1st Edition

The Growth of a Storyteller Helicopter Stories in Action

By Trisha Lee Copyright 2023
    164 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    164 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This sequel to the bestselling Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories reveals the positive impact the storytelling and story acting curriculum of Vivian Gussin Paley has on young children’s literacy, communication and confidence. Telling the story of three years of classroom-based research with children aged two to seven, it shows the Helicopter Stories approach in action, capturing the children’s development as storytellers and their delight at having their stories listened to, scribed and acted out.

    In each chapter Trisha Lee’s passion for children’s unique voices shines through as she shares and reflects on the children’s stories, paying each of them the same respect as would normally be bestowed on adult writers. Exploring the importance of story in children’s lives, the book:

    • Examines the cognitive and developmental impact of implementing a Helicopter Stories approach over an extended time period
    • Analyses the stories told by children using the story structure of the Hero’s Journey, and the seven basic plot types
    • Explores how and why stories connect with us including children’s innate ability to empathise with the hero from a very young age
    • Includes rich case studies of children at different ages and developmental stages including those with additional needs

    Offering a fascinating insight into how Helicopter Stories work in practice and addressing the frequently asked questions about the benefits of using this approach, The Growth of a Storyteller is valuable reading for anyone interested in storytelling and story acting with their children.

    Introduction: The Beginning  1. The Storyteller in Me  2. The Truly Youngest Storytellers  3. Incredible Connections  4. The Ordinary World  5. Crossing the Threshold  6. The Borrowers  7. The Impact of Helicopter Stories - Four Case Studies  Lucas and the Dinosaurs  Ava the Word Magpie  Ethan the Novelist  Daisy the Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still  8. The Return of the Storytellers


    Trisha Lee is a professionally trained theatre director and storyteller. Author of Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories, she is passionate about the importance of storytelling and story acting in children’s lives. In 2002 Trisha founded MakeBelieve Arts. She oversees development of the artistic programme; devising and direction theatre shows, developing and performing in The Poetry Basket and The Story Basket; and managing all aspect of MakeBelieve Arts Online Learning. Widely known for her work on Helicopter Stories, she is in demand to speak at conferences and to share her training via Helicopter Stories On Demand.

    ‘Without imagination we are lost - from ourselves, the world and one another. This magical book is your map to the ’stories’ of childhood and a timely reminder to dream harder, bigger and brighter. Your children need you to read it.’

    Greg Bottrill, author of Can I Go and Play Now – Rethinking the Early Years and School and the Magic of Children

    ‘Trisha Lee’s magical book, The Growth of a Storyteller, shows how the youngest children develop the ability to tell their own stories and act them out. Starting with two-year-olds, Trisha watched as they learned to expand their characters and plots, and she shows the reader why storytelling and story acting are such a valuable tool for the language development, social skills, and emotional well-being of all children.’

    Jane Katch, author of Under Deadman’s Skin – Discovering the Meaning of Children’s Violent Play, They Don’t Like Me – Lessons on Bullying, and Far Away from the Tigers

    ‘This beautiful book is utterly captivating and should come with a warning that meals will go unprepared and dogs will go unwalked once you start reading it. A story in itself, it delivers theory and practical information and provides compelling evidence for the importance of ensuring that children’s voices are heard, and valued, now more than ever. I guarantee you will find yourself listening to children in a different way after reading this.’

    Kym Scott, Early Years Consultant, and founder, A Place To Learn

    ‘Human beings are a storying species, get us together with a group of friends and we will all tell our stories. Trisha's work, which is inspired by the wonderful Vivian- Gussin- Paley, explores what it means to be a young storyteller and how the essential skills of storytelling develop when nurtured by skilled and knowledgeable adults. A must-read for anyone who works with young children.’

    Ruth Swailes, School Improvement Advisor, Curriculum Developer. Nursery World Trainer of the Year 2021