National Share-A-Story Month

Posted on: 29/05/2018

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May: National Share-A-Story Month

Stories are what make us human – we are the only creatures to weave words into pretty patterns of tall tales, fantastical fables and neat narratives, and we’ve been doing it for millennia! National Share-A-Story Month celebrates the art of story-telling and the magic of books, aiming to encourage young people to read more. But where did stories comes from, and how can you be inspired to share your own?


Where do stories come from?

The oldest surviving story is the epic of Gilgamesh, which details the deeds of a famous Sumerian king and was told to an Egyptian pharaoh by his sons. But strictly speaking, the oldest stories weren’t told by mouth – they were painted on ancient walls by caveman, before our ancestors developed oral communication and written language.

As early man began to cultivate linguistics into stories, storytelling evolved throughout the centuries into the art it is today. It’s thought that stories were created to try to explain the world in times before science prevailed, and to provide comfort, reassurance and answers for the unknown. The stories often reflected the beliefs, customs and fears of the communities, serving as a connective thread for families and friends, throughout generations.

Generally, stories fall into two categories; fairytales and legends. Fairytales are whimsical, magical and rooted in folklore, filled with mysterious creatures existing in a ‘once-upon-a-time’ world. The most famous fairytales were a series of folktales and poetry collated into a collection by ‘The Brothers Grimm’, and featured versions of fairytales more gruesome than today’s modern incarnations. For example, in the Little Mermaid, every time Ariel takes a step on land it feels like she’s walking on broken glass. Legends are supposed to have actually happened, referring to particular times, places – even historical events, but often heavily embellished.  


How to share your own!

It’s been said that, “Stories are the common currency of humanity.” (Tahir Shah, in Arabian Nights), meaning that they bind people together and create a sense of community. This year, National-Share-A-Story month’s theme has been “Celebrating a World of Stories”, drawing inspiration from cultures around the globe. The art of storytelling is simpler than you think – in fact, you’re probably sharing stories without even realising it! Modern story-telling appears in many different shapes and forms, and has moved onto digital platforms. Snapchat and Instagram stories – the clue is in the name – blogging and especially vlogging, could all be loosely termed as storytelling.

But, there is an unmatched magic in picking up a book and sharing the words inside with family and friends. It can be made even more special if you decide to create and share your own stories, whether that’s putting pen to paper, joining a storytelling club or even coming up with an original ghost story at your next sleepover! Remember, those who tell the stories, rule the world.

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