grounds this affective work in a discussion of five affective elements of story―healer, inspiration, clarifier, compassion, and connector―and includes narrative discussions, rationale, and contributions from influential educators and children’s book creators along with tons of book recommendations and suggestions for direct classroom and library connections.

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When we share our hearts through story, we inspire others to think more deeply about their own hearts and how stories connect us all. In this book of the heart, teacher, librarian, book lover, and story ambassador, John Schu, known to reading communities all over as Mr. Schu, invites readers to consider literacy beyond its academic benefits, highlighting the ways story speaks to our hearts and brings us together.

Presented through a study of five affective elements—healer, inspiration, clarifier, compassion, and connectorThe Gift of Story explores how the universal truths found in stories can change us, inspire us, connect us to others, answer our deepest questions, and help us heal. Along the way, readers will encounter insightful contributions from educators, children’s writers, and illustrators, as well as recommendations for sharing the gift of story with learning communities including: treasured book suggestions that stir reflection, engaging tips for celebrating literacy, and heart-growing applications to lift classroom and library practices.

The Gift of Story is a celebration of the ways we define, revise, and imagine ourselves through literacy; a celebration of the way we connect to others and build community through reading; a celebration of children, authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians, books, and readers; and, ultimately, a celebration of hearts and the stories they hold dear.

About the Author(s)

John Schu has made a career out of advocating for the people and things he cares about most: kids, books, and the people that connect them. John is a children’s book author, part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, and the children’s librarian for Bookelicious. His greatest joy is sharing his love of reading with countless educators and students around the world.


Table of Contents

Foreword by Katherine Applegate

A Note from John

Chapter 1: Book of Your Heart

Chapter 2: Story as Healer

Chapter 3: Story as Inspiration

Chapter 4: Story as Clarifier

Chapter 5: Story as Compassion

Chapter 6: Story as Connector

The Story Continues . . .


Children’s Literature Bibliography

Professional Bibliography



Product Details

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Media: 184 pp/paper
Year: 2022
Item No: 1208
ISBN: 978-1-62531-208-2
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Hashtag: #StoryIs #GiftofStory