April 2017

The Stories Julian Tells

by Ann Cameron

Julian is a quick fibber and a wishful thinker; and he is great at telling stories. He can make people — especially his younger brother, Huey — believe just about anything: like the story about the cats that come in the mail, or the fig leaves that make you grow tall if you eat them off the tree. But some stories can lead to a heap of trouble, and that’s exactly where Julian and Huey end up all too often!


A Note from the First Lady:

Dear Read20 Book Club families,

In this book, you’ll meet Julian: a little boy with a giant imagination! In Ann Cameron’s The Stories Julian Tells, Julian tells six different stories about life with his family and friends. While some of Julian’s stories are true, others are so silly you might wish you could live in Julian’s imaginary world. Indeed many stories, including Julian’s, have the power to take us to places we’ve never explored or meet people or creatures that don’t exist.

Across time and culture, stories have inspired and molded minds young and old. They encourage us to think outside the box, and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. As you are reading Julian’s stories, you might discuss how Julian or his family members felt. Why did they make those decisions? What happens when Julian exaggerates or fibs? Parents and children alike can expand their minds through creative thinking, and in turn become better readers, thinkers, and even storytellers!

Keep up the great reading!

Crissy Haslam
First Lady of Tennessee


Fun Family Activities for the Book of the Month

Engaging with the Text
In Julian’s first story, Huey and Julian help their father make a delicious pudding for their mother. The pudding was so delicious, in fact, that the young boys were unable to resist devouring the whole thing before their mother got home! Check out the recipe for the famous Pudding like a Night on the Sea. Why do you think the pudding was named Pudding like a Night on the Sea? If you were going to make a dessert for someone special to you, what dish would you make? What might you name your dessert? Write your own recipe, and draw what your dessert would look like!

The Power of Storytelling
While storytelling can be fun, it can also be very powerful. It can help us pass information down from one generation to the next, help us to understand other cultures and traditions or help us think about what someone else has experienced. Choose a friend, family member, or other adult about whom you’d like to learn more. Ask them to tell you a true story about their life; it could be a funny story, a scary story, or just an interesting re-telling of a life event. Actively listen to their tale: Where did the story take place? What happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story? Who else was there? What did you learn from this story? Did anything surprise you? Now try telling your own story!

Understanding Motivations
Use your imagination to take one of Julian’s stories and turn it into a play, another way to tell a story! Think about what you might need for props: a stuffed cat, some garden tools, a fig tree? What will you need to make the scenery for your story? Take turns acting out the story with your friends, then think about how you would feel if you were one of the characters. Why do you think they made the decisions that they did?

Further Reading
Julian, his brother Huey, and their friend Gloria can tell all kinds of stories. More Stories Julian Tells, The Stories Huey Tells, and Gloria’s Way are three more books in this series by author Ann Cameron. Visit your local library to read more about these three mischievous adventurers or find other stories that interest you!