The Gift of the Unicorn and Other Animal Helper Tales for Storytellers, Educators, and Librarians

by Dan Keding and Kathleen A. Brinkmann


Teach about science, world cultures, and climate changes using this unique collection of animal tales from across the globe.

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Cover image for The Gift of the Unicorn and Other Animal Helper Tales for Storytellers, Educators, and Librarians

June 2016

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 243
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Grade 3-8
Topics Children's and Young Adult Programs/Storytelling, Resources and Collections
  Librarian's Instructional Role/Teaching Resources, K-12
  • Award Winner!




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Engage young readers in stories they love while teaching important content with this fun book that features more than 40 folktales from around the world celebrating the animal-human bond.

Written by two leaders in the field of storytelling, this compilation of folktales—all retold for elementary readers—emphasizes the admirable qualities of animal-human relationships. Stories source from folktale collections, oral histories, and science and sociology books from around the world and include learning opportunities for taking a stand against bullies, understanding wild and domestic animal habitats, and appreciating nature. Additionally, you'll be able to introduce readers to new cultures, providing a springboard for learning about other people and their ways of life.

Each story is accompanied by information that identifies the country or culture of origin, sources, and interesting background facts. Exercises, questions, and suggestions promote further study and help engage readers in what they have learned. The organization of sections of stories on creatures of land, sky, sea, and water; imaginary animals; and crews of animals working together makes it easy to find what suits your audience best.


  • Encourages reading with rich vocabulary, engaging narrative, and vivid imagery
  • Includes cross-curricular content with information about domestic and wild animals and their habitats
  • Features stories drawn from a variety of sources, including folktale collections, oral histories, and science and sociology books
  • Showcases the theme of cooperation to help promote teamwork and anti-bullying
  • Contains exercises, questions, and suggestions for further study
Author Info

Dan Keding serves as adjunct lecturer at the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and performs as a storyteller, author, and folk musician. His published works include Stories of Hope and Spirit: Folktakes from Eastern Europe, a book which received the Anne Izard Storyteller's Choice Award and the Storytelling World Honor Award. Keding also won the National Storytelling Network's Circle of Excellence Award presented for exceptional commitment and exemplary contributions to the art of storytelling.

Kathleen A. Brinkmann produces and hosts UPTV's The Stories We Tell, a program of recorded concerts, interviews with authors, and storytellers. She is also a spoken word artist, writer, and scholar of folktales. She founded the Champaign-Urbana Storytelling Guild in 2001, where she served as secretary, treasurer, and president for several years. She holds a master's degree in folktales and storytelling from the University of Illinois at Springfield.



"The well-written stories are ideally suited to read-alouds. Tales have varying lengths up to five pages, with ample dialogue, imagery, and action. Listeners will enjoy the narratives while also being able to pick up on the values, themes, and cultural diversity. . . . . This amazing range of tales will be sure to spark interest across many age groups in a library, classroom, or other storytelling environment. The purchase is strongly recommended."—VOYA

"[T]he international spectrum offers a variety of simple folktales that youngsters can discuss and enjoy."—Booklist Online


2017 Storytelling World Awards Winner "Best Storytelling Collections" — Storytelling Magazine

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