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Story Retelling: How to Write a Retell (with Examples)

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Hannah Yang

How to retell classic stories

What do Shanghai in 1926, New York City in the mid-1950s, and an interplanetary spaceship in 2067 have in common?

They’re all settings for popular retellings of Romeo and Juliet —Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights, Broadway’s West Side Story , and Lauren James’ The Loneliest Girl in the Universe , respectively.

Examples of Romeo and Juliet rewrites

Retellings are a classic art form, and they’re a popular trend in the fiction industry right now. Writing a retelling is an easy way for emerging authors to gain traction.

Readers know the classic stories they like and will gravitate toward a story with a pitch, like Jane Eyre set on a modern university campus, or Cinderella told from the ugly stepsister’s perspective, even if they’ve never heard of the author.

Popular classic stories

If there are any classic stories that you know and love, a retelling can be a fun option to consider for your next project.

Read on to learn how to write a unique retelling that will make readers see an old story in a new light.

What Kinds of Stories Are Good for Retellings?

How do i retell an old story in a new way, how do you rewrite a story with a different main character, how do you change the setting when retelling a story, how do you rewrite a story in a different genre, how do you stay true to yourself when writing a retelling.

There are countless popular tales from cultures around the world that would make fantastic fodder for a retelling.

Decide what kind of story you’re interested in writing—a funny story, a tragic story, a heart-warming story, or something else entirely. Then, find a classic story that fits the style you gravitate toward.

Here are four categories of classic stories to consider.

Four categories of classic stories

1. Fairy Tales and Fables

Fairy tales and fables lend themselves especially well to retellings, perhaps because so many versions of each story already exist. Most of these tales were passed down through word of mouth, instead of stemming from a single source, so they naturally evolved over time.

It might feel daunting to join such a crowded space, but no one else has the same perspective you do. Trust that you have something new to bring to the table.

Examples to consider:

  • Works by Hans Christian Andersen (e.g. The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen)
  • Works by the Brothers Grimm (e.g. Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, The Pied Piper of Hamelin)
  • Fairy tales from cultures around the world (e.g. Bunbuku Chagama, Baba Yaga, The Jackal’s Eldest Son)

2. Myths and Legends

Myths and legends are another fantastic option. Many of these stories are beautiful and continue to resonate with people today.

If you use a myth from a culture other than your own, take a step back to consider whether you’re the right writer for this retelling. You always want to pay homage to your source material, rather than take advantage of it.

  • Greek mythology (e.g. the Fates, Prometheus, Persephone and Hades)
  • Norse mythology (e.g. Thor and Loki, Sif and her Golden Hair, Fenris the Wolf)
  • Egyptian mythology (e.g. the Story of Re, the Isis and Osiris, the Underworld and Anubis)

3. Shakespearean Plays

Shakespeare’s work is in a league of its own for classic stories that we use as a cultural touchstone.

You can decide how closely you want to stick with the source material. Some retellings use Shakespeare’s verses word-for-word, while others only quote a few key lines or loosely retain the original plot.

  • Shakespearean tragedies (e.g. Hamlet , Julius Caesar , Macbeth )
  • Shakespearean comedies (e.g. As You Like It , The Merchant of Venice , A Midsummer Night’s Dream )

4. Classic Novels

Last but not least, you can always build on the work of other novelists.

If you choose this option, it’s more likely that there will be a single source for you to draw from, instead of needing to research countless existing versions and retellings. This is a trade-off: it makes your research simpler, but it also gives you fewer options for new directions in which to take the story.

  • Jane Austen’s work (e.g., Pride and Prejudice , Sense and Sensibility , Emma )
  • Charles Dickens’ work (e.g., Oliver Twist , A Christmas Carol , Great Expectations )
  • Leo Tolstoy’s work (e.g., Anna Karenina , War and Peace , The Death of Ivan Ilyich )

Regardless of which category you decide to draw from, the most important thing is to choose a story that speaks to you.

You’ll need to spend a lot of time with the source material—and with existing retellings—to do the story justice. Choosing the right story will make the writing process much more rewarding.

Once you’ve gotten to know your source material well, it’s time to find a unique angle for your version of the story.

The key to writing a retelling is to change one or more of the most crucial elements of the original story. Most retellings rely primarily on one of these three strategies:

  • A new protagonist
  • A new setting
  • A new genre

The three main strategies for a retelling

Let’s examine each of these three elements and discuss how to get started with each strategy.

The first strategy is to tell the story through the eyes of a character who isn’t the usual protagonist.

Take the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood , for example. It’s traditionally told through the perspective of Little Red Riding Hood herself, but you could tell the same story from the perspective of the grandmother, the huntsman, or the wolf.

Or you could even go a step further and enter through the perspective of a character who isn’t in the original story, such as Little Red Riding Hood’s best friend in the village, or Little Red Riding Hood’s future granddaughter.

Each new lens drastically changes the meaning of the story and its emotional heft.

This type of retelling reminds readers to keep an open mind. Every character feels like the protagonist of his or her own life, and retellings with new protagonists show us that there can be many sides to the same story.

Examples of retellings with a new protagonist:

  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire: a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the Wicked Witch
  • A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes: a retelling of the Trojan War from the women’s point of view
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo: a retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby from Jordan Baker’s perspective

If you want to write a retelling with a new protagonist, you should start with these steps:

Step 1. Make a list of the major characters in the original story, including the antagonist and major side characters.

Step 2. Identify the characters on your list who might have an interesting and unique point of view. Ask yourself:

  • Which of these characters do you feel curious about?
  • Which of these characters is the most hated / misunderstood?
  • Which of these characters could have the most interesting growth / character transformation through the course of this story?

Step 3. Sketch out a potential story arc from your chosen character’s perspective. Ask yourself:

  • What does this character want at the beginning of the story? How do they try to get it?
  • What obstacles does this character face throughout the story? How do they try to defeat those obstacles?
  • How does the story end for this character? Have they changed by the end of the story?

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Another strategy is to change the setting of the story. You preserve the backbone of the original story, but set it a different time period and place.

One common way to do this is by modernizing an older story by setting it in a modern-day workplace, school, or neighborhood. Many authors use this strategy to make classic stories accessible to readers.

Another way to do this is to transplant a story to the context of a different country or culture. For example, you could tell the story of Snow White set in medieval India instead of in medieval Europe.

This type of retelling can be a powerful reminder that many stories have timeless or universal themes. Two people falling in love in the 15th century might have experienced the same emotions as two people falling in love today.

Examples of retellings that change the setting:

  • The Broadway musical West Side Story : a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Julie set in the Lower West Side of Manhattan in the mid-1950s
  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: a retelling of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick about a modern-day baseball player in Michigan
  • Anna K by Jenny Lee: a retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina about a modern-day Korean-American girl in Manhattan high society

If you want to change the setting, you should start with these steps:

Step 1. Summarize the core premise of the original story in a single sentence, without mentioning the setting. For example, you might summarize Mulan this way: “A woman disguises herself as a man in order to keep her family safe.”

Summaries of classic stories

Step 2. Brainstorm a variety of potential settings you find compelling. Try to choose ones that are drastically different from the original setting of the story. If you’re out of ideas, here are some settings to start with:

  • A modern high school in the American suburbs
  • A speakeasy in the roaring 20s
  • A bookstore in Paris during WWII
  • A technology company in Silicon Valley
  • A mining site in the 1850s Gold Rush

Step 3. Pick your favorite setting from Step 2 and combine it with the summary you wrote in Step 1. For example: “A woman disguises herself as a man in order to keep her family safe—at a technology company in Silicon Valley.” Ask yourself:

  • How would this setting affect the protagonist and the other main characters? (e.g. new careers, new socioeconomic backgrounds, new goals)
  • How would this setting affect the major conflict of the story? (e.g. a duel to the death in a medieval setting might become a corporate war in a modern setting)
  • How would this setting affect the themes of the original story? Which themes would be preserved and which themes would no longer feel relevant?

Download our free guide to world-building

The last strategy is to tell the same story with a different genre.

If you’re retelling a literary story, you can choose to introduce some element of the fantastical. You could make it a fantasy story by making the protagonist a wizard or a werewolf, for example, or you could make it a sci-fi story by making the core conflict dependent on time travel or human cloning.

The most important thing to remember is that the genre should be part of the fundamental skeleton of the story itself, not just an afterthought. When you change the genre, some element of the new genre needs to drive the narrative arc.

The importance of genre

Examples of retellings that change the genre:

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer: a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella in which Cinderella is treated as a second-class citizen because she’s a cyborg, not a human
  • Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman: a fantasy retelling of Snow White in which Snow White has skin as white as snow and lips as red as blood because she’s actually a vampire
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith: a horror /comedy retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth’s attempts at love are repeatedly almost thwarted by a zombie apocalypse

If you want to write a retelling with a new genre, you can start with these three steps:

Step 1. Choose your new genre and, better yet, your sub-genre. If you normally write in one genre, you may already know what you want to write. Otherwise, here are some options to consider:

  • Fantasy (subgenres: sword and sorcery, paranormal, portal fantasy, etc.)
  • Sci-fi (subgenres: space opera, post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, etc.)
  • Horror (subgenres: Gothic, zombies, gore, etc.)

Step 2. Choose a specific element of your new genre—such as mythical creatures, portals to other worlds, or an alien invasion—that would cast the story in a whole new light. How will the core conflict of the story be driven by this specific element?

Step 3. Research the common tropes of the genre you’ve chosen and make a list of the ones you like. Could you introduce any of these tropes into your retelling? How would they affect the original story?

Ultimately, the most important thing is to tell a story that feels authentic to you.

Think about your own life and the experiences that have shaped you most. How can you use those to inform the story you want to tell? What’s unique about the way you see the world?

The trick for retelling classic stories is merging your perspective with the story

If you’re part of a historically marginalized group, you can make the story your own simply by bringing in a new point of view. Many traditional stories lack the diversity and inclusivity of our society today, so bringing in your point of view makes it possible for modern readers to see themselves reflected in the stories that they love.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things.

All artists steal. The key is to know how to steal in a way that honors and acknowledges the original work while building something new.

If you’re ever worried about plagiarism, you can use ProWritingAid’s plagiarism checker to check how much of your draft is original.

As long as you treat the original story with respect, the only limit is your own creativity.

These are the most common strategies to write a retelling, as well as some of our favorite examples.

What are your favorite retellings? Let us know in the comments below.

Are you prepared to write your novel? Download this free book now:

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story retelling essay

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Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

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story retelling essay

Deconstructing Old Stories to Tell Them in New Ways

Daisy johnson on the limits of the wholly new.

About four years ago, I started to write a novel. I knew very little about it besides that I wanted it to be a contemporary retelling of Oedipus. All writing, I suppose, is a form of retelling but more specifically, I knew from a young age that I wanted to retell ancient stories. Perhaps the impulse came from reading those Roald Dahl fairy tales in which Red Riding Hood keeps a pistol in her knickers and wears a wolf skin coat. Perhaps, it was around then that I began to feel that doing something like that was the finest form of destruction.

Truth telling: I am constantly uncertain, endlessly unsure. I am uncomfortable in my own skin a lot of the time and, often, in my own writing. On the bad days I think: I am not clever enough for this. And on good days, I do not think the opposite, only: I do not need to be clever for this. Whatever that might mean. And so perhaps my interest in retellings comes from a place of terror, too. To write from scratch feels, to me, like digging into concrete with a spoon to make a space I can lie in without being trodden on. And—at the very least—with retelling there is half a hole there to begin with.

As Claire Vaye Watkins says : let us burn this motherfucking system to the ground and build something new.  Utter destruction, complete annihilation. There is nothing more frightening to a writer than that glowing blank page. And so—because we may be frightened while also being brave—we take some of the old building’s rubble; steal a doorknob or two, use the line of a window for inspiration, make a sitting room of the ancient hollowed swimming pool.

I want to speak about retelling as a way of rewriting old constructs, of taking texts and forming other texts from their bones. I want to also speak about a new style of writing that might emerge from the wreckage, and what it might look like.

In The Laugh of the Medusa , Helene Cixous calls for Écriture féminine ii or “women’s writing.” She calls for a new style of written word, separate from patriarchal language. A style where the female body—and here let us now say all marginalized bodies—are put into the text. As I am writing and thinking about writing the questions come to me: what does this style look like? Do we know when we see it? Is it surrounding us right now? How do we write within the gaps? Within the spaces that are allowed to us. How do we push at their boundaries until they are enormous enough to contain all who are marginalized?

When I first began thinking of how to explore these ideas, it wasn’t as an essay but a story. A retelling, of course. It seemed right that it would be a retelling from a beginning. From the beginning. If Eve looks out of this essay she does so with multiple voices, with a multitude of possibilities. Horny and desperate and disappointed and loving and clever and weary and purposeful in her actions. And if we were to begin to think what this new sort of writing would be, how it would appear on her page, we can fit words into her mouth and say: see, there is something new after all.

(This garden has clematis and aster and lily of the Incas. This garden has cedar and palm and weeping willow. This garden has things I have not thought how to name yet. When I lie in the dirt I feel all the nameless things shifting and creaking beneath me. A creature with skin the color of sun and sharp teeth pillows his head on my thigh and I think: tiger. In the river there are silver movements slipping from my hold and I think: fish. In the sky something falls and regains balance just before it hits the earth and I think: bird. I think: eagle.)

It is hardest of all to find how to start. In his essay A Conversation Between what is Broken  Jack Young also calls for a move towards a different sort of writing. He writes: So fuck  endings. Fuck bildungsromans. Fuck smooth and cohesive novels. These constructs of patriarchy and colonialism. He speaks of Eimear McBride and her overflowing stream of unstoppable language and thought. Of novels which do not take the reader by the hand but which stick in our throats, difficult and stubborn.

(Joy most time. Unbearable grit-toothed joy hands clasped to fists spinning and spinning beneath these trees I named and this place I know as well as I know this skin-flesh. Dancing dirtied stamping feet one two one two. Other times a little   something. A little   not certain of the feeling. Teaching birds to talk. Repeat after me. Saying this and that and laughing when they speak only in the voices given to them. Lying for hours or perhaps years not moving. A little A little             alone. The tiger watches its double the birds call to one another even the snake even the snake. A little           lonely.)  

I think also of Akwaeke Emezi’s multi-voiced explosion in Freshwater wherein the narrator’s head is stuffed with voices all speaking at the same time, sometimes with one butting forward and then another taking over.

(Part of Eve—witch-eyed—says better to be alone, better to be safe and strong. This Eve moves the hands and keeps the brain busy. There are countless names to give and the garden goes on forever. This Eve keeps the hands busy to save the brain from thinking. From thinking: what if? What if there were another. Like us.

Another part of Eve day dreams what the shape might be, how the voice might sound, how she would go about it. Arguments and battles rage inside, scars made on soft skin. In the midst of the chaos day-dreaming-Eve creeps away. She sings as she goes to cover the sound of her thoughts. She counts the bones in her body. In her head no one sees her. They break  one another apart, tear limb-from-limb. There can be no other, some scream and others: we are so alone we are so alone.

The part of Eve who wonders what he might be like—this creature like her and unlike—digs with her fingers until she finds a part of herself she thinks might grow. No one can need so many ribs; she can share. In her head one part turns to see and then another. The silence rings. Eve buries the bone in the soft earth and puts her mouth to the dirt and whispers: please, please. I’ll call you Adam, if only you will come.)  

We could look to innovation in punctuation. Emily Dickinson’s dashes—which Sinead O’Connor argues , convincingly, represent the interruptions caused by men—or writers who have dismissed entire swatches of punctuation, refuse to write with speech marks at all.

Or consider the use of the blank page in novels such as Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From , a novel where the spaces in-between her sentences seem almost as important as the words themselves.

(where before it was quiet now it is NOISY. Eve says can you – Adam says whatsthiscalled?whyisitmakingthisnoise?whydoesitfeellikethis? Eve says wait a second – I’ll tell you – I’ll tell you if only – Adam says whatdoesthismean?isthatatree?isthisdirt?arewereal? Eve says         until her mouth  aches and her tongue is enormous and she has to press both hands over her ears to hear only)

Or is it structural innovation we need? Abandoning markers and constrictions. And here we turn to short story collections (for lack of a better word) which might seem, to start with, like separate entities gathered up and pressed against one another, but which, as we move through them, link and entangle so that we are presented with something simultaneously novel and collection of disparate parts, refusing either definition. For example The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro or You Can’t Go Home Again by Sarvat Hasin.

Unavoidably a polyphony, this style lends itself to retelling, too. And would lend itself, also, to this new writing where we are both afraid and being as brave as we can possibly be.

(Many days I miss being alone. He fills so much space, this me-shaped-himself-shaped thing. His voice is louder than everything else in the garden. He finds the things I have not had time to name and he points at them and says frog, heron, badger and laughs at the joy of it. I want to tell him that I was here before he even knew he existed, I want to reach inside him take back what I gave to him. Rib of mine rib of his rib of us. We are ribbed together forever. I think: what have you done?)

It is wise to consider here that there is nothing new to say. The idea that life is fragmentary and filled with multiple voices, and that writers must adapt their work to best show this is as old as modernism. There is no ending; well, we have been told that before. Helene Cixous says the future must no longer be the past but it is impossible, really, to prise them. We writers are working with aged and rusting tools. I think of the woman in Adrienne Rich’s poem diving down through the water alone with her book of myths and camera. Looking both for a wreck and for something new, something that no one has seen or discovered before.

Is the way forward, then, to look only forward? Should we look to writers such as Jennifer Egan who populate their novels with power point presentations? Should we turn to poetry or non-fictions for our inspirations: to Hera Lindsey Bird who writes Keats is dead so

fuck me from behind or to Maggie Nelson who takes the idea that women can only write autobiographically and runs with it as far and as fast and as joyfully as she can?

And let us also not forget the retellings that transgress. I remember the thrill of first reading Tampa by Alissa Nutting in which a female teacher seduces a student and then a review by a man calling it disgusting. How dare she?

(Years have gone past quickly and we have reached a sort of peace. Sweet Adam, careless Adam. Once you were like my child and I wanted only for you to sit and be calm. After some time passed you were like my brother and I only wanted to care for you, warn you not to touch the acacia tree or swim too close to the crocodile. Enough time has passed that you are neither child nor brother. I watch you sleeping.

There is a snake inside me, breathing as I breathe, eating what I pass down my gullet to it. It is me and I am it. A part of me says: be quiet be still be careful. A part of me says: want but not too much. Love but not too wildly. The snake says I want I love I am not quiet or careful. A part of me says: I have put this apple tree here to test you. I say: I do not need testing.)  

When I’m writing, I dwell a lot with the strange and so I am raising my hand now to say that whatever space we are creating—whatever new style—should be infected with strange. The weird the uncanny the down-right odd. I want to say: do not forget Kelly Link and Karen Russel and Emma Glass’s astounding Peach. Let us not forget that this conversation must be devoid of genre, removed from the snobbery of the literary establishment. We must look to Dianna Wynn Jones and Nnedi Okorafor and Ursula le Guin and Margaret Atwood.

(There is no ending. We live forever, we remember forever. I have never eaten before now. I have never wanted before now. I taste the rain on your face. I eat the fish live and wriggly straight from the river. I build fires to keep away the dark. I eat every apple on the tree and when they have grown back I eat them all again)

I have too many thoughts and no words to write them with. I want writing to be fragmentary and splattered with dashes and blank space; I want it to be autobiographical, to make use of the body; I want it to be haunted by the strange and by the future. I want to hold up the women who are retelling around us, that are carving new space for themselves from the past and say look: Madeleine Miller’s Song of Achilles and Circe, Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, Anne Carson’s An autobiography of Red, Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire. And let us not forget Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey, not a retelling but—all the same—a reclaiming. I am afraid but also jubilant. Perhaps this language, this way of writing does not yet belong to us, but we shall take it in both hands and wring it and wring it until something that does flows out.

I want to prescribe nothing, to proscribe even less. If we have got to the point of destroying the building, I don’t want to build new rules with the debris. I only want to bring the bulldozers in again and again and again. I want to be childlike as I pick pieces of rubble and balance one on top of the other. I want to, somehow, redeem the ugliness of these old structures, and make something new from them. I do not want fear to infiltrate my writing. But the fear and the hesitation are there, they are part of me and of it, and I sense the only way to rid ourselves of them is to write again and again and again.

story retelling essay

This essay originally appeared in issue #4 of   Somesuch Stories ,  which  is available in Barnes & Noble stores across America from January 25th. Daisy Johnson’s ManBooker short-listed debut novel,  Everything Under , is now on sale.

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Retelling as a Literacy Assessment Essay

Retelling is the effective tool to assess the students’ comprehension of the text while reading with references to understanding the order of events and key points of the story. Retelling is important to assess the students’ abilities in constructing the texts and organizing the responses to the guided questions if they are necessary. Moreover, retelling is helpful for the teacher to pay attention to the points which are added or inferred by students while retelling the texts (Gunning, 2010, p. 91-92).

To conduct a retelling assessment, a student from the second grade was selected with the help of the classroom teacher. The age-appropriate text for reading was chosen to assess the retelling (“Tadpole Teasing” by Kara Waite) (Waite, n.d.). “Tadpole Teasing” is a fiction book that is why the “Retelling Rubric and Scoring Form” for fiction is used to assess the student’s skills in retelling.

Before asking to start reading the story, I drew the student’s attention to the fact that I would like to listen to her retelling the story after reading. The student started reading the text. The reading was rather good and relevant for the student’s age and level. When the reading was finished I asked the student to retell the text. To guarantee the correct and full retelling of the story, I used the following phrase, “Pretend I have not read the story.

Please, tell it to me”. To record the retelling, a dictaphone was used. I took notes while the student was retelling the story in order to fix the details omitted or added to the plot. The retelling was guided with the help of questions to get more information and assist students to cope with some difficulties experienced with retelling. The guided questions are taken from the appropriate retelling form (How does the story start? Do you know the main characters and can you tell me something about them? Tell me about the problem/conflict/situation of the story. What are the most important things that happen in the story?). The student’s responses to the guided questions were recorded.

The student retold the story in clear language, using the full sentences organized sequentially. When the retelling was finished I asked the student about her desire to add any details to the retelling. The student concentrated on the fact that tadpoles discussed in the story were rather cruel in relation to the main character Taddy because they liked teasing.

Analysis: Retelling/Comprehension Summary; Fiction Retelling Rubric

Retelling/Comprehension Summary

Comments and Follow-up Suggestions:

The student provides the retelling of the story in clear and full sentences, focusing on the main characters and main points of the story. The retelling was prompted minimally with references to the guided questions.

The main characters and the main idea of the story were identified fully, the sequence of events was followed, and the situation was partially related to the experience (the focus on the tadpoles’ teasing typical for people). The comparison of teasing tadpoles and people was prompted.

The setting was not accentuated in the story that is why the student experienced some difficulties while guessing the setting. The student was asked to state what the home of tadpoles was. The student answered that it was a lake basing on the pictures.

While retelling the story, the student omits such details as Taddy’s growing back legs first and than front legs, and changes with a tail, focusing only on the fact of the legs’ growing.

The idea of the story was grasped successfully, and the associated events were retold in sequence. The structure of the story was followed strictly.

It is necessary to draw the student’s attention to details and relation of the events to the experience in order to draw conclusions about the story’s conflict more effectively.

Fiction Retelling Rubric

Scoring directions: Score the retelling with one number score for each of the areas.

Prompt suggestions (the recorded responses to guided questions):

  • – There was Taddy. Taddy was a tadpole.
  • – Taddy is the main character of the story. Taddy was a tadpole, like the other tadpoles. The other tadpoles are also the characters of the story. They were teasing Taddy when Taddy’s legs grew, and they said it was strange.
  • – Taddy’s legs grew, and Taddy was not like the other tadpoles anymore. It looked strange. The other tadpoles were teasing Taddy because it was not like tadpoles. They said it was odd. Tadpoles were cruel to Taddy.
  • – Tadpoles’ legs became to grow, and they saw they were frogs. Tadpoles understood Taddy was growing faster. Tadpoles were excited to become frogs.

Having examined the student’s results according to the Fiction Retelling Rubric, it is possible to state that the student is a competent at retelling, but she would benefit from the activities to improve comprehension and detail retention. The student distinguishes the beginning, middle, and end of the story, retelling the associated events completely. The sequence of events is also followed strictly. The main characters, conflict, and idea are identified and described correctly. The retelling is prompted minimally with the help of the basic guided questions. Thus, the student comprehends the story, its characters, and conflict correctly, with a rather high level of competence.

Nevertheless, the student’s concentration on details is not enough. Retelling the story in sequence, the student omits some details described in the book. Thus, the student does not tell about Taddy’s growing back legs first and than front legs and about Taddy’s tail becoming smaller as the points to surprise the other tadpoles and leading to the conflict. The details which are provided by the student are not essential. It is important to pay attention to the student’s focusing on details and the detail retention with the help of the appropriate activities.

The student required some prompts to speak about the connection of the story’s conflict and the personal experience. That is why, it is important to work on context and improve the student’s understanding of the conflict with references to the experience in order to draw correct conclusions about the main idea of the story. Thus, the main idea and conflict of the story were identified correctly, but with omitting the necessary details helpful to understand the situation and draw conclusions.

Analysis of the Experience

The retelling assessment is necessary to examine students’ abilities to comprehend the material while reading age-appropriate texts. Moreover, I have learnt that retelling the text orally, the student develop his or her abilities and skills in constructing texts independently. Retelling is more effective than the process of answering questions about the story because students concentrate on the information they remember, try to organize it similarly to the structure of the text, and learn how to determine the conflict and main idea and describe characters.

Thus, focusing on the aspects of the student’s retelling the story, it is possible to determine the weaknesses in the students’ grasping the main idea, remembering details, or organizing the events in sequence. The concentration on the students’ abilities to comprehend the text with the help of retelling is necessary to develop strategies to overcome the possible difficulties and improve skills.

The benefits of retelling assessments for teachers is the ability to concentrate on the full picture of students’ understanding the text with references to the skills of presenting the correctly organized text with necessary details. When students answer questions, they rarely present the additional information. Retelling the text, students can add or infer some details, and the teacher can conclude about the level of students’ comprehending the text with the help of the Retelling Rubric and Retelling/Comprehension Rubric.

The score determined after retelling helps focus on the aspects of the students’ skills which require their further development. The teacher is able to discuss the individual abilities of students to comprehend and retell texts and respond to their needs. The benefits for the students are in abilities to improve their retelling with references to the score and control the results basing on the retelling/comprehension score to satisfy the comprehension and retelling needs.

The Retelling Rubric helps assess the main aspects of the students’ comprehending the story which are the identification of the structure, setting, plot, characters, idea and conflict, and order of events. The Retelling/Comprehension Rubric also helps assess students’ abilities in relating the idea of the story to the students’ experience. Thus, to complete the task effectively, there should be guided questions asking students to relate the story’s characters and events to their own experience while discussing the main idea or conflict because students can experience difficulties while providing such information and drawing conclusions without the necessary prompts. I am inclined to use the question about students’ experience as a prompt to conduct the next retelling assessments.

The Development of the Comprehension Skill

  • Basing on the results of the retelling assessment, it is necessary to focus on and remediate such comprehension skill as the ability to provide the essential details while describing and discussing the story’s plot and characters. The inability to concentrate on the essential details can prevent students from grasping the connection between the events and points which influence the story’s development.
  • The student whose abilities to retell and comprehend the story “Tadpole Teasing” were assessed with the help of the Retelling Rubric demonstrated the developed abilities in organizing the retelling with following the structure of the story, in identifying characters and connecting events correctly with minimal prompts. However, there were some difficulties with presenting the necessary details about the characters and the events depicted in the story. These details are important to understand the main conflict. That is why, to improve the student’s comprehension, it is necessary to develop the skills in focusing on the details presented in the story not only to identify but also to provide essential details about characters, plot, and theme.
  • The two learning experiences or activities which can be used to introduce and practice the abilities in focusing on and remembering details with their further providing are the usage of the prediction strategy before reading and preview of the text with encouraging students to refer to predictions while reading the story. To predict the plot of the story and motivate students to focus on the details, it is important to pay attention to the title and illustrations, asking some questions: “What do you think about the title of the story?”, “What is the theme of the story we will be reading?”, “What pictures are connected with the story’s title?”. The questions are also important to predict the setting of the story, “What pictures help you understand the setting?”.

After previewing the text, it is important to encourage students to refer to the predictions made in order to confirm or not any considerations and predictions made before reading. This activity helps students develop attention and concentrate on the details depicted in the story to compare them with predictions.

Gunning, T. (2010). Creating literacy instruction for all students. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon/Pearson Education.

Waite, K. (n.d.). Tadpole teasing. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, February 25). Retelling as a Literacy Assessment.

"Retelling as a Literacy Assessment." IvyPanda , 25 Feb. 2021,

IvyPanda . (2021) 'Retelling as a Literacy Assessment'. 25 February.

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How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .

Table of contents

What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.

When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.

A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.

These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.

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Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.

  • Write a story about your first day of school.
  • Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.

You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.

  • Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
  • Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?

In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.

Narrative essays in college applications

When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.

For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.

In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.

An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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7 Examples Of Story Retelling | Why is retelling important for kids?

Retelling is a process of re-narrating the story by students to bring out personalized perceptions. It has multiple advantages like better vocabulary and communication skills when properly implemented. Apart from understanding the meaning, a few examples to refer can guide you better in opting for this strategy.

The instances we provided here not only give you a diverse set of retelling options but also inspire you to show their significance. Also, check out other insights like techniques and the importance of these practices.  

Approaches of classroom retelling- Methods to make it effective!

The above lines clearly make out that classroom retelling is crucial. To ensure all of these factors, teachers can use the following five strategies to make them effective and engaging:

  • Writing can ensure better organization of thoughts 
  • A new version of the story can be documented
  • Creates a scope for the learning disabled to practice writing in the classroom
  • Using Graphic organizers: To make retelling easy and visually appealing, students can use organizers like flowcharts, timelines, and tabulations to narrate easily. This way, all the elements like characters and settings are made sure.
  • Roleplay: Students can narrate as they act out the characters of the story. Commonly known as roleplay, this strategy is often helpful in bringing out the creative abilities while they retell.
  • Questionnaire: Teachers can make the process of retelling easy by asking questions about it. By this, the learners can recall a snippet from the story, thereby reducing efforts. This strategy can have the upper hand when instructors analyze multiple pupils at a time.
  • Oral retelling: Giving the pupil a chance to give an orientation is a great idea to address their confidence levels and communications skills. Here, they may arrange events in sequence to ensure a smooth flow. 

Story retelling examples- Learners exercising in the classroom

Keeping in view the above set of approaches, here are a few examples demonstrating how students can retell a story in the classroom. You can explore and choose one of these styles to employ with your little one. 

EXAMPLE 1: Red hood session with stickers

Red hood session with stickers

The story considered is of the Red Riding Hood. Teachers can take references from the book to narrate the children to start with. The story is all about a small girl who goes around a village with a red scarf. People call her the Red Riding Hood. Once, she went to visit her grandmother. She met multiple animals like butterflies, frogs, and a wolf. Later when she reaches grandma’s home, she talks to the voice behind the door in thought it was her grandmother, but it was a hungry wolf instead. 

To retell this story, the teacher offers the children a few stickers of the red hooded girl a piece of paper, and a pencil. Now, the little ones make 10 boxes. In the first two boxes, they write characters (girl) and setting (home and forest). In the later 7 boxes, they stick red riding hood stickers and draw scenes of what happened in her journey in a sequence. This practice ensures they sequence the scenes and also remember details of settings in every box.

EXAMPLE 2: A competition for cinderella

A competition for cindrella

The story is all about the princess named Cinderella who lost her mother in her childhood. She is brought up by her stepmother with stepsisters with a bit of partiality. But everything changes with the arrival of a prince named Rian. With another backstory, Rian gets closer to Cinderella. The disputes in their relationships and kingdoms turn the rest of the story. The teacher and the students can use the narrative book to understand the story. 

To retell this story, the teacher provides a piece of paper to each student. Then they start a timer of say 45 minutes. Learners start with writing five elements of the story: setting, plot, characters, conflict, and theme. Later in a few words, they write the story in their own words. They also need to complete the open-ended decision of the character. Later the instructor collects these papers, evaluates them, and gives feedback. The evaluation lets the youngsters focus and identify flaws, and rectify them.  

EXAMPLE 3: Three goats on Straw 

Three goats on Straw 

This example takes references from the story of The Three Billy goats . The story is all about three goals of different sizes who like eating grass. But there was no grass in their location as other goats overgrazed every blade. The only way these hungry animals can access grass is to move over to the other side of a bridge. But, a monster living there is a challenge for them, as it always waits for juicy goats to prey on. How these goats moved to the other side forms rest of the story.  

To retell this story, students draw characters of the story on paper and cut them out. Now, they take straws or ice cream sticks to paste these cuttings on them, thereby creating puppets. Teachers call the students to the stage where they re-narrate the story. First, they start by giving out the characters and settings and then traverse through all the events one by one.  

EXAMPLE 4: Yummy Pizzas with Element Roping

Here we refer to William Steig’s Pete’s A Pizza  to retell.  The tale is all about Pete, the son of a pizza maker. Pete turns bored, and his father turns him into a pizza. The recipe for making a pizza forms an interesting sequential part of the story. These steps include dodging, chopping vegetables, adorning the base, and baking. 

Teacher can create an interesting base for children to recreate this story. To start, the teacher draws a rope with 6 or 7 knots on the board. On each knot, there is an element. Students need to answer each of these to climb up the rope accomplishing retelling. 

At first knot, the child needs to list out the characters that are Pete and his father. At the second knot, settings are to be described. Here it is the Pizza shop This ends with the last knot, where pupils need to retell the ending of the story. By this practice, learners can ensure to remember all the elements which may be missed out otherwise. 

EXAMPLE 5: Sequencing cards of innocent caterpillar

 Sequencing cards of innocent caterpillar

Here the story of retelling is The very Hungry Caterpillar. The story is all about a caterpillar who is born out of an egg with hunger. For the first six days, it eats wherever it gets insight- including fruits and junk food. This gets it a stomach ache. On the seventh day, it feeds on green and fresh leaves to feel better. 

Teachers procure several cards with scenes of the caterpillar and the item it feeds on. They shuffle these cards and place them before the pupil.  The youngster arranges them in order of the narration. Later, they pick one card and narrate what happens in that scene. Similarly, they pick other cards to complete the narration. Mentors can ensure that the student doesn’t miss out on any of the details with this practice. 

EXAMPLE 6: Turning into Ducks

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are fond of pets. They decide to hatch six ducklings. After they are brought up safely, they are sent to go back to their home. In this journey, these innocent ducks face multiple challenges like bad weather and also from predatory hawks. You can refer to the book Make way for Ducklings to grasp the story. 

To retell this story, a group of students can come together to create an act to recreate the scene. 

Six students take the roles of the six ducks, and two more become Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. They can go on stage and recreate a play of the story.  Retelling in a group makes the practice easy. Also, it enhances teamwork.

EXAMPLE 7: Neverland with story maps 

Neverland with story maps

Gwen is stuck in Neverland, and Peter Pan is looking to save her. What constrains them is the Unhooked blurs making good and evil difficult to differentiate. They have limited time to escape as Gwen is fading out her memories. The multiple stages they face to escape the neverland form the rest of the story. 

Retelling here starts with the instructor providing an empty flowchart with seven spaces in it. Students need to fill these spaces with appropriate scenes to complete them. The first space is for characters (Gwen and Peter Pan) and setting (Neverland and levels); the second space is for introduction, and so on. The last space for the children is to write what they have learned from the story.  

Story retelling- Why is it important?

Retelling, in brief, is the process of re-narrating a story or a concept to either explain to the students or to analyze their perception. It differs from summarizing as it is not just about focusing on the central motto. The following reasons make retelling pivotal for every learning child:

  • Retelling supports better comprehension of the story as it assists the student’s accommodations of re-aligning the information. Morrow outlined that retelling allows listeners to structure their responses based on their personal perceptions, thereby creating scope for recreation of the story or concept. 
  • The Pre and post discussions of the story get stronger with this practice . With stress on elements and settings, attention to detail is ensured. 
  • Sequencing the order of the story has never been easy without retelling. Children get a chance to traverse through the notion multiple times in divergent proportions, making them effortlessly remember the sequence of scenes. 
  • Retelling supports a better grip on the language. For learning disabilities who may need additional practice to master words and sounds, these practices, either in the form of written or spoken, creates scope for implicitly enhancing vocabulary and grammar. 
  • Listening to the teacher’s narration and insights, students can ensure better listening and participation in class . Evidently, stories are liked by little ones. 

Winding up with insights..

Retelling is an engaging and important strategy to implement in the classroom. These not only enhance comprehension, personalization, and sequencing; but also assist in language and vocabulary comprehension. 

When the central idea of Retelling is adorned with a few examples and importance, you may get better clarity of the concept. The instances provided offer a diverse set of ways in which students can retell a story. Check out these options and see if you can get inspired by any of them in your classroom. 

Manpreet Singh

An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having  just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of  Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’, 

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Retell Literacy Center: 20 Famous Story Retelling Ideas and Printables

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My  literacy centers  are a core part of our kindergarten schedule. They are active literacy centers that keep us on our toes and working so that I can work with small groups.

Today, let me share my kindergarten retell literacy center directions, expectations and a list of the 20 stories that make up this year-long center in our classroom.

story retelling essay

Most of the stories that I place into the retell literacy center are pretty famous (or at least well known within the world of kindergarten teachers) but there may be one or two new stories for you! It’s all about how I’ve added found and hand-made items (many for super cheap or free) to bring these stories alive.

I’m going to be honest with you – this literacy center is the one I enjoy “spying” on the most while I’m reading with my guided reading groups.

I strain from halfway across the room to hear the book language my kinders are using and to listen to the biggest billy goat gruff say, “Well come along! I’ve got two hard horns and four hard hooves. See what you can do!” {wink}

Students retell the story by using their own recall or by attempting to read well-loved books.

20 famous story retelling ideas and printables - kindergarten retell literacy center

The best props

What materials does it take? Anything you can find!

I’ve made lots of my “props,” but many of them came from scanning pictures in a book, finding freebies in the FREE box at garage sales, and the Dollar Tree.

Any left over beanie babies? You may just have a few characters you need for Polar Bear, Polar Bear…

Click any picture to read more about the book, get printables and instructions on how to make it yourself!

story retelling essay

How to makeit successful

How do my kinders know these books so well that they can retell them independently? I understand that to avoid frustration with kinders – they must know what to do and be very familiar with it before they can and will do it independently.

It’s not boring to them, they love it when its familiar and they know how to do it on their own. {It’s the same reason they can watch the same movie over and over and over.}

We read the book until they are familiar with it and can almost repeat it word for word. {}

KindergartenWorks: 20 famous story retelling ideas and printables - kindergarten retell literacy center

The first time is always just for read aloud pleasure, then the work begins dissecting the book.

Each literacy center in my classroom has a poster which dictates what their activity options are. In this particular retell center – it is simple… they only get one option.

I like to offer choice wherever I can in centers – so in this instance, choice comes into play with what book(s) they choose.

KindergartenWorks: 20 famous story retelling ideas and printables - kindergarten retell literacy center

Retell Literacy Center Directions and Standards Poster

While this center does meet CC standards, I often see lots of cooperative learning and social skill building going on here too… which is a bonus!

They’d rather retell with more kinders than less to share the parts. It’s pretty great.

How to set up this literacy center

Read aloud and rehearse.

Having laid that out, I want you to know that we will generally read the story aloud at least four times before ever releasing it into this center. We retell it as a class on the last reading (giving them a chance to see the retell prop materials in action).

Keep the set up simple

  • Choose a bucket/bin they can put all of the pieces into – including the book and props. I really like using Dollar Store bins for this center but did use book baskets as well over the years.
  • Use a velcro label on the front is perfect to switch out the materials and a picture of the book so everything gets returned to the right bucket.
  • Grab a couple of blankets to create a floor mat, stage or cozy retelling space.
  • Have a copy of the book that is just for this center (if you can). It will get lots of love and need replacing in a few years, but the price in value is golden.

KindergartenWorks: 20 famous story retelling ideas and printables - kindergarten retell literacy center

Keep it fresh all year long

To keep it fresh all year long, I simply change out the books as we learn more and then throw in some favorite older ones. We normally have 4-5 out at the center during the school year. Here is a list of the famous 20 books in our classroom.

Famous kindergarten books to retell

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Fresh Fall Leaves
  • Big Pumpkin
  • There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
  • The Little Red Hen
  • The Very Quiet Cricket
  • Red Riding Hood
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • The Gingerbread Man
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • The Fat Cat
  • Cookie’s Week
  • The Doorbell Rang
  • The Three Little Pigs

It makes me laugh at the end of the year when I put in one or two of the first books we ever did and they’re like, “I don’t really remember the words to this one.”

All it takes is me saying, “Have you tried reading the words to see if you can do it on your own?” They beam because by this point they aren’t just “remembering” the words like they were at the beginning of the year – they are reading !

Retell literacy center standards

This literacy center is all about developing a love of books by playing out the parts, recalling text, and every part of a story. Know those  Common Core standards  that are all about the parts of a story?

  • K.RL.1 – With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • K.RL.2 – With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
  • K.RL.3 – With prompting and support, identify characters, setting and major events in a story.

Well, this center is fondly known to me as the center where  books come alive , I see my students recreating the book’s setting, becoming the characters {oh, and they won’t leave out a single one} and living out the major events and key details.

With a few props and a lot of imagination, this center is always a favorite!

I hope with this collection of resources, you too can have a fantastic year-long literacy center and enjoy “spying” on your kinders as they are learning in their own retell-imagination bubble.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly!

More literacy centers

  • How to Create Smart Literacy Centers that Last All Year
  • Detective Literacy Center – read and write the room
  • Kindergarten Literacy Centers {Details, Workboard, Routine}
  • Library Literacy Center – it’s so easy!

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Leslie is the teacher behind KindergartenWorks . She believes in teaching kinders how to be pretty incredible along with teaching them to read, write and think for themselves. She enjoys drinking hot tea, making mud pies with her four kids and sharing what she's learned with teachers.

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What a wonderful idea. I love this

I LOVE this post. Thanks for the resources.

Could you please explain the directions given to the students regarding their work in the retelling center. Are they working together to produce a group retelling? If so, how do they decide on rolls, jobs etc? (I could see some problems here because everyone will want to work with the”fun” prop! I know you have a solution for that problem!) Or, are they working individually on their own retelling ? Who is the audience? Do the children takes turns in that role?

Hi Eileen, The directions are pretty basic. I don’t dictate how they have to retell and if they have to do it as a group. We model performing for an audience (the rest of the class) when we do it together before releasing it into the center. Normally they are very good about choosing on their own what they’d like to do. It’s part of the cooperative learning process as they talk about what stories they want to retell, which parts they want to play and how they set it all up. If everyone wants a turn with a certain prop, then they could potentially retell it a few times taking turns. I actually didn’t have that problem more than a handful of times over 10 years. I encouraged them to talk out a solution. They can perform for each other, but most often in my small groups of 3 I saw 1 be the narrator/reader and the other 2 take turns using the objects to tell the story. Then they’d get another story and repeat but often switching up the roles. I hope that can help! – Leslie

I noticed in your descriptiuon you mentioned what time of year you read each book. Would you mind listing them in order from beginning of the year to end of the year? Thanks!

I’ll have to consider that as a post idea – thanks!

You are a great and beautiful person, Leslie! Thank you for sharing these to us. May you and your be blessed bountiful. You are giving enormous help to a lot of parents and teachers 😀

If you want to take this a step further, have your children draw a picture or take pics of the retelling each part and make a simple class book. Add a class list with a space for comments next to each name, bind, and let the children take turns taking it home to share and re read to their families. I just did this with Mary Wore Her Red Dress.

Clever Priscilla! I can definitely see tying more literacy into every story! We love to retell most of these through some typed of shared or interactive writing piece which allows me to bring in the conventions of writing too. Thanks for sharing your tips! – Leslie

Hey there! I love your “There was an old lady…” story props. Would you by any chance have the Simms Taback version available to download? Thanks! 🙂

Hi Jessika, Thanks for asking – I have digitized only 3 of the animals so far. I’ll keep working on them! Check back as I’ll make them available when they’re complete. – Leslie

I LOVE this post Leslie!!! I was looking up literacy activities for little ones and your post popped up to my surprise 🙂 Will be using this post for our future Baby Book Club meetups <3 xoxo Mor

Thanks Mor! Glad to hear about your new permanent position 😉 Awesome stuff! -Leslie

Leslie, I posted some free printables also to go with books, the last one I made was “Cookie Week” please stop by and take a look my blog is . I love using books and making props. Gwyn

Thanks Gwyn for letting me know – I can add a link to your printable for my readers! I’d also invite you to share any of your free printable ideas on! – Leslie

All of your retell posts are getting me enthused to add another work station option for my kinder kiddos! Thanks for all the sharing!!!!!

Carried Away in…K!

Thanks Kim!

Where did you find the printouts for the very hungry caterpillar (the ones with holes in the fruit) and the old lady with the hole in her stomach? Those are wonderful!

I made the old lady ones from looking at the book – they are just drawn with marker. I can’t find the exact printables that I have pictured, but these are good ones!

Great ideas for retelling! I love that your ideas are so simple to implement. Thanks!

I love your blog and the resources you have and supply! Great job!

i also have just discovered sheets of magnetic paper you can print right onto….all kinds of possiblities

Clever Kimberly! Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to keep my eyes out. Where did you happen to find it!?

Thanks so much for these great ideas and awesome links!

do you know of the web site ? it has all kinds of books that you can print out the “flannel board” pieces for. I print them right onto “milk filters” the kind that you buy from farm supply stores for milking machines and cut to fit your printer….

Check out this link. There are GOBS of things. There are goodies for over 85 children’s book.

Love your ideas! Thank you for sharing!

Wow! Thank you so much for this awesome post and all of the ideas at the bottom!!

I love this idea for a center!!! I usually just put the flannel board story pieces with the flannel board. Your ideas will be something that they will enjoy!

I have always loved this center in your classroom. I’m going to have to print some of these to do a retell center this year. I am not nearly as good at finding these props. I love this blog post, too!

Thanks for the great literacy ideas!! Your blog is wonderful! 🙂

What excitement you all have to share in your voices! Thanks for sharing your feedback! Jennie, most items that are literacy center materials have been updated to have the common core standards (like on the posters). Thanks for asking!

I tried to touch base with stayandplay mama – hopefully her amazing items will be back up soon!

Fantastic post. You have inspired me to create this center for next year. I, too, and having trouble getting to the Stay and Play mama website. I’ve been there many times in the past, but today it says I need to be invited. Any ideas, anyone?

I LOVE this post…i need to “re-think” and “re-do” this center for my kinders next year. One thing…for some reason i can not open the links on the “Stay and Play Mama” blogspot…am I doing something wrong? As always, your things are awesome! One other quick question…have you changed all of your wonderful things to match “Common Core” standards. I have purchased a lot of your things before the common core was put in place…no big deal either way…just a question! Thanks again for everything you do! Jennie in Southern Indiana

Love Love Love this. Our retell center is so boaring compared to this. Thanks for sharing.

Wonderful! Love these ideas! Thanks!

OMG!!! This is AWESOME!!! It’s GREAT to have all of the resources right here in one spot!!! You rock!=) Thanks so much for doing this! Little Warriors

Love the literacy ideas! I think I will borrow some. Great job!

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I am new to blogging and can not believe all the goodness I’ve been missing. I don’t know how I’m going to catch up or take in all these great ideas. I found you through the birthday giveaway. I definitely am looking forward to checking out all your great ideas!! Thanks Ashley

I love, love, love that you shared these retelling props! I think it’s such a great idea for kinders and even first graders! Playground Duty

I think your blog is GREAT!! Thanks for participating in the birthday giveaway!!

What happens in kindergarten… lasts a lifetime

This is such a great way to develop language along with retell. Thanks for sharing with us. I can’t wait to see all the links. I purchased many things from Lakeshore but also made a few pieces of my own. I love to just scan pictures from the book, laminate and add felt on the back.

Great post with a multitude of resources. You continue to inspire.

First Grade Factory

Love your blog! New follower:) Found you with Ms. Kindergarten’s bday giveaway:)

4th Grade Frolics

Thanks for participating in Ms. Kindergarten’s birthday giveaway! I love your blog!

Oh my GOODNESS, thank you for sharing this! We always use the book to retell the story, and limited props, but I ADORE your creativity in making homemade props for all of these treasured books! I will be adding this center! AND I’m featuring your post on my blog! Thanks so so MUCH!

Love your ideas! I have a station for re-tell…but had never thought about doing Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with magnet letters…duh!? Where have I been? lol Thanks for sharing!! Jennifer First Grade Blue SKies

I LOVE that you shared this!! I am in a school where the principal moved from middle school to elementary. He doesn’t get kinders at all and I had to fight to get retelling and dramatic play back in my classroom. I love all your ideas of props… one that I wanted to add was letting the children create their own props. I have an end of the day free choice time where one of the choices is “creation station”. The kids have several choices of things to make and one is “something that is missing from retelling”. In years past I’ve had kids create “froggy” feet or Author’s glasses. It’s fun to see what they feel is missing or needed in the center!

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Telling Stories: Sequencing for ESL Students

Learn how to organize your phrases with sequence writing exercises

  • Pronunciation & Conversation
  • Writing Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Business English
  • Resources for Teachers

EXAMPLE PASSAGE: A Conference in Chicago

Sequencing steps, events occurring at the same time, test your knowledge.

  • TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London
  • M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music
  • B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music

Telling stories is common in any language . Think of all the situations in which you might tell a story in everyday life:

  • Talking about last weekend to a friend.
  • Giving details about something that happened during a job interview.
  • Relating information about your family to your children.
  • Telling colleagues about what happened on a business trip.

In each of these situations—and many others—you provide information about something that happened in the past. To help your audience understand your stories, you need to link this information from the past together. One of the most important ways to link ideas is to sequence them. The passages below are good examples of sequenced ideas. Read the examples and then measure your understanding with a quiz. The answers are at the bottom.

Last week, I visited Chicago to attend a business conference. While I was there , I decided to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. To start off, my flight was delayed. Next, the airline lost my luggage, so I had to wait for two hours at the airport while they tracked it down. Unexpectedly, the luggage had been set aside and forgotten.

As soon as they found my luggage, I found a taxi and rode into town. During the ride into town, the driver told me about his last visit to the Art Institute. After I had arrived safely, everything began to go smoothly. The business conference was very interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the institute. Finally , I caught my flight back to Seattle.

Luckily, everything went smoothly. I arrived home just in time to kiss my daughter goodnight.

Sequencing refers to the order in which events happened. Sequencing is often made easier by the use of transition words. Following are some of the most common words and expressions used to sequence when writing or speaking.

Beginning your story

Create the beginning of your story with these expressions. Use a comma after the introductory phrase.

  • First of all,
  • To start off with,
  • To begin with,

Examples of these beginning phrases in use include:

  • To begin with, I began my education in London.
  • First of all, I opened the cupboard.
  • To start off with, we decided our destination was New York.
  • Initially, I thought it was a bad idea.

Continuing the story

You can continue the story with the following expressions, or use a time clause beginning with "as soon as" or "after." When using a time clause, use the  past simple  after the time expression, such as:

  • After that,
  • As soon as / When + full clause,
  • ...but then
  • Immediately,

Examples of using these continuing phrases in a story include:

  • Then, I started to get worried.
  • After that, we knew that there would be no problem!
  • Next, we decided on our strategy.
  • As soon as we arrived, we unpacked our bags.
  • We were sure everything was ready, but then we discovered some unexpected problems.
  • Immediately, I telephoned my friend Tom.

Interruptions and Adding New Elements to the Story

You can use the following expressions to add suspense to your story:

  • Unexpectedly,

Examples of using these interrupting phrases or turning to a new element include:

  • Suddenly, a child burst into the room with a note for Ms. Smith.
  • Unexpectedly, the people in the room didn't agree with the mayor.

Ending the Story

Mark the end of your story with these introductory phrases:

  • In the end,
  • Eventually,

Examples of using these ending words in a story include:

  • Finally, I flew to London for my meeting with Jack.
  • In the end, he decided to postpone the project.
  • Eventually, we became tired and returned home.

When you tell stories, you will also need to give reasons for actions. Review tips on  linking your ideas  and providing reasons for your actions  to help you understand how to do so.

The use of "while" and "as" introduce a  dependent clause  and require an  independent clause  to complete your sentence. "During" is used with a noun, noun phrase, or noun clause and does not require a subject and object. The construction for this kind of sentence is:

  • While / As + subject + verb + dependent clause or independent clause + while / as + subject + verb

An example of using "while" in a sentence is:

  • While I was giving the presentation, a member of the audience asked an interesting question.
  • Jennifer told her story as I prepared dinner.

The construction for using "during" in a sentence is:

  • During + noun (noun clause)

Examples of using "during" in a sentence include:

  • During the meeting, Jack came over and asked me a few questions.
  • We explored a number of approaches during the presentation. 

Provide an appropriate sequencing word to fill in the blanks. The answers follow the quiz.

My friend and I visited Rome last summer. (1) ________, we flew from New York to Rome in first class. It was fantastic! (2) _________ we arrived in Rome, we (3) ______ went to the hotel and took a long nap. (4) ________, we went out to find a great restaurant for dinner. (5) ________, a scooter appeared out of nowhere and almost hit me! The rest of the trip had no surprises. (6) __________, we began to explore Rome. (7) ________ the afternoons, we visited ruins and museums. At night, we hit the clubs and wandered the streets. One night, (8) ________ I was getting some ice cream, I saw an old friend from high school. Imagine that! (9) _________, we caught our flight back to New York. We were happy and ready to begin work again.

Multiple answers are possible for some of the blanks:

  • First of all / To start off with / Initially / To begin with
  • As soon as / When
  • immediately
  • Then / After that / Next 
  • Suddenly / Unexpectedly 
  • While / As 
  • Finally / In the end / Eventually
  • Text Organization
  • Learn to Order Events for Narrative Writing Assignments
  • 10 Common Sentence Mistakes in English
  • Subordinate Clauses: Concessive, Time, Place and Reason Clauses
  • 3 Tips to Improve Writing in English
  • Using Adverb Clauses with Time Expressions
  • Complex Sentence Worksheet
  • Teaching Writing to Beginning ESL Students
  • Making Complaints in English
  • Uses for the Preposition "At"
  • Writing Sentences for Beginners
  • Common Present Simple Exceptions
  • How to Use the Preposition 'To'
  • Adverb Placement in English
  • Intermediate Level English Practice: Tenses and Vocabulary
  • Compound-Complex Sentence Worksheet

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Essay: Students retelling a story (learning objective, reflective)

Essay details and download:.

  • Subject area(s): Education essays
  • Reading time: 9 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 7 September 2021*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 2,478 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 10 (approx)
  • Tags: Reflective essay examples

Text preview of this essay:

This page of the essay has 2,478 words. Download the full version above.

The specific learning objective measured during the assessment chosen for analysis is students retelling a story, including who, what, when, and where, sequencing with the terms first, next, then and last. Students were asked to caption one of the four major events from the book using their prior knowledge and anchor chart. The state standards addressed in this learning segment are K.RL.KID.2 With prompting and support, orally retell familiar stories, including key details and K.W.TTP.3 With prompting and support, use a combination of drawing, dictating, and/or writing to narrate a single event. Students should be able to describe characters, events, and setting, using key details in their explanation of events. The students in my classroom demonstrated proficiency when retelling the events of a story or book. Most students could complete a verbal retell of the events at an independent level, but some students struggled when trying to differentiate the events in the middle of the book (next and then) and needed some prompting from the teacher. When asked to retell the events of a story, students were asked to relay key details such as who, what, when and where. Students were able to retell the story with most of the details required, but it seemed that many students struggled to relay “when” an event occurred. When asked to retell the story presented in the learning segment, students were required to use sequencing terms, vocabulary presented, and key details from the text. When students became stumped or needed help, they received one-on-one support from the teacher during small-group work. In this learning segment, please note that Focus Student 1 falls below expectation (student with a 504 Plan), Focus Student 2 meets expectation, and Focus Student 3 exceeded expectation. When asked to retell the events of the story from beginning to end (sequencing), the majority (89%) of students were able to do so without prompting from the teacher. There were the fewest number of struggling students in completing this aspect of the task; I believe this is due to the fact that we discussed the terms “first, next, then and last” in great detail before Lesson 2. Only two students were unable to sequence events using the terms first, next, then and last correctly. The largest number of students mastered this aspect of retelling a story, which can arguably be one of the most important factors of a retell. All 3 of my focus students were able to use correct sequencing terms when discussing the text. When asked to use vocabulary from the text, most (79%) students were able to do so. Students exhibited basic understanding of vocabulary terms but struggled to explain how to apply their knowledge of sequencing to a new text. Students were generally able to define and explain how we find “who, where, when, and what” from the book, but about 1/3 of the class struggled with how to determine “when” an event occurred, as mentioned previously. When students were asked “when” something occurred in the book, they often became confused. This was a common error that occurred during the students’ retells of the story. None of the 3 focus students chosen from this learning segment relayed “when” each event occurred during their retells of the story. Focus Student 1 did not meet expectations, as this student only relayed two details from the text: who and what. Focus Student 2 met expectations, as this student relayed 3 out of 4 details from the text: who, where, and what. Focus Student 3 exceeded expectations, as this student relayed 3 out of 4 details from the text with great transition words and more detail. I felt that this finding from the 3 focus students was reflective of whole class learning, so I will plan to reengage students in a task that focuses on how to decide when something happens. In doing so, students can compare key words and visuals that give insight into when something occurs. Students seemed to be able to recall key details well, as 84% were able to demonstrate their knowledge of the book during their retells. There are only 4 characters in the book, and only 2 that students become familiar with (see in more than one scene). I felt that students would easily remember details from the text, as it is developmentally appropriate for their age. All 3 of my focus students were able to identify the two main characters from the book: Corduroy and Lisa. I felt that this was reflective of whole group learning— students know how to identify and remember key details such as character, or “who.” Other important details include where something happened, when it happened, and what happened. As mentioned previously, students were able to identify “where” and “what,” but struggled to identify “when” an event occurred. To be considered as a student who “exceeds expectations,” students were required to identify 3 out of 4 key details and use necessary transition words during their retell. In relation to recalling key details, I had three students who were below expectation and five students who were above expectation. There were few students who seemed to have a need for greater challenge as I based their assessments from ability. My highest level students seemed to be engaged with this lesson, as they were able to help other students spell words and create longer captions for their chosen scene from the book I am going to have mini-conferences with all of my students during the next literacy block. Feedback will be written on a sticky note that is attached to their work, and we will discuss the feedback they were given. We will read their written retell aloud and conference about what the student did well and what the student did not do well. Overall, my students seemed to be able to use the selected language function of retelling. This ability was demonstrated through verbal retells of a story accompanied by captioning a scene from the book. Students were able to use the terms first, next, then, and last, and recognize characters, setting, and min events of the story. Students were able to use the supporting language functions of summarizing and sequencing. The ability to retell a story varied pretty significantly in this classroom in terms of relaying key details and vocabulary knowledge. For two of my struggling readers, the task of retelling a story using appropriate transition words was difficult. These students needed prompts to appropriately sequence the events of the book. These students left out many key details when retelling the events of the story and had trouble remembering some characters names, such as Lisa and the Night Watchman. Level B-D students (the majority of the class) were able to use transition words appropriately and were able to sequence events correctly most of the time, although some students did struggle and need teacher prompting. Level B students were able to sequence the order of events but left out many key details when retelling the story. In order for students to be able to correctly retell a story, they were required to sequence the four main events using the terms first, next, then and last. Though almost all of the class did this, many students left of important information to the story. Students generally left out information pertaining to “when” the story occurred, and “where” it occurred. In all 3 of my Focus Student’s written assessments, they demonstrated their ability to use their chosen scene’s required language use of the word “first.” In this assessment, students were tasked with using the appropriate sequencing word and sentence to match the scene of the picture. Students were asked to provide appropriate details in relation to the scene, demonstrating their knowledge and language use of the terms “who, what, when, and where.” Students were able to successfully utilize the vocabulary and key phrases required of the learning segment. Students were able to demonstrate understanding of the terms first, next, then and last. Students demonstrated understanding of how to retell as I asked the class what words we use when we use this language function and several students raised their hands to answer: first, next, then and last. As a class, we thoroughly discussed these terms. Students were also required to have an understanding of the terms who, what, when and where in relation to a story. During the learning segment, all of these aspects of the book were discussed. Focus Student 1 demonstrated their knowledge of “who” and “what” in their writing: “First Lisas waated to buy Corduroy.” (First, Lisa wanted to buy Corduroy.) Focus Student 3 demonstrated their knowledge of “who,” “where,” and “what” in their writing: “In the first part of the story lisa wanted to buy Corduroy but she couldn’t buy Corduroy at the toy store.” Students seemed to have a good understanding of the terms presented and how to apply their knowledge of these terms to the story presented. When I questioned students about who, what, when, and where, they demonstrated a clear understanding of “who” and “where” events were taking place. Students seemed to understand the concepts of “when” and “what” but both of these aspects of the story take some inferencing. I found this to be somewhat difficult for some students in the class to grasp. When we talked about “when” something was taking place, students generally relied on the pictures. Even when I scaffolded instruction and went back to reread certain sections of the book, students were confused when determining when something took place. When retelling the order of events, students generally talked about who and what, but did not generally relay details such as when and where. Students talked about “what” was happening as they were depicting the scene from the four main events of the book. Students were asked to write a caption depending on their current reading level and ability. Some students explicitly talked about who, what, when, and where, but these students were prompted to give more information from the teacher to extend the lesson. In terms of students understanding of syntax and discourse, most students demonstrated understanding of the requirements of this lesson. Students ability to use discourse was demonstrated throughout the entire learning segment: during the read aloud, turn and talk opportunities, higher order thinking questions, and small group work. During each of these activities, students had the opportunity to use the terms presented in the lesson and demonstrate and understanding of the discourse of the learning segment. When discussing the parts of the story in small group, all 3 focus students were able to give me an oral retell (oral discourse) of the events in the story, citing key details and correct vocabulary use. Focus Student 1 said, “You can always find the “first” part of the story at the beginning of the book.” Students were able to retell the order of events from the story and answer questions about the story. Students demonstrated an understanding of syntax as they generally used proper capitalization and punctuation when captioning their chosen scene from the book. Focus Student 2 demonstrated their knowledge of syntax in their writing through capitalizing the first word in the sentence, and using a period at the end of the sentence: “First Lisa wanted to buy Corduroy at the store.” Focus Student 3 demonstrated their knowledge of syntax in their writing by using an apostrophe in the word “couldn’t:” In the first part of the story lisa wanted to buy Corduroy but she couldn’t buy Corduroy at the toy store. Though Focus Student 3 properly punctuated their sentence, they did not capitalize the proper noun “Lisa.” I have no students with IEPS, and one student with a 504 plan. I have another student who is currently being screened for speech. When planning a learning segment, it is important to consider students’ prior knowledge, dispositions in the classroom, and academic areas that some students struggle with. My next steps for learning in the classroom would take into account the amount of information gathered from the learning segment. Since the majority of the class demonstrated mastery, I will scaffold instruction from here. I will work with struggling readers and writers in small groups to improve reading comprehension through reading and retelling and using visual aids. Students were generally able to define and explain how we find “who, where, when, and what” from the book, but about 1/3 of the class struggled with how to determine “when” an event occurred, as mentioned previously. I believe that these terms could have been elaborated on more from the teacher standpoint. The largest number of students struggled with vocabulary use, which is why I believe students need a reengagement lesson on the terms that were required of the learning segment. In terms of whole group instruction, I will continue to work on sequencing skills and use of transition words. The majority of class needs help when retelling a story as they rely too much on teacher prompting and aid. Students have the ability to retell a story on their own, but do not have the confidence to do so. Even my level C and D readers relied of teacher prompts, then they seemed to know the answer. In this classroom, there are 4 struggling readers and writers, who had the support and accommodation of a print off anchor chart. I would like to provide visual aids on the print off anchor charts, as well as shorter sentences, in the future. To continue teaching these students, I will model the strategy of retelling during small group instruction. I will fill out mini anchor charts while reading to demonstrate the understanding of first, next, then and last. When students have the opportunity to witness a story being retold, it provides opportunity for them to observe and practice this strategy. For students who have mastered the strategy of retelling, I will have these students demonstrate a deeper understanding for the story in their writing. These students will be expected to cite information in their writing relating to who, what, when, and where as well as first, next, then or last. These students will be asked to sequence more events as their understanding deepens, and use the words “beginning, middle, and end” or “first, next, then, after, last.” These students will use their knowledge gained from this lesson to scaffold instruction and knowledge for the next lesson. To aid students in their ability to accurately retell the events from a story, I will continue working on this strategy in the classroom. I will model the strategy of retelling in longer and more difficult texts, relaying more key details from the text. I will give students more opportunities to participate in oral and written retelling of stories. I believe that scaffolding instruction is extremely important when teaching strategies such as these. Since students were asked to write a caption from one scene in the book, in the next assignment students will be asked to write a caption from all four scenes of the book.

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History of Storytelling, Essay Example

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The history of storytelling goes back to the dawn of humankind as a way to share with future generations. The centuries of storytelling covers every civilization from the beginning of time that has shared historical cultural moments. The folklore has used the word of mouth from generation to generation to share the story of their civilization. The storytelling tradition is the primary reason society has developed over millions of years. The art of storytelling has existed long before history was recorded on cave walls. The previous civilizations all contributed some kind of storytelling methods to share the knowledge of the past. The cave dwellers use rocks to record history, the priest recorded the gospel and the romans used artifacts. The world could not have the technology today without lessons learned from past generations by the way of storytelling.

The storytelling process is still apart of society today such as parents documenting their family trees to preserve for their children. The family sitting around a campfire telling stories about their grandparent’s journey and lessons learned. The NASA organization that put people on the month sends messages such as broadcast of the Beatles songs transmitted from the satellite in space (NASA, 2008). The results of storytelling are all around us from the traditions, family trees and the way of life, that extends across the universe. It does not matter what country or civilization has been built on the historical successes and failures from the archives of past civilizations. The Americans, Africans, French and Germans all have learned from our previous societies that has improved our knowledge base, technology, agriculture, laws and everything in our society that makes us great today.

The history of storytelling has been shared in many forms such as oral, written, ballads, musical pieces, art expression, and drawings. The only way any civilization can learn from the past is though storytelling that shares important information for the next generation. The storytelling process can be seen as a way for families to track their own family traditions. Another important purpose of storytelling is how different civilization passing down their knowledge learned and contributions to society. The secondary purpose of storytelling is to clarify events, floods or disasters so the next generation would have the knowledge of how to live with nature. The third purpose of storytelling is to share he common belief systems that bound each generation to the next generation concerning beliefs and heritage. One of the purposes of storytelling is the transfers knowledge, stories, and traditions keeping the stories of the past in the present.

The best example is the story of “The Christmas story” that is reacted in most churches around the world is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The biblical story about Jesus Christ has been handed down from generation to generation in the form of storytelling (Harrington 1). The art of storytelling was perfected long before man could write and stories were passed forward by memory, carvings in caves, and perfecting the art of listening.

There are many purposes of storytelling such as the interaction between society that keeps each generation link to each other in culture, traditions, and beliefs. The storytelling purpose for the past societies was not for entertainment purposes it an opportunity for families to bond. The storytelling was a way to pass on family traditions in the context of the society as a whole. The primary method would be the oral telling of historical events however, before man could talk cave drawings with pictures passed on wisdom.

Importance Development of Human Society

Storytelling is important because it helps develop human society by sharing the way each society lived for the next generations. The development of the human society could not have progressed without the passing on knowledge and lessons learned from earlier civilizations. The storytelling has been the reason that each generation has evolved and improved. According to Jirata and Simonsen (2014), storytelling has been a ritual that allowed cultures to transfer cultural habits, social norms, and cultural values. In addition, the narratives are retold by the children to preserve and help the development of the human race (pg.1). The historical events such as major floods that wiped out towns or the devastation of a culture because of water droughts or the passing of comets in the atmosphere 100 years ago all have knowledge to help the future generations survive.

The survival of each generation has led to the next generation benefiting from the storytelling improving our values becoming a better society. The development of humankind is based on what we learn from the past ensuring not to make the same mistakes. Storytelling gives meaning to life for each civilization along with the ability to document historical events that would have been forgotten. The historical moments are recorded because a person’s memory can fade, documents can be lost, and the retelling of the story can lose its meaning. However, the different forms of storytelling ensure the information is never entirely lost for future generations. The human society learns from stories about religion, legends, historical events, and belief systems. There are many different races has used storytelling to keep their traditions and culture. The Africans have a rich storytelling process to keep all forms of their culture alive for the next generation. They utilize all forms of storytelling such as teaching poetry, historical journals, cultural narratives and African arts artifacts (VanZanten, 2012).

The storytelling ritual has become the staple of every generation passing on important culture events. The generations today have to determine which information is fiction and which is real. The storytelling process has play a major part in the recording of human history. The storytelling systems serve civilizations with ways of communicating, sharing information, historical events documented, entertainment, instructions, and sharing of cultures. The development of human society could not move into the future without culture being shared. The Indians used their version of storytelling to keep alive their ancestors. The Native Americans has a rich culture from the early days of the West while passing down Indian ways of life, customs, and heritage. There difference cultures that have different ways of passing down culture with storytelling such as the Asia’s using art to pass down history, Americans use the Constitution to pass down knowledge to the next generation and the Japanese use calligraphy and language to pass on their traditions and way of life.

The oral traditions of the Native Americans are a great example on why storytelling of human society is important. The American Natives were wiped out with chicken pox because Americans passed on the deadly virus that killed millions of American Natives. The tribes had to rely on oral traditions of storytelling to keep their rich tradition alive. The American Natives used oral stories, clay drawings, memorization, and tribal cultural storytelling. This is important to the human race because the storytelling is a process that helps the future generations determine what is fiction, folklore and reality of the past(Hadaway,2012). The importance of any society learning from the past relies on the storytelling from previous civilizations. The purpose of storytelling provides a roadmap for the new generation to follow avoiding the errors and mistakes of the past.

Works Cited

Hadaway, Nancy L., and Terrell A. Young. “Good storytelling brings history alive: an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson.” Reading Today 30.2 (2012): 16+. General OneFile. Web. 1 May 2015.

Harrington, Daniel J. “How much ‘storytelling’?” America 5 Nov. 2007: 32+. General OneFile. Web. 2 May 2015.

Jirata, Tadesse Jaleta, and Jan Ketil Simonsen. “The roles of Oromo-speaking children in the storytelling tradition in Ethiopia.” Research in African Literatures 45.2 (2014): 135+. General OneFile . Web. 1 May 2015.

NASA.” NASA beams Beatles: Across the Universe.” Feb. 2008. Web 2 May 2015.

VanZanten, Susan. “Introduction: African narrative and the Christian tradition: storytelling and identity.” Christianity and Literature 61.3 (2012): 369+. General OneFile. Web. 2 May 2015.

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  • Main content

Retellings are books that put a modern spin on classic novels — these are the 21 best titles

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  • From fairytales to ancient legends, classic stories have influenced new books for centuries.
  • Retellings of classic books imagine our favorite characters and stories with a new, modern twist. 
  • We've rounded up some of the best retellings of classics, from " Don Quixote " to " Cinderella ."

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Whether it's the magical tale of " Beauty and the Beast " or a well-loved Jane Austen novel like " Pride and Prejudice ," classic stories whisk us away to magical lands and inspire a lifetime of reading. In contemporary retellings, authors reimagine our favorite legends and heroes in new and exciting stories. 

Each retelling on this list was influenced by an ancient myth, a magical fairytale, or a work of classic literature. To gather these recommendations, I looked at popular reads from lists on Audible , Goodreads , and Bookshop . 

Whether you're looking for a fresh perspective on an old fairytale or to discover an ancient legend in a new setting, retellings offer exciting reimaginations of our favorite stories. 

The 21 best retellings of classic books and stories:

"to kill a kingdom" by alexandra christo.

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.89

Princess Lira is a royal siren with an impressive record of 17 princes killed. When she disobeys her mother, the Sea Queen turns her into a human who must deliver Prince Elian's heart — a siren killer — or remain a human forever in this dark and vicious romantic fantasy. 

Retelling: " The Little Mermaid " by Hans Christian Andersen 

"Anna K: A Love Story" by Jenny Lee

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.11

" Anna K " is a modern YA retelling of a classic romance, perfect for anyone who loved "Gossip Girl." Anna K. is a 17-year-old girl at the height of Manhattan society who has always managed to avoid the teenage drama and problems that plague her friends and family. When a new boy with a bad reputation comes into her life, Anna can't resist the gravity that seems to pull them together. 

Retelling: " Anna Karenina " by Leo Tolstoy

"Pride" by Ibi Zoboi

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.99

In this retelling of a Jane Austen classic , Zuri Benitez is proud of her Afro-Latino family in Brooklyn and can't stand to see the neighborhood gentrifying around her. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, she's repulsed by Darius' arrogance — yet their initial dislike grows into a mutual understanding in this novel's exploration of race and class, illuminated by Ibi Zoboi's poetic writing style.

Retelling: " Pride and Prejudice " by Jane Austen

"Quichotte" by Salman Rushdie

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.29

Sam DuChamp is an Indian writer living in America who has authored a series of unsuccessful spy thrillers. He eventually creates a character named Ismail Smile who falls in love with an unattainable television star and begins to send love letters under the pen name "Quichotte." As his character sets off on a cross-country journey to prove his worthiness of the star's love, Sam DuChamp's personal crises prove urgent in this playful and satirical retelling.

Retelling: " Don Quixote " by Miguel De Cervantes

"Cinder" by Marissa Meyer

story retelling essay

The first in a series of new imaginings of fairy tales in a futuristic world, " Cinder " features a cyborg retelling of "Cinderella," set in New Beijing as a plague devastates the city. As the merciless Lunar people watch from space, Cinder's life intertwines with the prince's and she must dig into her mysterious past in the hopes of saving the planet. 

Retelling: " Cinderella " by Charles Perrault

"Blanca & Roja "by Anna-Marie McLemore

story retelling essay

Blanca and Roja are sisters but (more importantly) bitter rivals, bound by a generations-old spell that will one day leave one of them a girl and the other trapped in the body of a swan. Woven with magical realism and spell-binding storytelling, this story is a gorgeous and diverse fairytale retelling as two local boys get entangled in the unpredictable magic within the woods. 

Retelling: "Snow-White and Rose-Red" by the Brothers Grimm

"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.80

" A Court of Thorns and Roses " is the first in a hugely popular five-book fantasy series about a huntress who is captured and stolen away to a magical land after killing a protected wolf on a hunt. As Feyre uncovers the truths about the beast who captured her, her resentment slowly shifts to burning passion. When a looming evil threatens the magical land, Feyre must decide where her loyalties truly lie. 

Retelling: " Beauty and the Beast " by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve 

"Recipe for Persuasion" by Sonali Dev

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.71

Chef Ashna Raje is struggling to keep her father's once-popular restaurant alive when an opportunity to win a huge grand prize on a reality cooking show offers the answers to all her problems.  When she's paired up with the worst possible partner, Rico Silva — a soccer star and Ashna's first love — the competition heats up and brings their past relationship to the forefront. Ashna and Rico must navigate both in this romantic comedy that also addresses more complex issues.

Retelling: " Persuasion " by Jane Austen

"Home Fire" by Kamila Shamsie

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.49

Separated into five sections that each reveal the experiences of a single character, " Home Fire " is an insightful but heartbreaking story about a British Muslim family who struggles between love and loyalty when a shadow of a terrorist threat looms over them. Isma spent most of her young life raising her younger twin siblings, Aneeka and Parvaiz, but is now off to America to pursue her own dreams. When Parvaiz disappears to explore the dark legacy of their father, his resurfacing brings Isma's worst fears to life. 

Retelling: " Antigone " by Sophocles

"Meg & Jo" by Virginia Kantra

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.85

In this contemporary reimagination of a beloved classic, the March sisters are all grown up and have pursued their separate dreams. Meg is living the charming family life she thought always wanted while Jo is struggling in New York City after a painful end to her journalism career. When their mother falls ill, the sisters rush home for the holidays and find that family and sisterhood may be the key to truly understanding their dreams.

Retelling: " Little Women " by Louisa May Alcott

"If The Shoe Fits" by Julie Murphy

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.28

When Cindy, a recent college graduate with a degree in shoe design, starts working for her stepmother behind the scenes of a reality show, she's hoping it's just temporary until she can launch her fashion career. But when a spot on the show needs filling, Cindy volunteers and finds herself quickly becoming a plus-size icon for viewers everywhere. From the author of " Dumplin ," this romance is a fun and fabulous retelling of a classic fairytale.  

"Six Crimson Cranes" by Elizabeth Lim

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $15.99

This novel begins with a simple and elegant story and quickly builds to a mesmerizing and breathtaking fairytale retelling. Shiori is a princess who is usually able to conceal her secret, forbidden magic. But when her stepmother banishes her and turns her brothers into cranes, Shiori searches for them and uncovers an overwhelming conspiracy that only she can stop.

Retelling: " The Wild Swans " by Hans Christian Andersen

"Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World," Retold by Bolu Babalola

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $17.29

" Love in Color " is a collection of short stories about love that retell ancient myths and legends from an array of countries and cultures. Perfect for lovers of romance and happy endings, this anthology brings a vibrancy to classic tales with contemporary twists.

Retelling: Various folktales and legends from West Africa, the Middle East, and Greece

"Dorothy Must Die" by Danielle Paige

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.99

In this retelling exploring the darker side of Oz, Amy Gumm is another girl from Kansas who has been trained by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to kill Dorothy, the violent and unforgiving ruler of Oz. Amy must take the Tin Man's heart, the Scarecrow's brain, and the Lion's courage on her dark journey to restore Oz to the way it's supposed to be.

Retelling: " The Wizard of Oz " by L. Frank Baum

"Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.99

In this award-winning fantasy retelling, Miryem sets out to save her family from her father's debts and quickly gains a reputation for being able to spin silver into gold. When Miryem's skills catch the attention of an evil creature, she's given an impossible task that sets her on a journey to save the kingdom — and herself. 

Retelling: " Rumpelstiltskin " by the Brothers Grimm

"The Wrath and the Dawn" by Renée Ahdieh

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.41

" The Wrath and the Dawn " is an enchanting and magical story where Khalid, an 18-year-old king, takes a bride each night and kills them by morning, devastating families throughout the kingdom every day. When Shahrzad's friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad hatches a plan for revenge and volunteers to be his next bride but is quickly entangled in a betrayal far more complex than she could have imagined. 

Retelling: " The Arabian Nights "

"The Girl in Red" by Christina Henry

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $12.94

" The Girl in Red " is a suspenseful, post-apocalyptic retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" where the population has been devastated by an epidemic and terrifying predators emerge from the woods at night. Alternating between the past and the present, Red must reach her grandmother's house and try to survive in this brutal and twisted dystopia.

Retelling: " Little Red Riding Hood " by the Brothers Grimm

"Legendborn" by Tracy Deonn

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $15.19

In this modern retelling of Arthurian legends, Bree Matthews escapes to a residential high school program for gifted students after her mother dies in a tragic accident. When Bree witnesses a magical attack on her first night, a secret society of magical students unveils an entire world of hidden memories and well-kept secrets, including Bree's own magical powers and the circumstances of her mother's death. 

Retelling: King Arthur legends

"Ayesha at Last" by Uzma Jalaluddin

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.59

Ayesha is working to pay off her debts to her uncle while constantly being reminded that her younger cousin has received countless marriage proposals. Certain she doesn't want an arranged marriage, Ayesha meets Khalid and can't stand that she's attracted to him despite his judgemental attitude. When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Ayesha's cousin is announced, Ayesha must confront her family's gossip and her deeply personal discoveries about herself to find what she truly wants. 

"A Study in Charlotte" by Brittany Cavallaro

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $5.01

When Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughters of the famous detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, meet at a prep school in Connecticut, it seems they might make better rivals than friends. But when a student dies under mysterious circumstances mirrored from an old Sherlock Holmes story, Jamie and Charlotte are framed as the culprits and must solve the mystery to clear their names.

Retelling: " Sherlock Holmes " by Arthur Conan Doyle

"An Orchestra of Minorities" by Chigozie Obioma

story retelling essay

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $12.49

In this original and beautiful retelling of " The Odyssey ," the life of a young farmer named Chinonso is changed after he stops a woman named Ndali from jumping off a bridge. They fall in love, but when Ndali's wealthy and educated family refuses their union, Chinonso sets off on a long and devastating journey to prove himself worthy. 

Retelling: " The Odyssey " by Homer

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story retelling essay



Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Son “Pumped” on Bagging a Key Role in Retelling the Dark Story of Late NFL Superstar Aaron Hernandez: “This Story Is So Wild”

Posted: November 12, 2023 | Last updated: November 12, 2023

Bodybuilding legend-turned-Hollywood action superstar, Arnold Schwarzenegger left an everlasting impact on action cinema. The 80s and 90s action icon starred in some revolutionary films. Inspired by his father’s achievements, Arnie’s eldest son Patrick Schwarzenegger has followed in his footsteps. Earlier, the 30-year-old actor talked about his upcoming project on FX.

After impressing fans with his short stint on Amazon Prime’s Gev V, Patrick Schwarzenegger shared some exciting news. The bodybuilding legend’s son revealed he star in the upcoming FX project, American Sport Sotry. The Midnight Sun star will portray former New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. “IM PUMPED,” wrote Patrick Schwarzenegger earler as he announced the news on social media.

The project will focus on the life, career and downfall of late NFL star Aaron Hernandez. “This story is so wild. Aaron Hernandez had a wild life and career,” the 30-year-old wrote in the catpion of his post.

The post Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Son “Pumped” on Bagging a Key Role in Retelling the Dark Story of Late NFL Superstar Aaron Hernandez: “This Story Is So Wild” appeared first on EssentiallySports .

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Son “Pumped” on Bagging a Key Role in Retelling the Dark Story of Late NFL Superstar Aaron Hernandez: “This Story Is So Wild”

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Hamilton writer Anuja Varghese has won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction for her short story collection  Chrysalis .

  Chrysalis  is among the 14 titles, seven in English and seven in French, that were acknowledged by the Governor General's Literary Awards as the best books in 2023.

The prizes, administered by the  Canada Council for the Arts , are awarded in seven English-language categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people's literature — text, young people's literature — illustration, drama and French-to-English translation. French-language awards are also given out in the same categories. A total of $450,000 is awarded across all the prizes annually.

The winner in each category will receive $25,000. The remaining  finalists will each receive $1,000.

Books published between Aug. 1, 2022 and July 31, 2023 were eligible for the 2023 awards. The finalists and winners are chosen by a peer assessment committee for each category.

A book cover featuring a black and pastel illustration of a moth on leaves.

Chrysalis  is a short story collection that centres South Asian women, showing how they reclaim their power in a world that constantly undermines them. Exploring sexuality, family and cultural norms, this collection deals with desire and transformation. 

"I never saw myself in the books I was reading. And I think that's changing now," she said in an interview with  The Next Chapter . " There's very rarely that kind of main character energy, especially for brown women, especially for queer brown women."

Toronto-based author Kyo Maclear won the nonfiction category for her memoir  Unearthing . After the father who raised her dies, she learns that he is not biologically related to her. In this memoir, she unravels the story of her biological father and explores what it really means to be a family.  

Winnipeg writer Hannah Green won the poetry category for her collection,  Xanax Cowboy , which follows a pill-popping, whiskey drinking woman with a reputation like a rattlesnake. 

Green book cover that has an overlay of text and a plant image using yellow paint-like strokes.

William Shakespeareʼs As You Like It: A Radical Retelling ,  a subversive update to Shakespeare's classic from an Indigenous perspective, by playwright and actor Cliff Cardinal, won the drama category.

  • How Cliff Cardinal's play tricked audiences into confronting Canada's relationship with Indigenous people

Alberta-based Sarah Everett won the young people's literature — text category for her YA novel  The Probability of Everything  while Halifax's Jack Wong won the young people's literature — illustrated books category for his picture book  When You Can Swim .

Rosaʼs Very Own Personal Revolution , written by Éric Dupont and translated by Peter McCambridge won the award for French-to-English translation.

The Governor General's Literary Awards were created in 1936. Past winners include  Thomas King ,  Madeleine Thien ,  Michael Ondaatje ,  Alice Munro  and  Margaret Atwood .

The  Canada Council for the Arts  is a partner of the  CBC Literary Prizes . The  CBC Nonfiction Prize  will open in January, the  CBC Poetry Prize  will open in April and the  CBC Short Story Prize  opened in September.

Keep reading to learn more about the 2023 Governor General's Literary Award English-language winners.

Fiction:   Chrysalis  by Anuja Varghese

A book cover featuring an illustration of a moth on some leaves and a photo of the book's author, a woman with long black hair wearing a purple shirt.

Chrysalis  is a short story collection that examines the ways in which racialized women are undermined and exploited and the ways in which they reclaim their power. Blending realism with elements of fantasy, Varghese tells stories of a woman dying in her sleep repeatedly until she finds an unexpected refuge or a couple in a broken marriage encountering spiritual direction. Each story looks at family, sexuality, cultural norms and the ties that bind. 

CBC Books' writers to watch: 30 Canadian writers making their mark in 2023

Anuja Varghese is a Hamilton, Ont.-based writer and editor. Her stories have been recognized in the Prism International Short Fiction Contest and the Alice Munro Festival Short Story Competition and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  Chrysalis  is her first book.

Chrysalis seamlessly blends realism with the otherworldly to achieve a work that is rollicking and wry, gleeful and ominous. - 2023 peer assessment committee

"A passionate, sophisticated collection of stories that highlights Anuja Varghese's impressive range,  Chrysalis  seamlessly blends realism with the otherworldly to achieve a work that is rollicking and wry, gleeful and ominous. Each story is complex and intimate, the characters served by rich, evocative writing that goes to the heart of their humanity. Confidently cutting across genres,  Chrysalis  is sparkling and downright delightful," the peer assessment committee said in a statement.

The peer assessment committee was Carleigh Baker, Neil Bissoondath and Jessica Westhead.

story retelling essay

Non-Fiction:  Unearthing  by Kyo Maclear

On the left is a green book cover with yellow-paint like text and image of a plant overlaid on the cover. On the right is a headshot photo of a woman smiling and looking to the right.

After Kyo Maclear's father dies, a DNA test shows that she is not biologically related to the father that raised her. Maclear embarks on a journey to unravel the family mystery and uncover the story of her biological father, raising questions about kinship and what it means to be family in  Unearthing .

  • What keeps Kyo Maclear from loitering at the edge of writing

Maclear is an essayist, novelist and children's author. Her books have been translated into 15 languages, won a Governor General's Literary Award and been nominated for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, among others. Her memoir  Birds Art Life   was a finalist for the 2017 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction and  won the 2018 Trillium Book Award .

This quiet, arresting work softens the line between memoir and philosophy. - 2023 peer assessment committee

"In recursive, often incantatory prose, Maclear meditates on the fragile nature of kinship and memory. A finely plotted and intricate narrative,  Unearthing  reimagines the garden metaphor and explores the porous grounds of self, culture and belonging. This quiet, arresting work softens the line between memoir and philosophy," the peer assessment committee said in a statement.

The peer assessment committee was KatłĮà Lafferty, Lorri Neilsen Glenn and Rinaldo Walcott.

story retelling essay

Poetry:  Xanax Cowboy  by Hannah Green  

The book cover is yellow with black block lettering that reads, "House of Anansi Press Xanax Cowboy Poems Written and Directed by Hannah Green."

Xanax Cowboy  is a poetry collection that follows the adventures of the Xanax Cowboy, a pill-popping, whiskey drinking woman with a reputation like a rattlesnake. 

Hannah Green is a Winnipeg-based writer and poetry editor. She was  a poetry finalist for the 2021 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers . 

Dazzling in its play with form, the book has an utterly original voice, hard-hitting, mordantly ironic, unsparing in its gaze on the self. - 2023 peer assessment committee

" Xanax Cowboy  takes us on a grim and tender ride, exploring a journey through mental illness and addiction. Self-reflexive and contemporary in phrasing and sensibility, the book pairs, like the title itself, a dark coping mechanism of life with the bittersweet harrows of self-performance. Dazzling in its play with form, the book has an utterly original voice, hard-hitting, mordantly ironic, unsparing in its gaze on the self," the peer assessment committee said in a statement.

The peer assessment committee was Mary Dalton, Moez Surani and Gillian Sze.

Drama:  William Shakespeareʼs As You Like It: A Radical Retelling  by Cliff Cardinal

Composite image. On the left: a book cover of tree roots intertwining. On the right: A man standing against a red curtain with his right hand on his chest.

William Shakespeareʼs As You Like It: A Radical Retelling   is a subversive update to Shakespeare's classic with an Indigenous perspective. It balances bawdy humour and raw emotions to challenge Canada's relationship with Indigenous people. 

Cliff Cardinal is a playwright and actor born on the Pine Ridge Reservation. His work has been recognized with the Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation, the RBC Tarragon Emerging Playwright Award and the  REVEAL Indigenous Arts Award . Cardinal has also written a play called  Huff & Stitch .

It spares no one, not even the performer himself. - 2023 peer assessment committee

"In a blistering indictment of the country we call Canada, Cliff Cardinal challenges us to ask ourselves what role we play and are prepared to play on the path forward. It spares no one, not even the performer himself. It's a rant, a fool, a stand-up routine and an angry personal essay full of humour, insights and surprises," the peer assessment committee said in a statement.

The peer assessment committee was Aaron Bushkowsky, Tai Amy Grauman and Julie Tamiko Manning.

story retelling essay

Young people's literature —  text:  The Probability of Everything  by Sarah Everett

A Black woman with curly hair and glasses looks at the camera. A book cover of a girl in a dress standing in the rain.

The Probability of Everything  follows 11-year-old Kemi Carter, an avid fan of probability. When she sees an asteroid hovering over the sky, her perspective on everything changes. The asteroid has an 84.7 per cent chance of colliding with Earth in four days. Is she the only one who feels like the world is ending?

Sarah Everett is an author of several books for teens, currently based in Alberta.   Her debut novel is  Some Other Now . 

Seamlessly moving between the poetic and the grounded, Everett weaves a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale that lingers. - 2023 peer assessment committee

"Seamlessly moving between the poetic and the grounded, Everett weaves a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale that lingers. By the time readers reach the emotional climax of this surprising, powerful and beautifully written novel, they'll be inclined to return to the beginning and read it again from the perspective of someone who knows what's coming," the peer assessment committee said in a statement.

The peer assessment committee was Cheryl Foggo, June Hur and Tom Ryan.

Young people's literature —  illustrated books:  When You Can Swim  by Jack Wong

On the left a book cover shows an illustration of a young girl in a swimsuit and goggles in water. On the right, a man wearing glasses and a black shirt smiles into the camera.

When You Can Swim  is a picture book that encourages children to overcome their fears of the water.  In the book, an adult explains to a young girl the joys and surprises of swimming. 

When You Can Swim  is for ages 4 to 8. 

Halifax artist encourages kids to overcome fears of swimming in new book

Jack Wong is a Halifax-based author and illustrator who was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Vancouver.  When You Can Swim  is his first book. 

A vibrant ode to swimming where joy is yours for the taking as soon as you jump in,When You Can Swimtransforms fear into a rushing wave of eager anticipation. - 2023 peer assessment committee

"A vibrant ode to swimming where joy is yours for the taking as soon as you jump in,  When You Can Swim  transforms fear into a rushing wave of eager anticipation. The sumptuous use of colour and texture brings water to life in an array of settings, depicting it as a central character in a wondrous celebration of the breadth of a child's abilities. It especially reaches out to those who have historically been excluded from learning to swim," the peer assessment committee said in a statement.

The peer assessment committee was Marianne Ferrer, Lee Edward Födi and Mahak Jain.

Translation:  Rosaʼs Very Own Personal Revolution  by Éric Dupont, translated by Peter McCambridge

A man wearing a button down shirt smiles at the camera. A book cover of a woman wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket.

Rosaʼs Very Own Personal Revolution  follows the story of Rosa Ost, who grows up in Notre-Dame-du-Cachalot, as she moves from her tiny village to the big city of Montreal. It's an adventure filled with long journeys and unsettling dreams, proving that revolutions in Quebec aren't always quiet. 

  • Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Eric Dupont on staying in tune to write  Songs for the Cold of Heart

Peter McCambridge is a literary translator originally from Ireland, now based in Quebec City. He also translated Eric Dupont's  Songs for the Cold of Heart , originally  La fiancée américaine,  that was on  the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist  and was a finalist for the  2018 Governor General's Literary Award for translation .

Eric Dupont is an author, teacher and translator from Montreal. His French-language novel  La Logeuse  won the Radio-Canada's version of  Canada Reads ,  Combats des livres . He was a finalist for both the Prix littéraire France-Québec and the Prix des cinq continents. He was the winner of the Prix littéraire des collégiens and the Prix des libraires.

This rare feat of literary translation is a seamless, highly readable and wonderfully inventive work in its own right. - 2023 peer assessment committee

"Peter McCambridge's translation,  Rosa's Very Own Personal Revolution , brilliantly renders Éric Dupont's vibrant literary universe and rollicking story of an innocent young woman from the Gaspé Peninsula catapulted into turn-of-the-millenium Montréal. This rare feat of literary translation is a seamless, highly readable and wonderfully inventive work in its own right," the peer assessment committee said in a statement.

The peer assessment committee was Bilal Hashmi, Melissa Bull and Pablo Strauss.

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Illustration of a man standing in the wreckage of buildings.

The Agony of Waiting for a Ceasefire That Never Comes

When the war in Gaza started, my family fled to the Jabalia refugee camp. Then Israel started bombing the camp.

By Mosab Abu Toha

It is 6:20 P.M. on Friday, October 27th. My children are playing in the house where we have taken refuge, in the Jabalia refugee camp. “I’m getting hungry,” my wife, Maram, whispers to me. “Let’s eat some snacks.” We sneak into the next room and sit on the stairs, where our children are less likely to see us. We miss these private moments, when we could spend time together and joke.

Outside, a red light flashes in the dark sky, like lightning; it is followed not by rain but by rubble that pounds the roofs of houses around us. Maram stops eating. When I stand to peer outside, the air pressure pushes me back.

I walk over to my father, who is anxiously holding up a radio to his ear. “Al Jazeera says that they have lost connection with their correspondents in Gaza,” he says. “There is no signal.”

I take my phone out of my pocket. For the first time since the escalation, three weeks ago, there is no Internet, and neither of my SIM cards has any service. My older sister, Aya, who has five children, asks us to warn her when we see bombs fall, so she can cover her ears before the blast reaches us. “My ears are aching,” she says.

I remember that my iPhone has an Emergency SOS feature for when there is no signal. But, when I pull it up, it tells me, “You’re in a region where the satellite connection demo is not supported.” I find another option called crash detection—“If you’re in a car crash, iPhone can automatically call emergency services.” I think that Apple should create a feature called bomb detection—but the people who could help us do not live in Gaza.

More bombs are falling. My nephews and nieces try to warn their Aunt Aya before the house shakes. It is a long night.

The next morning, I ask my mother, who’s sitting on the mattress where she slept, where my father is. She tells me that he has biked home to Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, to collect some olive oil, olives, and sugar for us. I have made the same journey before. After I visited on October 12th, to fetch some bread, I wrote for this magazine about my fear that our ceiling would fall in during an air strike.

My mother does not like it when we visit home. In one of her dreams, our house was destroyed, and she was collecting rubble. But my father couldn’t not go back, because he had to feed his birds and rabbits.

“I was going to ask him to fetch the charger for my electric razor,” I say. The battery died while I was shaving my son’s hair. I try to text my father, but then I remember that there is no signal or Internet.

I have my morning tea. My mother reads from the Holy Quran. My two sisters comb their children’s hair. Maram fills water bottles in the kitchen. I try to keep everyone quiet, so as not to wake those who are still sleeping.

At about 8:30 A.M. , my younger brother, Hamza, who is staying with his wife’s family in the area, steps inside. His eyes, behind his glasses, look concerned. “Where is Father?” he asks.

“He’s just returned on his bike to our home,” I tell him.

“I went an hour ago,” Hamza tells us. With his hands, he tells us that the house is gone.

From a photo that Hamza has taken, I can see part of the first floor, where my parents lived. There is nothing to indicate that the house had four floors.

I go to my mother and siblings. In the quietest voice I can manage, I tell them about the destruction of our house. Somehow, my mother is calm. “Thank God that none of us got hurt,” she says.

My brother-in-law Ahmad suggests that we set out on our bikes to find my father. After only three hundred metres, we see him, his head tilted downward while he pedals.

My father tells me later that debris covered every inch of the street that led to our house. He did not feed his fifteen ducks, thirty hens, five rabbits, and six pigeons. “Maybe some are alive and stuck under the rubble,” he says. But, after he saw the bombed house and heard the frightening whirring of drones, he headed back to the camp.

When we get “home,” we all sit on the floor. It’s not until later that I start to realize: I lost not only my house and its rooms but also my new clothes and shoes and watches. My books, too.

I remember how slowly I built my personal library, and how long it took for friends to mail books to Gaza. When I came back from the U.S. in February, 2021, I stuffed a hundred and twenty books into my family’s suitcases; I had to discard some of my shoes and clothes to make space. When I came back in May, 2023, I carried an extra suitcase for about seventy books. Some were signed by friends— Katha Pollitt , Stephen Greenblatt , Richard Hoffman, Ammiel Alcalay, Jonathan Dee . The airport officer thought that my passport was expired because he read it backward, from left to right. On the journey from Cairo, I sprained my shoulder while carrying my heavy suitcases.

Less than two months ago, I was in Philadelphia for a literary festival, and was planning to visit San Francisco. But I had a feeling that the situation in Gaza was precarious, and I decided to shorten my trip. Before I flew home, I asked my friend Hasan to drive down from Syracuse, so that he could give me thirty-five books that I had left with him. They included the five heavy volumes of “ The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry .”

Because it is hard to believe what we have lost, I decide to return to our home in Beit Lahia and see with my eyes what has happened to it. As I approach the wrecked area of my house, I stop in a panic—not only because of the scene but also because of the sounds of drones and jet planes and bombs falling on nearby neighborhoods.

I hope to at least find a copy of my own poetry book, maybe near my neighbor’s olive tree, but there is nothing but debris. Nothing but the smell of explosions.

Now I sit in my temporary house in the Jabalia camp, waiting for a ceasefire. I feel like I am in a cage. I’m being killed every day with my people. The only two things I can do are panic and breathe. There is no hope here.

I plan to go back through the wreckage for my books and rescue whatever I can. I will not put them on bookshelves this time. I just want to make sure that the pages are intact. My brother Hamza will do the same thing with his Arabic grammar and literature books, which he has spent ten years collecting. Both of us pray that in the coming days, it will not rain and soak their pages.

On October 31st, we are at home when three big explosions shake us. The windows break. Rubble and dust fly into the living room. We all rush into the two bedrooms, looking at the ceiling. A bomb has fallen seventy metres away. It wipes out a whole neighborhood.

Later, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces appears on CNN and says that the attack on Jabalia was aimed at a Hamas leader. When the anchor asks him about the civilians that the I.D.F. has killed, the spokesperson says, “This is the tragedy of war.”

The next day, I am typing part of this essay into my phone when I feel another explosion very close by. I rush about two hundred metres to the site, which is not far from a school run by the United Nations. I see wounded women and children bleeding from their faces and chests. A big fire is burning. I find a pharmacy, check my body for injuries, and try to help those around me. We survive, again.

Recently, my wife dreamed that she was collecting frozen meat. In her dream, she was saying, “This is my son’s arm. This is my daughter’s leg.”

If not for the war, I would be playing soccer with my friends twice a week. I would be watching movies with my wife. I would be reading the books on my shelves. I would be taking my kids to the playground, and to the beach. I would be riding my bike with my son, Yazzan, on the beach road. But now there are no books and no shelves and no beach road. ♦

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The Devastation of Be’eri

By Ruth Margalit

The Simmering Lebanese Front in Israel’s War

By Rania Abouzeid

The View from My Window in Gaza

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Supported by

Guest Essay

Six Members of My Family Are Hostages in Gaza. Does Anyone Care?

A photo illustration of a child seen from behind and embraced by an outline of arms.

By Alana Zeitchik

Ms. Zeitchik is a media professional living in Brooklyn and working on her family’s Bring Our Family Home campaign. Follow the story on Instagram .

On Oct. 24 my brother and I went to the United Nations to watch an emergency Security Council meeting in response to the war in Israel and Gaza. As the Israeli minister of foreign affairs listed the names and held up photos of some of the Israeli children who were taken hostage by Hamas, a white woman in her 30s stood up near us in the gallery to protest. She held up a handmade “Free Palestine” sign.

The disruption should have been jarring, but by this point in the war, I am accustomed to this response from those I once regarded as my liberal peers. I’ve seen too often the hijacking of the cause of Palestinian liberation to stand against the lives of Israeli children who have been in captivity for four weeks. Three of them are my little cousins.

On Oct. 7 I spent the day waiting for news from my family in Israel. My cousin Sharon Cunio; her husband, David; their 3-year-old twins, Emma and Yuli; my cousin Danielle Alony; and her 5-year-old daughter, Amelia, were hiding together in their bomb shelter while Hamas went on a murderous rampage through their kibbutz. The last contact my family has had from them is a WhatsApp message simply saying, “ Help, we’re dying .” By evening, my aunt had confirmed our fears: My six relatives were missing from Kibbutz Nir Oz, a community in the south of Israel about three miles from Gaza now known as a scene of brutality and destruction .

An hour after discovering they were missing, I spotted some of my family on a TikTok video. They were being carted away, surrounded by machine-gun-carrying terrorists shouting “Allahu akbar.” The pain I experienced in that moment and in so many after has been so sharp, it follows my every breath. I wake up each morning only to remember again my family is being held hostage by terrorists.

Recently, my brother and I hung “kidnapped” posters of our family around Williamsburg in Brooklyn, a famously liberal community I’ve been part of for over a decade. Within a day, almost all of them had been ripped down . Some were replaced with posters reading, “Honor the martyr.” The behavior feels so senseless, even hateful, but it is not these overt acts that make me feel isolated.

Instead I feel loneliest when I scroll through Instagram and see friends and acquaintances, Jews and non-Jews alike, reposting a protest image calling for a cease-fire from Jewish Voice for Peace in between their fall foliage photos. These are the same people who watch my stories but who have not once shared the faces of my 3-year-old cousins or demanded the release of the hostages, despite my increasingly desperate cries for help and humanity. The silence is suffocating. What I wouldn’t give to not know this pain, to have a different truth from the one I am carrying.

All around me I have witnessed a silence so enormous, it feels cacophonous; I have seen former co-workers be so quick to share unverified headlines fed by Hamas yet say only a few private words of sympathy to me. It would appear they believe my suffering to be collateral damage in service of some universal truth they hold higher. Is it really impossible to hold these two truths at the same time — that both Israeli and Palestinian civilians are suffering at great cost? Or are they simply unwilling to express that publicly? I’m not sure which is worse.

I have felt lost watching progressive friends, women’s rights activists, influencers and celebrities I admire stumble to find the words to condemn the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians, among them six of the human beings I love most in the world. Even as I sit here thinking of my family and some 240 other Israeli hostages, I scroll through my news feed and cry for the innocent Palestinian children and lives lost in Gaza. I look at the face of Mohammed Abujayyab , a man in Los Angeles who was trying to save his grandmother in Gaza, and I see my own pain reflected in his expression.

Again and again I hear that Israel is a country of white colonizers and oppressors. So some of my bewilderment is in my very skin. My maternal grandparents, Avraham and Sara, grew up in a tiny rural village in central Yemen. Like other Jews in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemenite Jews were persecuted as second-class citizens through what are known as dhimmi laws — the denigration of non-Muslims before the law. In 1949, after pogroms against Jews in Yemen, my grandparents set out by foot and donkey on an arduous journey to the capital, Sana. From there, they were airlifted during Operation Magic Carpet to the newly formed state of Israel. As refugees fleeing oppression in their birth country, they began their lives in Israel in poverty. Slowly they built a humble but comfortable life and raised five children, among them my mother.

So maybe you can imagine my surprise the first time I heard my Israeli family called “white colonizers.” When did we become white? And how could a family fleeing persecution be perceived as colonizers? I have heard this description for years; perhaps I shrugged it off too easily. But it’s not the catchphrases or even the loudest and most inflammatory voices that have made me feel so betrayed. Rather, it’s those who have remained silent when they otherwise would never be, like the women who lifted up the #MeToo movement alongside me yet now refuse to cry out against even the violence against women or rape reported by an Israeli military forensics team.

New reports about the sickening crimes committed at the hands of Hamas continue to come out of Israel, but the left seems to be focused only on the response from Israel, undeniably a devastating one. I never imagined that the left — my own world — would not be able to at least hold space for both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

I haven’t had much strength to take on this silence. Since Oct. 7, I have focused all of my energy on taking action to urge my family’s immediate and safe release. I spoke at the U.N. I’ve been on endless broadcasts and been forced to recount my cousin’s harrowing last voice message too many times to count. I have poured myself into this all while struggling with almost indescribable grief. Outside of the Jewish community, it has proved to be a lonely struggle. There were no apolitical spaces created to help the hostage families hold the weight of this pain.

At the beginning of all this, I promised I would scream to the ends of the earth for my family, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Everyone in my large extended family has mobilized alongside me, demanding the safe return of our loved ones and of all the hostages. We’ve been told by the Israel Defense Forces that my family is alive in Gaza, and for now, this gives us a glimmer of hope. In Israel my aunt Riki, whose core family of 10 has been reduced to four around her Shabbat table, is trying to stay upright while bearing a mother’s anguish. People come by daily and bring food as if they were sitting shiva.

I am grateful she is being held up by her community. Here, in my home, I no longer know to whom I can turn in my grief.

Alana Zeitchik is a media professional living in Brooklyn. She is working full time on her family’s Bring Our Family Home campaign. Follow the story on Instagram .

Source photograph by PeopleImages/Getty Images.

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    What Kinds of Stories Are Good for Retellings? There are countless popular tales from cultures around the world that would make fantastic fodder for a retelling. Decide what kind of story you're interested in writing—a funny story, a tragic story, a heart-warming story, or something else entirely.... Revised on July 23, 2023. A narrative essay tells a story.

  7. PDF HANDOUT 3 Children's Story Retelling reviews

    tions. Story retelling is characterized by actively involving a child in the reading episode, retelling the story to the child, promoting additional child elaborations and expansions, and asking the child to retell the story (in his or her own words) (Cliatt & Shaw, 1988). The purpose of the meta-analysis reported in this . CELL-review

  8. PDF Learning Language and Literacy

    retell and recreate the stories. Children learn through retelling This co-creation is very differ The first telling of a story by the teacher to a group of young children is an exciting introduction to the con-tent, while retelling of the same story allows children to revisit the tale and refine their understanding. This re-

  9. PDF Beyond the Story Structure: Qualitative Aspects of Retelling

    Children's retelling ability was assessed by the Morrow's 10-point Scale (1990). This scale measures the number of story structural elements that children refer during the story retelling, as well as the sequence of these elements. This scale is based on story grammar abstract structural components of the plot and on the Stein and

  10. Story Retell Essay Teaching Resources

    Browse story retell essay resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, a marketplace trusted by millions of teachers for original educational resources.

  11. Telling Short, Memorable Stories From Your Life: 'My Secret Pepsi Plot

    Overview. Our Personal Narrative Essay Contest is inspired by The New York Times's Lives column, which ran from 1996 to 2017 and featured "short, powerful stories about meaningful life ...

  12. (PDF) Why Storytelling Matters: Unveiling the Literacy ...

    write poems, essays, or short stories after listening to a . ... In addition, his research shows that follow-up activities such as conversation, retelling, and topic-related activities (written or ...

  13. 7 Examples Of Story Retelling

    Retelling is a process of re-narrating the story by students to bring out personalized perceptions. It has multiple advantages like better vocabulary and communication skills when properly implemented. Apart from understanding the meaning, a few examples to refer can guide you better in opting for this strategy.

  14. Essay On Story Retelling

    Story retelling is to provide a model for children and need to do it better in the processing of expressing. Teachers can use voice to show the dialogue by different activities. Story retelling is similar to the magnificent presentation so teachers can help children by retelling it slowly by animation.

  15. Retell Literacy Center: 20 Famous Story Retelling Ideas and Printables

    Students retell the story by using their own recall or by attempting to read well-loved books. The best props What materials does it take? Anything you can find! I've made lots of my "props," but many of them came from scanning pictures in a book, finding freebies in the FREE box at garage sales, and the Dollar Tree. Any left over beanie babies?

  16. Essay On Storytelling

    Essay On Storytelling. Storytelling is the oral tradition of sharing stories and recounting events of the past. It is an ancient art form and is a dear form of human expression (What is). Most historians and psychologists alike agree that storytelling is one of the many things binding and defining humanity as we know it because everything ...

  17. Advantages Of Story Retelling

    Advantages Of Story Retelling. According to the researcher has studied the theory of retelling a story, the researcher finds the useful of story retelling from these theories that will be explained in the next. Blank and Sheldon (1971) reported that the semantics and the complexity of the sentences in the language of children aged 4-6 years ...

  18. Family Story: Story Retelling, Analysis, Essay Writing Example

    Family Story: Story Retelling, Analysis (Essay Sample) Instructions: Throughout your childhood, you may have heard and shared stories, but you may never have thought about them as verbal artifacts to be analyzed.

  19. 52 Retellings That Refresh the Stories You Thought You Knew

    15. Hurt You by Marie Myung-Ok Lee. With echoes of Marieke Nijkamp and Jason Reynolds, acclaimed author Marie Myung-Ok Lee's stunning YA homage to Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men tells the tragic story of a Korean American teen who fights to protect herself and her neurodivergent older brother from a hostile community.

  20. Telling Stories: Sequencing for ESL Students

    To help your audience understand your stories, you need to link this information from the past together. One of the most important ways to link ideas is to sequence them. The passages below are good examples of sequenced ideas. Read the examples and then measure your understanding with a quiz. The answers are at the bottom.

  21. Essay: Students retelling a story (learning objective, reflective)

    Essay: Students retelling a story (learning objective, reflective) by Essay Sauce Essay details and download: Subject area (s): Education essays Reading time: 9 minutes Price: Free download Published: 7 September 2021* File format: Text Words: 2,478 (approx) Number of pages: 10 (approx) Tags: Reflective essay examples Text preview of this essay:

  22. History of Storytelling, Essay Example

    The best example is the story of "The Christmas story" that is reacted in most churches around the world is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The biblical story about Jesus Christ has been handed down from generation to generation in the form of storytelling (Harrington 1). The art of storytelling was perfected long before man could ...

  23. The 21 Best Classic Retellings to Read in 2021

    Retellings are books that put a modern spin on classic novels — these are the 21 best titles. Written by Katherine Fiorillo. Some of the best classic retellings include "Pride," "A Court of ...

  24. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Son "Pumped" on Bagging a Key Role in Retelling

    The project will focus on the life, career and downfall of late NFL star Aaron Hernandez. "This story is so wild. Aaron Hernandez had a wild life and career," the 30-year-old wrote in the ...

  25. Anuja Varghese's short story collection Chrysalis among $25K Governor

    William Shakespeareʼs As You Like It: A Radical Retelling, a subversive update to Shakespeare's classic from an Indigenous perspective, by playwright and actor Cliff Cardinal, won the drama category.

  26. Jezebel and the Question of Women's Anger

    Smith had devoted an entire chapter of "Traffic" to the story of the site's creation, stumbles, and successes. ... His essay positioned the site as the start of an era that would culminate ...

  27. The Agony of Waiting for a Ceasefire That Never Comes

    It is 6:20 P.M. on Friday, October 27th. My children are playing in the house where we have taken refuge, in the Jabalia refugee camp. "I'm getting hungry," my wife, Maram, whispers to me ...

  28. Opinion

    I'm a Ukrainian, and I Refuse to Compete for Your Attention. A damaged building in Kyiv, Ukraine. Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times. Dr. Dovzhyk, the editor of the London Ukrainian Review ...

  29. Six Members of My Family Are Hostages in Gaza. Does Anyone Care?

    On Oct. 7 I spent the day waiting for news from my family in Israel. My cousin Sharon Cunio; her husband, David; their 3-year-old twins, Emma and Yuli; my cousin Danielle Alony; and her 5-year-old ...