Story Preservation Initiative®

Preserving the Stories of Our Lives by capturing the voices, words, and meanderings of artists, scientists, writers, poets, musicians, and eyewitnesses to history. Listen, learn, and be amazed! WEB: www.storypreservation.org

Audio Up! Eben Bayer – Are Mushrooms the New Plastic?

Click on links below to listen to Eben’s story.

Eben Bayer is the co-founder of Ecovative Design. He is a mover and a shaker in the field of biotechnology, using natural materials to solve important environmental challenges. Named one of Forbes 30-Under-30, Bayer and his Ecovative team have successfully developed a process that uses mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, to grow materials that replace plastics, with a focus on plastic packaging material.

Eben is an advocate for disruptive technology, defined as “one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.” And there is no better place to start the thinking process behind disruptive technology than with young people.

SPI recorded Eben’s story in late August 2019 with upload to SPI’s grades 4-12 Learning Lab coming soon!

Bayer, who grew up working on his family’s Vermont farm, is a pioneer in leveraging mycelium—”nature’s glue”—in mushroom materials to drive sustainable innovation in the industrial sector. Using biology to upgrade existing products and processes, Ecovative has commercialized products into multiple industries including a formaldehyde-free core for engineered wood & insulation; eco-friendly furniture; and home compostable protective packaging, as well as GIY (grow-it-yourself) materials for innovators, students, and educators.

For more, go to: www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative.   Details can be found on our website.  Donate = ❤  (-:

 

 

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This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.

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SPI’s new K-3 Storytelling Project.

 

For this project, SPI is working in collaboration with master storyteller, Odds Bodkin to bring his timeless fictional stories, including fairy tales, myths, and folklore into K-3 classrooms.

For more than 40 years, Odds has enchanted his listeners with tales of magic and make-believe, complete with character voices, sound effects, and music. The project is designed to foster social and emotional learning and English language literacy.

Odds is a heavy-hitter! He has been called “a consummate storyteller” by The New York Times for his shows at Lincoln Center. He has performed at the White House and has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival. Museums, such as the Peabody-Essex Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Sackler Museum at Harvard, and the Portland Art Museum have hired him to tell stories about works in their collections. His recordings and books have won Parents’ Choice, Indie, Golden Headset, Storytelling World, Pick of the Lists, Editors’ Choice and Dove awards.

Click on link below to listen to Odds talk about the SPI Storytelling Project.

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SPI supplements Odds’ stories with recommended reading materials, hyperlinks to related sites, and projects developed by Story Preservation Initiative. This is all designed to help young people connect what they are hearing to universal concepts, their own life experience, different cultures and customs, and other stories that they have heard or read. But most of all, it’s designed to instill in kids a love of story, which translates in later years to a love of reading!

Following Odds’ telling of the classic African folktale, The Name of the Tree, students can engage in a class-wide mural making activity. This is just one of a host of hands-on, creative, collaborative projects in the K-3 Lab.

Storytelling and reading aloud to young children is the foundation for literacy development.  It is the single most important activity for later reading success.

More?  Go to:  www.storypreservation.org

SPI is a 501c3 public charity.  Consider making a tax-free donation (details on our website)  and / or supporting us on Amazon Smile (although we’d much prefer you shop locally and support small businesses!)   Donate = ❤  (-:

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This project was made possible with funding from the Frances R. Dewing Foundation, Port Townsend, WA.

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AUDIO UP! Ben Kilham – In the Company of Bears

Click on links below to listen to Ben’s story.

Ben Kilham is a bear biologist who, for decades, has “studied wild black bears in a vast tract of Northern New Hampshire woodlands. At times, he has also taken in orphaned infants–feeding them, walking them through the forest for months to help them decipher their natural world, and eventually reintroducing them back into the wild. Once free, the orphaned bears still regard him as their mother. One of these bears, now a near 20-year-old female, has given him extraordinary access to her daily life, opening a rare window into how she and the wild bears she lives among carry out their daily lives, raise their young, and communicate. Kilham’s unique findings now interest bear researchers worldwide.”

His dedication to black bears has made him such an expert that China asked for his help with the giant panda, a collaboration that inspired the recently released documentary “Pandas.”

Ben’s work with bears, however, is just part of his story. Ben is dyslexic, which, for years, kept him from pursuing an advanced degree. As a result, his work and rare insights into the social and emotional lives of bears went largely unpublished. With the support of wildlife preservationist George Schaller (whose story is also included in the Story Preservation 4-12 Learning Lab), Ben enrolled in a doctorate program at Drexel University where he completed his course of study and now holds a Ph.D in Environmental Science. In a review written about In the Company of Bears, Brock and Fernette Eide, authors of The Dyslexic Advantage write, “Kilham perfectly exemplifies how much the world has to gain from the exceptional insights of dyslexic individuals, who often possess a special talent for finding order hidden in the complex patterns of the real world.”

SPI recorded Ben’s story in late July 2019 with upload to SPI’s grades 4-12 Learning Lab later this fall.

 

For more, go to: www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative.   Details can be found on our website.  Donate = ❤  (-:

 

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This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.

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AUDIO UP!!! Sherri Mason – Leading the Charge on Microplastics

Click on links below to listen to Sherri’s story.

Story Preservation recorded the personal narrative of Dr. Sherri A. “Sam” Mason on July 22nd on the campus of Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont.

While there has been much study and media attention focused on the spread of microplastics into our oceans, Sam has emerged as a leader in the small but growing study of their affects on lakes and rivers far from the coasts.

In 2018, The Heinz Family Foundation named Dr. Sherri Mason as the recipient of the prestigious 23rd Heinz Award in the Public Policy category. She is recognized for her groundbreaking research identifying the presence of microbeads and microfibers in fresh water, and for raising awareness of the potential impact of microplastics and associated contaminants on the food chain and human health, resulting in state, federal and international policy change.

Her work has drawn international attention to the threats posed by microplastics in freshwater and led to the enactment of the federal Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. Other countries are following suit. The Canadian and New Zealand governments banned microbeads in early 2018, and the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries are rolling out bans on microbead-laden products over the next two years. To date, 448 brands from 119 different manufacturers have promised to remove plastic microbeads from their products.

Dr. Mason is also using her expertise to expand her focus to include the presence of microplastics in drinking water. In March 2018, the results of a study conducted by Dr. Mason analyzed bottled water from nine countries — the U.S., China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Lebanon, Kenya and Thailand — and found that 93 percent showed some contamination from microplastics, or plastic debris less than one millimeter in length. Microplastics have also been found in samples of sea salt, freshwater sediment and even in air samples.

She currently serves in the role of Sustainability Coordinator at Penn State University, Behrend.

For more, go to http://www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative.   Details can be found on our website.

 

INTRO TO RECORDING:

PLASTIC IS EVERYWHERE:

MICROBEADS AND MICROFIBERS:

LEGISLATION:

TAP AND BOTTLED WATER STUDIES:

WHY WE NEED MORE SCIENTISTS:

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This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.

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Ashley Bryan ⎥ Opening Paths to Exploration

A story of courage, ethnicity, generosity, and inspiration.

 

AshleyBryan

CLICK ON LINKS BELOW TO LISTEN TO ASHLEY’S RECORDING. 

Renowned for the extraordinary range and depth of his talent, Ashley Bryan is an artist, a writer, a poet, an anthologist, a storyteller, and a noted scholar of African and African American folklore.

His children’s books are full of love – all embracing, inspiring, warm, colorful, joyous, and bursting with song. He works largely with Black African-American poetry and spirituals.

Ashley hopes that his work with African tales will be like “a tender bridge” connecting past to present, reaching across distances of time and space. Ashley’s numerous awards and honors include the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration; six Coretta Scott King Honors; the Arbuthnot Prize, one of the highest honors in children’s literature; and a Fulbright Scholarship.

His poetry and paintings have and continue to influence a whole generation of children.

Born in 1923 in Harlem to West Indies immigrants, Bryan’s childhood was filled with books, music, and art, even though resources tended to be scarce during the Great Depression. Second of six children, Bryan cannot remember a time when he was not drawing or painting.

One of Ashley Bryan's Sea Glass stained glass windows.

One of Ashley Bryan’s Sea Glass windows.

His first memories were of his parents sending him to Government run WPA classes which were free, and where he learned to draw, paint and play musical instruments. Ashley’s mother sang and his father played the piano.

After graduating from high school, he applied for a scholarship at a prominent art institution, but was essentially told that a scholarship would not be wasted on a colored person. Under the guidance of his high school teachers, Bryan then applied and was accepted into New York’s prestigious Cooper Union Art School. Two years at Cooper Union and Ashley was drafted into the army to serve in World War II. At the age of nineteen, as a part of the fleet that sailed to Normandy for the surprise invasion, Bryan drew whenever he could, keeping a sketch pad and art supplies in his gas mask.

From there, Bryan went on to study philosophy at Columbia University to, as he says, “understand war.”  He received a Fulbright scholarship to study art in Europe, and became the head of the art department at Dartmouth College.

Ashley's home, where the door is always open.

Ashley’s home, where the door is always open.

 

 

Ashley Bryan lives on Little Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine.

The above copy is taken from numerous sources, including Wikipedia, Reading Rockets, and Simon and Schuster author profiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRACK ONE:  INTRO TO RECORDING – 

TRACK TWO: EARLY YEARS IN THE BRONX – 

TRACK THREE: THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY – 

TRACK FOUR: WORLD WAR II – 

TRACK FIVE:  THE ALL-WHITE WORLD OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS – 

TRACK SIX: AFRICAN FOLK TALES – 

TRACK SEVEN: AFRICAN SPIRITUALS – 

 

 

The transcription from the first section of our interview follows: 

 

Growing Up in the Bronx / Discovering the Importance of Community

I was born in New York City on July 13, 1923 of immigrant parents who had come from Antigua in the West Indies. They had six children; I was the second. I was raised in the Bronx during the Depression years. My parents provided food, clothes, and shelter but they couldn’t afford other things.

At that time there was the WPA, the Works Progress Administration. They offered free art and free music classes for communities throughout the country. My parents sent the six of us to all the things that were free that would help us to develop ourselves creatively. We worked with whatever materials we could find to recreate them, to make something of them — things that we would find on the streets – including fabrics and things from upholstery stores. My sister and I would bring them home and rework them into quilts, into skirts and jackets. We were always working with castoff materials, recreating them, bringing them into another form of life, which is a pattern that has stayed with me through life.

The good thing about growing up in tenement apartments was that we knew everyone in the house. Everyone looked after the other. My parents took care of the elders in the house. In good weather people sat out on the streets. They would bring their instruments, their music, what they would drink in the warm weather. They always had an eye out for the children. It was a different world in the 1930’s growing up in the city, which was broken down into small communities. It was that sense of community, which I’ve carried through life, which followed me to these islands off the coast of Maine. That’s what helped me decide that this would become my year-round home, because the community that I found here reminded of my New York City tenement apartment.

 

Cooper Union and Columbia University

My father was a printer but when he came to the United States, being a black man, all he was offered was a mop and broom. My dad never talked about racism. He simply said, “I knew I wasn’t going to last long in a job like that.” So, he went to the British Consulate and got a certificate from them stating that I had served in His Majesty’s Army and that he had worked as an apprentice printer as a child. That gave him an entrance into a downtown printing plant and that’s where he worked. He said it gave him a chance to be expressive in his work. And he was always bringing home extra papers from work. So I had these beautiful papers to work with.

I also had the good fortune of having wonderful teachers in elementary school. I had all white teachers throughout elementary, junior high, and high school. They all encouraged me. They always recognized my talent and gave me the materials that I needed to keep growing in my love of art.

In high school I joined the Art Club and, on graduation, I had the help of my teachers to prepare a very strong portfolio. Before graduating, they gave me the list of art schools in New York City to go to. So I went from art school to art school and was told – and this is New York City – “this is the best portfolio we have seen, but it would be a waste to give a scholarship to a colored person.” When I came back to the high school and told that to my teachers, they said, “Ashley, come back and take a post-graduate course.” They knew I was black, I knew I was black, and there was no problem. It didn’t occur to them that I would need anything beyond my talents. So they said, come back, take a post-graduate course, work on your portfolio, and in the summer take the exam for the Cooper Union School of Art and Engineering. They do not see you there. So, that summer I took the exam. At that time, in 1940, there were three exercises: one in drawing, one in sculpture, and one in architecture.

When you finished those exercises, you put your work on a tray with all the information of who you are on the platform of the Great Hall. It’s a very famous hall, where all of our presidents have lectured, from the earliest time. It was founded in1850 for the working young men and women of the country, primarily for young women working in all aspects of the garment trade and for young men in engineering, as Peter Cooper was an outstanding engineer. So, I took the exams, I put it on my tray and left. Then professors looked over all of the work, and they selected those they wanted for admission to the Cooper Union. I was fortunate in being one of them. I was the only black in my class, but I had grown up in a mixed community of French, German, Italian, and Irish.   I became close friends with the students there. We have followed each other through life. The very few, who at ninety, are still alive, I’m still very close to.

 

Interrelationships

I was never a loner. I was always with others. I was alone in my art, creating my art. All artists and composers, in whatever form, they have to be alone in developing in what they do. But I always loved being with others and sharing my work. And I always had the respect of others, because of my real love of doing my work – and my respect for what they did. I was lousy in sports. I’d be the last one chosen on any team. But they understood that and they spoke of me as the artist of the community. I was never picked on. I don’t know why that is, other than I always had such a deep respect for what other people do that it never occurred to me that there was any kind of a hierarchy. You could be sweeping a street and I would respect what you were doing and your work in that community.

My work in the community was always open to people dropping in. I drew so much from just the informal visits and what they would have to say. You know, I think that’s why I say I don’t believe in interruptions in my life. Right now, talking with you, I am creating. I am drawing, I’m painting, I’m doing my bookwork, I’m doing my puppet work, my sea glass work. There is no interruption. Everything that is happening to me I feel is significant. There is no way you can take my time. It’s the one thing that I possess. I can only offer it to you in exchange for your precious gift of your time, so remain on a level of back and forth, you see. And that is why my door is always open and people will come and go. But they come and they say, “Oh, we’re interrupting you.” No! Look! Do you want to see my paintings, do you want to see my drawings, do you want to see my sea-glass work, do you want to see my bookwork? I am always producing.

 

WWII / Looking for answers

When I came back from the Second World War I was so spun around, as veterans are, it was difficult to go on. Well, I knew when I came back (I was inducted at nineteen) that I wanted to complete my studies at Cooper Union. So, I knew my direction. I was not like veterans who don’t have a direction. After the experiences of a war, they find it difficult to adjust and go one. Very often then, because they don’t have enough services to keep following them up, they fall through. And that’s why, when they say a third of the homeless are veterans, it’s very understandable, because without help of family, friends, or a direction in life, or a medical support system that will follow them closely, it’s very hard after those experiences, to say you’re normal and go on. That’s what I experienced when I came home. I knew I wanted to complete my course study, but I also knew I wanted to understand why man chooses war. So when I graduated from Cooper Union, I did undergraduate work as a philosophy major at Columbia, to see if I could find answers. And I only found more questions. But I was so intrigued by the way man thinks, in aesthetics and ethics, in logic, and these areas, which I studied, that I stayed with it. Summers I’d come up to Maine and I’d be outdoors painting the whole time. That’s what really gave me a focus and direction. When I graduated from Columbia University, I knew I would not go any further in studies.

Please check back regularly.  More of the transcription to follow. 

Made possible with funds provided by the Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation.              

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Mary Evelyn Tucker ⎥ Religion and Ecology

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Image from Religion and Ecology, Island Press, 2014

This is a talk that spans 13.8 billion years – from our cosmic origins to our place in the Earth’s ecosystem. Happy to say audio is up!

The relatively new alliance between religion and ecology is based on the belief that religions are a primary source of values in any culture and the environmental crisis that we face is fundamentally a crisis of values.

Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University, where she teaches in a joint master’s degree program between the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies.  She directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale with her husband, John Grim.

While environmental issues are most frequently viewed through the lens of science, policy, law, and economics, in recent years the moral and spiritual dimensions of this crisis are becoming more visible.

“Our current ecological challenges are such that they require the insights of the world’s religions to awaken moral passion and concern,” Tucker says. “And these voices are needed now.”

Her concern for the growing environmental crisis, especially in Asia, led her to organize with John Grim a series of ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard (1995-1998). Together they are series editors for the ten volumes from the conferences distributed by Harvard University Press. In this series she co-edited Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard, 1997), Confucianism and Ecology (Harvard, 1998), and Hinduism and Ecology (Harvard, 2000).

After the conference series she and Grim founded the Forum on Religion and Ecology at a culminating conference at the United Nations in 1998.

Books include: Ecology and Religion, John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, Island Press, 2014 /  The Emerging Alliance of Religion and Ecology, University of Utah Press, 2014 / Worldly Wonder, Open Court, 2013

For Mary Evelyn’s full bio and additional information on projects and publications, go to: http://www.emergingearthcommunity.org/mary-evelyn-tucker

Information for this post was taken from numerous sources, including the Emerging Earth Community website.

To listen to Mary Evelyn talk about the alliance between religion and ecology, click on links below (run time 34:00):

Vivian Perlis  Preserving the Voices of American Music

Used with permission. Photographer unknown.

Perlis, Copland. Photo credit: David Walker

I have to say I am especially looking forward to sitting down with and recording Vivian Perlis.  I’ve known her personally for more than 30 years and admired her deeply since the day we met. Vivian is an historian in American music.  She is widely known for her publications, lectures, and recording and film productions.  In addition, she is a groundbreaking oral historian.

Vivian Perlis is the founder and former director of the Oral History of American Music (OHAM) project at Yale University.  OHAM is known to be the preeminent project in the field of music dedicated to the collection and preservation of oral and video memoirs of the creative musicians of our time.

Her story begins:  In 1969, while working as a reference librarian at the Yale School of Music, Vivian started a project of tape-recording interviews with those acquainted with the composer Charles Ives, a Yale graduate. Her work – thorough, methodical, and revealing – culminated in 1974 with the book: “Charles Ives Remembered: An Oral History,” for which Vivian was awarded the Kinkeldey Prize of the American Musicological Society.  Hailed “a vivid memory portrait of an enigmatic American composer, told in the voices of the people who knew him best.”

Beginning with her pioneering work in 1969 and extending through to the present day (via OHAM), there are “thousands of recordings and transcripts accessible to a wide range of users including scholars, musicians, students, arts organizations, and the media.”*

From the OHAM website: Following the Ives Project, it was evident that no systematic scholarly research was in progress to document creative musical figures by means of tape-recorded interviews. Several composers had spoken about Ives, and in so doing, about themselves as well. (It is not a good idea to ask a celebrated composer to talk only about someone else.) These formed the nucleus for a broader-based project, Oral History of American Music (OHAM). Included were Elliott Carter, Lou Harrison, Nicolas Slonimsky, and Dane Rudhyar. Through the decades since the founding of OHAM, composers have continued to be the project’s primary focus.  

Perlis, Bernstein, Copland. Used with permission. Photographer unknown.

Perlis, Bernstein, Copland.
Used with permission.
Photographer unknown.

A list of interviewees can be found at: http://web.library.yale.edu/oham/major-figures

In 1984 Copland: 1900 through 1942 was published.  Perlis and Copland co-authored this “enduring record of an American maestro’s explosively creative coming of age.”  The book garnered a Deems Taylor/ ASCAP award.

A review upon its release: Aaron Copland is one of America’s most beloved musical pioneers, famous for Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, and Lincoln Portrait, as well as the movie scores for “Our Town” and “Of Mice and Men,” and numerous orchestral and chamber works. This candid, colorful memoir begins with Copland’s Brooklyn childhood and takes us through his years in Paris, the creation of his early works, and his arrival at Tanglewood. Rich with remembrances from Leonard Bernstein, Virgil Thomson, and Nadia Boulanger, as well as a trove of letters, photographs, and scores from Copland’s collection.

In 1989 Copland Since 1943 was published, again to much acclaim.

In 2013 The Complete Copland was issued, combining the earlier two books into one volume.

Other works include:

Composers’ Voices from Ives to Ellington, co-authored with Libby Van Cleve, includes two CDs and is derived from interviews in the OHAM archive.

Among her productions are recordings of the music of Leo Ornstein and Charles Ives, and television documentaries on Ives, Eubie Blake, Aaron Copland, and John Cage.

Honors and awards received include: The Charles Ives Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1972); a Grammy nomination for “Charles Ives 100th Anniversary” (1974); the Harvey Kantor Award for excellence in the field of oral history (1984); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1987); and the Irving Lowens Award for distinguished scholarship in American Music from The Society for American Music (1991).

In 2010, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the archive, Vivian was honored at both Carnegie Hall and Yale’s Zankel Hall.  She stepped down as the director of OHAM the same year; however, she remains active and ever-influential. She continues to serve as a senior research scholar at Yale University.

TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW, CLICK ON LINKS BELOW. 

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Stories Matter

Personalized learning at its most personal

Screen-Shot-2015-10-02-at-7.21.24-AMAs an off-shoot of a Story Preservation nature-based Learning Lab project, a fourth grader in an SPI Learning Lab subscriber school chose naturalist David Carroll, who is in our collection, as the subject of a research paper. The student is very interested in nature and conservation.

 

The teacher mentioned this to me two days before I was scheduled to visit with David so I asked him if, during our visit, he would be willing to video record a message specifically for this student – and he agreed.

Click here to view.

 

Books are Meant to be Shared

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Story Preservation wishes to thank the family of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Maxine Kumin and long-time Kumin family friend Suzy Colt for gifting a large selection of Maxine’s books to our lending library.   

Included: 

  • And Short the Season, W.W. Norton, 2014 (paperback)
  • Still to Mow, W.W. Norton, 2007 (paperback)
  • Jack and Other New Poems,W.W. Norton, 2005
  • Bringing Together: Uncollected Early Poems 1958-1988, W.W. Norton, 2003 (paperback)
  • The Long Marriage, W.W. Norton, 2001
  • Connecting the Dots, W.W. Norton, 1996
  • Up Country, Harper & Row, 1972
  • The Nightmare Factory, Harper & Row, 1970 (paperback)
  • Lizzie! Seven Stories Press, 2014
  • Quit Monks or Die, Story Line Press, 1999 (paperback)
  • The Roots of Things, Northwestern Univ. Press, 2010 (paperback)
  • Always Beginning, Copper Canyon Press, 2000 (paperback)
  • Inside the Halo and Beyond,W.W. Norton, 1999
  • The Pawnbroker’s Daughter, A Memoir, W.W. Norton, 2015
  • Oh, Harry!, Roaring Brook Press, 2011
  • What Color is Caesar?,Candlewick Press, 2010
  • Mites to Mastadons, Houghton, Mifflin, 2006

Story Preservation maintains a small but growing library of books that complement our audio collection.  All are available on a lending-basis free of charge to teachers involved with the Story Preservation Initiative Learning Lab.