Posts by storytelleradmin

The Storyteller Launch Party at Books of Wonder!

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

The Storyteller will be out in stores June 28 and Books of Wonder in New York City will be hosting a launch party on June 30, from 6-8pm. Come by for book signing, original art from the book, a window display, and light refreshments! Hope to see you all there! Please RSVP at the Facebook Event below:

The Storyteller Launch Party at Books of Wonder



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“When a storyteller dies, a library burns”

Posted by on Jun 3, 2016 in Reviews | 0 comments


The old Moroccan saying that Turk shares with readers, “When a storyteller dies, a library burns,” perfectly captures the message of his picture book: stories are life. In drought-stricken Morocco, at the edge of the Sahara desert, a thirsty child’s quest for water leads him to a fountain, where an old, forgotten storyteller sits. He captures the boy’s imagination with a tale, and by the time the man has finished speaking, the boy’s cup has miraculously filled with cool water. Day after day, the boy returns to the fountain, eager to hear more of the story. Meanwhile, a djinn draws near the parched kingdom, threatening to turn it back into desert. The boy—in a Shahrazad-like move—distracts (and defeats!) the djinn by sharing the storyteller’s tales, which simultaneously rejuvenates the city by bringing its people together and replenishing the kingdom’s wells.

Rich illustrations rendered in watercolor, ink, and pencil engulf the pages with desert golds and deep indigo, blending folk-art and contemporary styles. Double-page spreads dramatically illustrate kingdom’s forgetfulness and subsequent incursion of swirling sands, as well as the sapphirine return of water through life-giving words. Turk’s layered ode to storytelling’s magic begs to be shared aloud with a group, though the detailed art merits close inspection. A concluding author’s note on storytelling traditions contextualizes this beautiful, original folktale.— Amina Chaudhri

—Booklist, Starred Review star

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We need stories to feed our spirits

Posted by on May 7, 2016 in Reviews | 0 comments


Folktales involving water abound in all cultures, but this tale is unusual in using water as a metaphor for story: just as we need water to nourish our physical selves, we need stories to feed our spirits. In Turk’s fable, a lone storyteller remains in a Moroccan city where the water sources have all dried up. When a young boy seeks water, the water-seller has only a bowl to give him, but the storyteller tells him a tale that miraculously fills the bowl. In a series of nested stories, the boy’s thirst is quenched, and by retelling the stories Scheherazade-style to a sandstorm in the form of a djinn, he is able to save the city and also replenish its water supply.

In predominant hues of brown and blue, Turk’s bold, semiabstract mixed-media illustrations conjure up swirls of sand and waves of water, evoking the environment and its people. The spreads contain concentric borders representing each of the stories as it is told. Using age-old literary elements and a loose, contemporary art style filled with symbolism, Turk successfully melds two equally important concerns of our time—the need to keep storytelling alive and the need to protect and conserve our drinking water.

VERDICT This lush and lovely title is highly recommended for its aesthetic qualities as well as its multiple curricular tie-ins, including geography, environmental studies, language arts, and art education.

School Library Journal, Starred Review star

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‘The Turn of the Page’ at the Brooklyn Public Library

Posted by on May 6, 2016 in Events | 0 comments


I am honored that original artwork from ‘The Storyteller’ will be a part of the new exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library ‘The Turn of the Page‘ curated by author/illustrator Pat Cummings. I had the pleasure of taking Pat’s children’s book class while I was at Parsons, and she wanted to include the work of her former students who continued on in children’s books because teaching is such a big part of her life. I’m very proud to be a part of this show by one of my favorite teachers at Parsons, and hope you will be able to come check out her work, my work, and the work of several of her other former students! Should be an amazing show. There is an opening reception this Monday, May 9, a the Central Library from 6-8pm. Hope to see you there!

The Turn of the Page

I’m also going to be doing a joint workshop with Pat in conjunction with the show on June 18 about storytelling from around the world! So come, and bring your kids!

Turn of the Page: Storytelling Collage, with Evan Turk & Pat Cummings

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The weaver as Storyteller

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Diversity and Representation, Morocco, Symbolism, The Art of 'The Storyteller' | 0 comments

In October 2014 I took a trip to Morocco to do research for The Storyteller. One of my favorite experiences was spending a day in the village of Anzal in southern Morocco and meeting the women carpet weavers there and their family. These drawings (aside from the illustrations from the book at the end) were done on-location in Anzal and the nearby Oasis de Fint.



I arrived at the village of Anzal and met, Naoual, a twenty two year old woman from the village who translated for me and told me about her village and the weaving association. The village is nestled in a valley between harsh, dry mountains. The landscape is both empty and calming. The ground and sky seem to extend in all directions for eternity. It is said that the top crossbar of a loom is often called “the beam of heaven” and the bottom bar, “the earth”, with everything between as “creation.”

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