Story Collections for Classroom Teaching and Youth Ministry

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This is a listing of story resources and collections that can be used in teaching or student ministry. Selected by teacher Gertrude Schliff Johnson, the list includes the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as books available from St. Mary's Press, and other sources.

The following is a list of story resources and collections for teaching or ministering with teenagers. [Editor's note: See the article "Helping students Get the Most Out of Stories" for ideas on using these stories with young people.] Most items include a page reference to one or more of my favorite stories in that resource and a suggested context or theme for which they might be used.

Aurelio, John R. Fables for God's People. New York: Crossroad, 1988. (P. 25, harboring grudges; p. 10, learning from your parents and becoming your own person)

Bausch, William J. Storytelling: Imagination and Faith. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1989. (A wonderfully readable book that validates the use of story in Christian faith and morality; pp. 36-38, 56-58, reconciliation and the universal need for forgiveness and healing; p. 138, seeing Jesus in one another)

Bennett, William J., ed. The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. (Pp. 774-775, how little we understand; pp. 803-808, the ultimate self-sacrifice)

---The Book of Virtues for Young People: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories. Parsippany, NJ: Silver Burdett Press, 1996.

Canfield, Jack, and Mark Victor Hansen. Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1993. (P. 69, uncovering our God-given gifts and talents)

Cavanaugh, Brian. The Sower's Seeds: One Hundred Inspiring Stories for Preaching, Teaching, and Public Speaking. New York: Paulist Press, 1990. (Very short stories with a theme index; p. 11, love for others; p. 17, wisdom and sorrow)

Chappell, Stephen. Dragons and Demons, Angels and Eagles: Morality Tales for Teens. Liguori, MO: Liguori Publications, 1990. (May be read as a complete work or as separate stories)

De Mello, Anthony. The Song of the Bird. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1983. (Pp. 108-109, the price of truth)

---Taking Flight: A Book of Story Meditations. New York: Doubleday, 1988. (Pp. 59-60, service)

Feehan, James A. Story Power: Compelling Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching. San Jose, CA: Resource Publications, 1994. (Pp. 33-34, faith in God; pp. 57-59, giving)

Feldman, Christian, and Jack Kornfield, eds. Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart: Parables of the Spiritual Path from Around the World. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991. (P. 219, it could always be worse; p. 245, heaven and hell)

Hays, Edward. Twelve and One-Half Keys. Leavenworth, KS: Forest of Peace Books, 1981. (Pp. 9-10, using prayer for discernment; pp. 139-144, marriage; pp. 19-22, making fortunes come true)

Koch, Carl, ed. I Know Things Now: Stories by Teenagers 1. Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 1996. (Pp. 64-65, homophobia; pp. 78-79, thanksgiving)

Lisante, James P. Of Life and Love. Mineola, NY: Resurrection Press, 1989. (Stories of young people's struggles with modern life, by a columnist dedicated to the Respect Life movement; p. 30, fear of homosexuality and AIDS; p. 23, the dangers of premature sexual intimacy)

McArdle, Jack. 150 More Stories for Preachers and Teachers. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1993. (Very short stories with a helpful thematic index; p. 17, modern miracles; pp. 48 and 58, service; p. 39, resurrection)

White, William R. Speaking in Stories: Resources for Christian Storytellers. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1982. (Pp. 112-113, life is more than material riches; p. 78, objective versus subjective truth; this and the next two sources are very useful, thematically arranged books that offer a fine blend of stories, resources, and suggested methodology)

---Stories for the Journey: A Sourcebook for Christian Storytellers. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1988.

---Stories for Telling: A Treasury for Christian Storytellers. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1986.

Here are other avenues for becoming familiar with storytelling and finding just the right stories:

  1. Check with librarians at your local library, not only for story resources, but for information on a story circle in your area to put you in touch with storytellers close to home.
  2. Join the National Storytelling Association ($50 a year). Membership includes a subscription to Storytelling Magazine (six issues annually). For more information email: or log onto: You can also phone 800-525-4514.


(Copyright © 2000 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for the free use of this article for classroom or campus ministry purposes; however, it may not be republished in any form without the written permission of Saint Mary's Press. For more resources to support your ministry, call 800-533-8095, or visit our Web site at

Published February 1, 1997.