From Moby Dick to Life of Pi, some of the most engaging books on our shelves begin with a narrator offering to tell us a story. Through their words we share an adventure and a common experience steeped in tradition. In many parts of the world, October 27 is Tell a Story Day, when libraries, bookshops, schools and readers everywhere celebrate the many forms of storytelling and the gifts that it brings to our lives.
Avid readers and book lovers may not need a special day for celebrating the art of storytelling (for readers, every day is Tell a Story Day) but it’s always great to have a reason to share books that feature a narrator we know we’ll never forget.
Here are four books to read on October 27—books that feature, like a whaler named Ishmael or a boy named Pi, some very engaging fictional storytellers.
The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Myerson
Miranda Brooks inherits her uncle’s bookstore, as well as a chance to finally unravel a mystery that tore her family apart years before. Why had her uncle disappeared from their life? To find the answers, he has left Miranda clues to a scavenger hunt, like the ones he used to make up for her as a child, leading Miranda through the pages of classic books until she discovers her uncle’s secrets—and so much more.
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
A museum retrospective sparks a storytelling journey back to Europe where 16-year old Noa is forced to leave her home after an affair with a Nazi soldier leads to unthinkable consequences. Hiding out in a train station one night, she hears the sounds of a crying baby, and acts. Noa and the baby find refuge with a traveling circus, where trapeze artist Astrid grudgingly takes Noa on as an apprentice. Guarding her own secrets, Astrid eventually softens to Noa and the two begin a friendship that their very survival will depend upon.
Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen
When Harry tries to escape his grief by moving to the forests of Pennsylvania, he finds redemption in the form of a little girl named Oriana and her mother, who are also healing from a personal tragedy. Oriana’s friendship and imagination helps to release them all from their sadness as they discover the magic in the nature that surrounds them.
Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony
Violet Baumgartner has always been a matriarch with a mission but this year, as she begins to write her annual holiday letter, she knows things will be different. Nothing is panning out as she had expected and for a woman like Violet, the unpredictable has always been the unacceptable. As cracks begin to show in her carefully crafted world, Violet is forced to come to terms with her family’s imperfections and the things she can’t control no matter how hard she tries. As the family falls to pieces, Violet realizes there are many ways to put it all back together again.
Who are your favorite fictional storytellers? Let us know in the comments!