The Power of Story

by Joan Wink


This book will show you how to link your library and its patrons to literacies through the power of stories, both oral and written.

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Cover image for The Power of Story

November 2017

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 275
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Children's and Young Adult Programs/Storytelling, Theory and Practice
  Children's and Young Adult Programs/Reading Promotion and Literacy

Through this book, readers will discover that stories can move the human heart and head in ways that research cannot.

Stories bring together readers, writers, librarians, teachers, students, and families in the libraries of today and will continue to do so tomorrow. Written for all those lovers of literacy, this book links libraries and literacies through the power of stories. The book is not filled with data in the form of pie charts, graphs, and tables. Rather, the truth of the research is grounded in authentic stories that reflect not only the interpretation of data, but also the transformative nature of literacies and libraries. The author's primary goal is that readers will come to value and use storytelling in their own professional and personal lives to explain and expand on complex concepts and to make information more accessible for all.

The book begins by presenting anecdotes and the author's personal story to lay the foundation for what literacies are, and what literacy is not. An activity, "Spiral of Literacy," allows readers to reflect on their own literacies. Chapters that follow each begin with a story that sets the theoretical foundation. Each chapter concludes with an action section that demonstrates how to turn theory to practice, whether you are in a library, a classroom, or at home. A final chapter envisions what libraries might look like in 10 years, through interviews with librarians, teachers, and others interested in literacy.


  • Emphasizes the power of story and highlights the many unique paths to literacies
  • Shows how stories make complex information about literacies accessible to everyone
  • Covers approaches to storytelling and literacies for immigrant communities and children who may speak multiple languages
  • Shines a bright light on the significant role of libraries in providing access to books, knowledge, and human connections
  • Features photos, images, drawings, and quotes throughout each chapter
Author Info

Joan Wink, PhD, is professor emerita of California State University, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA. She is adjunct professor in the English as a Second Language Global Education Master's Program of The College of New Jersey in Palma, Mallorca, Spain. Throughout her career, Wink has focused on languages, literacy, and learning in pluralistic contexts. She earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction at Texas A&M and also holds two masters' degrees from the University of Arizona. Wink continues teaching, writing, and speaking nationally and internationally and maintains an active website ( and a blog, WinkWorld, ( She has published widely in scholarly journals and is the author of Critical Pedagogy: Notes from the Real World; A Vision of Vygotsky written with LeAnn Putney, and Teaching Passionately: What's Love Got to Do with It?, written with Dawn Wink.



"Academic Joan Wink has created a paean to libraries, librarians, books, and storytelling. The 33-page bibliography impresses with well-known authors of admired literacy pedagogy. . . . . Readers in search of personal essays that inform on librarianship and storytelling may find this inspirational. . . . Valuable information is there."School Library Connection

"Elementary school librarians and teachers will be inspired to advocate for nonstandardized assessments in child-centric learning environments that emphasize storytelling and stories. Highly recommended."School Library Journal

In the News

Dawn Wink: Dewdrops, The Power of Story by Joan Wink, 3/2/2018

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