The United States of Storytelling
Folktales and True Stories from the Eastern States
by Dan Keding
July 2010, 285pp, 7x10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Hardcover: 978-1-59158-727-9
$50, £38, 42€, A72

Mike Fink, the crackshot keelboater. Babe the blue ox. Davy Crockett and the raccoon. The cat with a wooden leg. Despite being one of the youngest nations, the United States has a rich tapestry of true stories, folk legends, and tall tales that will delight young learners.

This diverse collection of American folktales and true stories showcases the history and lore of the eastern states.

Recounting folk legends like those about Johnny Appleseed and Br’er Rabbit or the events at Valley Forge and the Chicago Fire animates American history. Listening to or reading these tales allows students to experience a vibrant side of history that is rarely represented and communicated: the hopes, fears, joys, and trials of the people who came before us.

The United States of Storytelling: Folktales and True Stories from the Eastern States contains lore from all the states east of the Mississippi, covering early pioneers and settlers, Native Americans, and later immigrants. Each chapter focuses on an individual state and includes approximately six folktales, legends, or true stories from that state. Appropriate for students in third through eighth grade, this guide is specifically suited for children in grades four through six who are commonly studying the states, serving as a valuable storytime resource and springboard to learning for these age groups.


  • Features folklore presented by six nationally known storytellers
  • Each chapter/state includes a sub-bibliography that lists sources by title; there is also a general bibliography in the back of the book
  • Each chapter/state has its own glossary of terms
Dan Keding is an award-winning storyteller, author, and musician who serves as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. He received his masters of arts from the University of Illinois in the study of folktales and ballads. Keding has over a dozen recordings to his credit, including the 1999 ALA Notable Recording for Children "Rudy & the Roller Skate." His published works include Stories of Hope and Spirit: Folktales from Eastern Europe and English Folktales.


Storytelling World Award, 2011—Storytelling World, January 1, 2011


"These volumes will be useful as resources for storytellers and for U.S. history classes."—Booklist Online, November 4, 2010

"The stories are short and easy to understand, making for a productive filler when learning about the states."—Library Media Connection, March 1, 2011

"Each tale takes only a page or two, and mood ranges from tall-tale funny to ghost-story creepy to factually informative, with a useful variety in each section." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April 1, 2011
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