Folktales are traditional stories that stand the test of time.
Folktales, fairy tales, legends, myths. All of these are are names for a type of story with origins in oral storytelling traditions. The stories frequently include a moral lesson and are ways for each generation to pass on its values and knowledge to the next generation.
Why Do We Like Folktales?
Folktales appeal to us because they address universal human experiences, emotions and use creative storytelling to explain natural phenomena.
Pourquoi tales tackle big questions like why the sun is in the sky, or why rabbits have long ears. They can also explain rituals and celebrations, even the origin of a village or population.
Stories of adventure inspire us to be brave and curious. They help us learn how to make decisions and to consider the consequences of our actions.
Some types of stories, like trickster tales or tall tales make us laugh out loud and impart lessons about wisdom and foolishness.
Why Read Folktales?
Folktales' origin in oral storytelling traditions means you can be assured these good folktale books for kids are superior choices to read aloud. Over the years, I knew that if I started reading a folktale book to my kids, they would be enraptured.
Reading folktales from around the world exposes children to different cultures and traditions. When comparing stories across diverse cultures they will notice common themes, character traits and shared values which will improve reading comprehension!
In short, if you want a great read aloud that will appeal to a diverse group of children, or would like a book that will offer your child food for thought at bedtime, choose a folktale!
Note: this book list contains Amazon and Bookshop affiliate links that may earn commission. Purchases made through Bookshop also support independent book sellers. You can view this entire list at Bookshop here.
LON PO PO: A RED RIDING HOOD STORY FROM CHINA by Ed Young
A mother leaves her three children at home when she goes to visit their grandmother. As soon as she leaves, the wolf arrives, claiming to be the grandmother. The oldest child sees through the deception and with her siblings, climbs into the gingko tree where they trick the wolf into being captured. Although this is a story of danger with a rather menacing wolf, young listeners will love a tale where children are the empowered characters. Ages 5 and up.
NINE COLOR DEER (China) by Kailin Duan
Duan adapted a traditional Buddhist tale for her gorgeously illustrated picture book, translated from Chinese into English by Jeremy Tiang. In a forest in the mythological Kunlun Hills of China lives a white deer adorned with multicolored patches on its hide. The Nine Color Deer is revered as a guardian spirit but when its act of kindness is betrayed, the deer reveals humankind's greed and arrogance. There's a moral to the story, but it is not heavy handed and the illustrations are a complete joy. Ages 5 and up.
THE GREEN FROGS (Korea) by Yumi Heo
This is a Korean folk tale that explains why frogs croak loudly near water. Two young frogs never listen to their mother! (Mom's everywhere know that's their mistake right there.) They love to do exactly the opposite of what she says. When their mother dies they bury her by the stream and croak loudly so she is not washed away. Ages 4 and up.
THE CRANE GIRL (Japan) by Curtis Manley, illustrated by Lin Wang
I absolutely love this gorgeously illustrated version of the Japanese legend in which a destitute girl is given refuge and pays back the favor by creating beautiful silks for the family to sell. Her only condition is that no one disturb her while she works. But the widowed father becomes greedy when the silks fetch high prices and demand more and more silks to sell. This award winning book is a pleasure to read aloud. Ages 5 and up.
SION'S MISFORTUNE (China) by Chen Jiafei, illustrated by Wang Ran
One of the things I loved best about this story is how the title character looks at his circumstances from different perspectives. Sion is a fortune teller, but when things start to go wrong for him, he tells others that the situation may not be bad luck, after all. It's a great book to get your talking with kids about how to reserve judgement and to look at events from all angles. It's also great fun to read aloud. Translated from the original Chinese edition. Ages 5 and up.
UNDER THE GREAT PLUM TREE (India) by Sufiya Ahmed, illustrated by Reza Dalvand
This is a reimagining of the Indian folktale, the Panchatantra. Miss Bandari, the kind monkey with a big, golden heart, throws a plum to the hungry crocodile, Mr. Magarmach. The two strike up a friendship but then Miss Bandari senses a betrayal and the two must figure out how to renew their relationship. Great fun and reads like a wonderfully original folktale. Ages 4 and up.
TWO OF EVERYTHING (China) by Lily Toy Hong
My then-5 year old thought this folk story about a couple who have a barrel that duplicates whatever falls into it was hilarious. A man finds a large pot in his garden. When he uses it to store his purse of gold coins, he discovers the pot's magic properties. The couple use the pot to increase their wealth and double everything they own, including themselves. I liked that this book had no didactic moral about greed and that the couple didn't automatically get corrupted by their new wealth. It's a fun Chinese folktale to read aloud. Ages 4 and up.
GRANDMA AND THE GREAT GOURD (BENGAL) by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters
When Grandma sets out to visit her daughter she must travel through the jungle. On the way, many wild animals threaten to eat her, but she puts them off by explaining that after she has feasted at her daughter's table, she will be plumper on the journey home. Her hide-in-a-gourd strategy on the way home fools everyone but the fox, but her faithful dogs save the day. Ages 4 and up.
THE VERY HUNGRY LION (India) by Gita Wolf, illustrated by Indrapramit Roy
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The illustrations of this book are made from silk-screened images on rice and cotton paper. A note in the back explains the illustrations were adapted from the Warli tradition of folk painting in western India. A hungry lion decides he is too lazy to hunt and goes to get a goat from the village market. Along the way he meets a sparrow who tricks the lion into performing all sorts of tasks after which the lion determines it would have been much less work just to go hunting in the first place! This book is out of print, but check your local library. Ages 4 and up.
MORE: Folktales from India
THE LEGEND OF THE SPIRIT SERPENT (Kalinago/Dominica) by Adaiah Sanford, illustrated by Ken Daley
This folktale picture book is based on the legend of Bakwa, a giant snake that protected the Indigenous people of Dominica. Natari, a Kalinago girl, loves hearing stories about the legendary Spirit Serpent. Natari wants to perform the brave act of visiting the serpent in its cave and when she does so she finds out the the Spirit Serpent has always wished to have a human friend. The stunning illustrations will transport readers to a magical time and place. Ages 5 and up.
ANCIENT NIGHT (Mesoamerica) written by David Bowles, story and illustrations by David Álvarez
Álvarez has created the most marvelous illustrations for a tale which draws upon traditional stories from the Nahuatl. Rabbit tends to moon pouring aguamiel, a glowing nectar, into it in order to maintain the moon's beautiful light. However, Yaushu, an opossum who once stole fire to create the sun, cracks open the moon to slurp up the aguamiel. Be sure to read the creators' end notes to learn more about the stories and traditions that inspired the book. Also available in Spanish. Ages 4 and up.
THE LIZARD AND THE SUN/LA LAGARTIJA Y EL SOL (Mexico) by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Felipe Dávalos
Have you ever wondered why lizards like to laze about in the sun? (Hint: it's not because they are cold-blooded!) It all started when the sun disappeared and the lizard went in search of it. With a little help from an Aztec emperor, a woodpecker and a great feast, he is able to bring the sun back from its slumber. With lots of detail, the illustrations really bring the Aztec culture to life. Ages 5 and up.
JUAN BOBO GOES TO WORK (Puerto Rico) by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Joe Cepeda
Juan Bobo carries on the tradition of stories about well-meaning but rather dim heroes who come by their rewards purely by accident. Juan Bobo carries out a series of tasks for the local farmer and merchant in an effort to earn some money for his mother. Fortunately, both his mother and his employers are extremely patient. When Juan inadvertently cures a local rich girl of her blues, all is well and he and his mother can look forward to a good ham dinner at least once a week (and isn't that all what we really want, anyway?). Also available in Spanish. Ages 4 and up.
HOW RAVEN GOT HIS CROOKED NOSE: AN ALASKAN DENA'INA FABLE (Dena'ina) by Barbara J. Atwater & Ethan J. Atwater, illustrated by Mindy Dwyer
A grandmother retells a traditional cautionary tale about the trickster raven, Chulyen. One morning, Chulyen discovers his nose is missing. An old woman has been using it as a tool, causing it to be bent. Transforming into a human, he attempts to find and reattach his nose but is unable to do so before his magic transformation fades and he is stuck with the crooked nose forever. I love the way Dena'ina words are used throughout the text as well as how the authors incorporate facts about the Dena'ina culture. Further information is offered in the glossary. Ages 4 and up.
MORE: Pourquoi Tales
TASUNKA: A LAKOTA HORSE LEGEND (Lakota) by Donald F. Montileaux
Brilliant illustrations capture the beauty and movement of the magnificent horse in this retelling of a Lakota legend. Legend has it that long before the White man appeared, the Lakota tamed the wild horses, bringing prosperity to their people. But after they misused the power of the horse, The Great Spirit takes them away for hundreds of years. The book includes further information on the importance of the horse for the Lakota as well as additional resources. Bilingual in English-Lakota. Ages 6 and up.
WHEN TURTLES GREW FEATHERS (Choctaw) by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Stacey Schuett
This tale will remind kids of Aesop's fable, "The Tortoise and the Hare." A turtle and a turkey have a bit of a collision and a mix up results in a rather amusing race with an arrogant rabbit. Ages 4 and up.
TOPS & BOTTOMS (Southern United States) by Janet Stevenson
This is a trickster tale with roots in the American South and Europe. The lazy bear owns a farm but since he doesn't want to do the work he makes a bargain with the poor rabbit family. The deal is that the rabbits will work the land and split the harvest in half with the bear. Rabbit only wants to know, does Bear want the tops, or the bottoms? When Bear chooses tops, Rabbit plants root crops. When Bear chooses bottoms, Rabbit plants corn. This is a clever, funny tale, and great for story time. Ages 4 and up.
JOHN HENRY (African-American) by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
John Henry is an African-American folk hero who is best known for hammering through a mountain. At the end of the story Henry has spent so much energy hammering, he collapses and dies. This was not the ending I was expecting but it didn't seem to phase my kids. Lester's text is lyrical and perfect for reading out loud. Jerry Pinkney's fantastic, award-winning paintings are a wonderful accompaniment for this story of a man who lived a "well-lived life." Ages 6 and up.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH (United States) by Anne Isaacs, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
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Widow Tulip Jones from England inherits a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas. In Texas, she and her servants soon discover everything is bigger. Much bigger. Giant crops, huge tortoises, and unfortunately, the number of suitors vying for her hand (and her fortune). Tulip devises an elaborate plan to weed out the suitors which hilariously involves diverting a river, outwitting the bad guys, an enormous wedding cake and 1000 brides. Great fun! For another great version of the same tale, read Trinka Hakes Noble's Wild West romp, Meanwhile Back at the Ranch. Ages 4 and up.
THE COURAGE OF THE LITTLE HUMMINGBIRD (Quecha/Ecuador) by Leah Henderson, illustrated by Magaly Morales
No doubt children will be inspired by this gorgeously illustrated fable from the Quecha people about a little hummingbird who steps up to the plate when help is most needed. After a forest fire forces the animals to flee the flames, the small but mighty hummingbird asks the bigger animals to help quench the blaze. None of them are willing, and they question the wisdom of the hummingbird's determination. But the little bird replies that he must do all he can. The story reminds me of Aesop's quote, "Not act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." Ages 4 and up.
LOVE AND ROAST CHICKEN: A TRICKSTER TALE FROM THE ANDES MOUNTAINS (Andes) by Barbara Knutson
This is a hilarious trickster tale featuring a wily guinea pig named Cuy. In an effort to avoid being eaten by Tío Antonio the fox, Cuy manages to convince him that he needs to brace himself under a rock in order to keep the sky from falling. Thus, Cuy sets into motion a series of tricks until Tío Antonio decides the only way he can avoid Cuy's tricks is to keep far away from him. Ages 4 and up.
THE RACE OF TOAD AND DEER (Maya) by Pat Mora, illustrated by Domi
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Several of my folktale lists have included a local version of the tortoise and the hare story. In this Mayan version of the tale, it is the deer who is undone by his boasting and vanity. Instead of being slow and steady, the crafty toad enlists the help of his fellow toads to help him win the race. Domi's vibrant watercolors are a wonderful addition. Ages 4 and up.
MORE: Latin American folktales
ANANSI AND THE GOLDEN POT (Ghana/West Africa) by Taiye Selasi, illustrated by Tinuke Fagborun
A boy named Anansi meets the famed trickster spider named Anansi. The spider gives the young lad a pot that magically refills with whatever its holder wishes for. However, Anansi the spider also issues a warning that the contents of the pot are to be shared with others. The boy does not take this advice to heart and keeps the delicious contents of his pot a secret. As you might expect, this leads to consequences in which Anansi the boy must learn lessons about generosity and kindness. Ages 4 and up.
WHY THE SKY IS FAR AWAY (Nigeria) Mary-Joan Gerson, illustrated by Carla Golembe
Long ago, anyone who was hungry could pluck what they needed from the sky but the sky gets tired and angry at the people who are wasting his bounty. The story has a positive message about the importance of not taking things for granted and good stewardship of the planet. This gorgeous book was also a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. Ages 4 and up.
HEAD, BODY, LEGS (Liberia) by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret H. Lippert, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
For quite some time, my younger son was absolutely obsessed with this book. This tale of how the human body came to be in its form today is also a story of the importance of cooperation and determination. Author Won-Ldy Paye has several other books based folktales from the Dan people of Liberia. I especially like Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile. Ages 4 and up.
WHO'S IN RABBIT'S HOUSE? (Masai) by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Diane Dillon
As much as I love Verna Aardema's Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale because I remember it from my childhood, I like this African folktale even more. That's partly because the story is presented as a play, a conceit for which I have a particular fondness. Masai villagers gather together as actors don masks to perform the story of a group of animals who attempt to get a mysterious creature, the "long one," out of rabbit's house. As happens in many folktales, it is the smallest creature who has the most success. Ages 4 and up.
THE GHOUL (Jordan) by Taghreed Najjar, illustrated by Hassan Manasra
Najjar's book was originally published in Jordan, and I'm so glad it got an English translation! A village in Arabia is quiet and peaceful except for one thing. A dreaded ghoul lives up in the mountains nearby. Hasan doesn't understand why his friends and neighbors are afraid of something they have never seen so he sets out to find it. What happens is both quite funny, as well as being a tale about the importance of tolerance, self-acceptance and overcoming prejudices. A delightful read aloud. Ages 4 and up.
YAFFA AND FATIMA: SHALOM, SALAAM (Israel/Palestine) by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
Two friends, a Muslim girl and a Jewish girl, live on neighboring date farms. The text describes the differences between the girls, but in doing so, emphasizes their similarities. This is a retelling of a folktale in which the two friends, when hardship comes, find ways to help each other. An author's note gives more information. Ages 4 and up.
THE KING AND THE THREE THIEVES (Persia/Iran) by Kristin Balouch
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This is a fun story based on a Persian folktale with illustrations inspired by Persian pottery. The fable about a king who goes out among his subjects, disguised as a poor man. He comes across three poor men huddled around a fire and offers them a meal. Each man has an unusual power and are planning to burglarize the palace. This folktale has just the right amount of humor and suspense, along with lessons about leadership and using one's gifts for good. Ages 4 and up.
THE PARROT AND THE MERCHANT (Persia/Iran) by Marjan Vafaeian
This folktale about a wealthy merchant, Mah Jahan who learns a lesson about freedom and love, is based on a tale by the Persian poet, Rumi. Mah Jahan sets out on a journey with the promise to return with gifts. He asks all his servants and then turns his favorite parrot to find out what it would like him to bring back. The parrot, however, wants the merchant to deliver a message to his fellow parrots back in India. The mysterious message turns out to be a trick that gives the parrot its freedom. Ages 5 and up.
BIRRARUNG WILAM: A STORY FROM ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIA by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
By best advice for reading Birrarung Wilam aloud is to "go with the flow." This Australian Aboriginal picture book uses words from the Woiwurrung language and you will most likely have no idea what they mean. However, reading the lyrical text out loud, first without any expectations, and then again after having looked up the words in the glossary, will delight you. The story is one of following a river through a lush landscape, and the illustrations are stupendous. You can read the book either as part of a science and nature lesson, or simply for the pure joy of the language. Ages 4 and up.
KAPAEMAHU (Hawai'i) by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, illustrated by Daniel Sousa
This fascinating tale is a must read. Four healing stones, called Kapaemahu, sit on Waikiki Beach. An Indigenous Hawaiian legend tells of four individuals who traveled to Hawai'i from Tahiti. These individuals were spirits, or mahu, each with a different gift of healing. The islanders brought the stones on the beach, and the mahu transferred their healing powers to the stones. Bilingual text in Olelo Niihau and English. Ages 5 and up.
HENNY PENNY (Northern Europe) by Paul Goldone
I've always loved this cumulative folktale about mass hysteria. You may recognize the title character by one of her alternative monikers, Chicken Licken or Chicken Little. Whatever her name, Henny Penny is freaked out that the sky is falling and rallies equally gullible animals to her cause. Ages 3 and up.
O'SULLIVAN STEW (Ireland) by Hudson Talbott
Kate's village has been put under a curse by the witch of Crookhaven! Not to worry, this feisty, imaginative and clever Irish heroine manages to rescues them all with her smart, surprising and very humorous storytelling skills. Ages 4 and up.
THE TALE OF TAM LIN (Scotland) by Lari Don, illustrated by Philip Longson
Tam Lin is based on a traditional ballad from the Scottish Borders. A young woman, Janet, meets a strange man in the forest. He says he is a mortal man who was captured by the Fairy Queen. The two come up with a plan by which Janet will rescue him during a midnight parade of the fairies in which he will be dressed as a knight on horseback. Janet proves to be a strong woman with the perseverance needed to rescue the knight and thwart the Fairy Queen. Kids will love the elaborate illustrations. Ages 6 and up.
MORE: Scottish Folktales
NAIL SOUP (Sweden) by Eric Maddern, illustrated by Paul Hess
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Nail Soup is the Swedish version of the well-known folktale "Stone Soup." In this story, a weary traveller stops for a rest at the house of a woman. She is reluctant to offer him a place to sleep but his conversational skills win her over and she finds herself supplying the ingredients for soup made from a nail. I absolutely loved the twist at the end when the traveller leaves, thinking he has tricked a foolish woman into believing he made soup out of a nail, but her final declaration indicates that she knew what was happening all along. Instead, she realized the value of friendship–a great lesson for our kids. Ages 4 and up.
MORE: Scandinavian Folktales
A RAINY DAY STORY (Jewish) by Ruth Calderon, illustrated by Noa Kelner
Here is a Talmudic story that teaches the universal value of considering the needs of others as well as oneself. Rabbi Hanina is walking home in the rain. Illustrations depict an unhappy man, but birds, frogs and other creatures enjoying the pleasures of the rain. The Rabbi asks God why it must rain and cause him so much discomfort and displeasure. When God stops the rain at his request, Rabbi Hanina notices that while he may be content, the rest of the world now suffers. Children will want to discuss the Rabbi's choices and his change of heart. An endnote includes the original Babylonian Talmud text (Taanit 24b) in both Hebrew and English. Ages 4 and up.
IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE (Yiddish) by Margot Zemach
There are several picture book versions of this Yiddish tale, but Zemach’s is my favorite. A poor man lives in an overcrowded house and the noise and activity is driving him crazy! So, he seeks out advice from the local rabbi. The rabbi, however, tells him to bring in the barn animals to his house, which turns the place into utter chaos. The illustrations are so much fun to sift through, with their funny little vignettes inside the house. When the farmer finally removes the excess animals and people from the house he declares everything to finally be peaceful — only… it is exactly as it was when he started out. Ages 4 and up.
THE ROOSTER PRINCE OF BRESLOV (Yiddish) by Ann Redisch Stampler, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
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I love this Yiddish tale! A young prince gets everything he wants without having to work for it. One day he mysteriously sheds his clothes and starts acting like a rooster. Doctors are called in but no one can find the cure. However, an old man claims he can get the "prince ready to rule the land." Over the next few days, the old man lives with the boy, coming down to his level, relating to him in such a way as to expose the boy's compassionate side, nurturing his desire to perform mitzvoth. I loved this story because it turns a somewhat complex lesson of learning self-worth by practicing compassion and learning the value of good deeds over material wealth into a very accessible story (a rooster boy does elicit a few laughs) for kids. Ages 4 and up. PJ Library has a discussion guide here.
NOT ONE DAMSEL IN DISTRESS: WORLD FOLKTALES FOR STRONG GIRLS by Jane Yolen illustrated by Susan Guevara
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For parents tired of reading stories of hapless princesses dressing in ball gowns and get rescued by princes, Yolen's collection of fierce girls who know their own mind and take action will be a welcome reprieve. Yolen's retellings of lesser known folktales are drawn for sources around the world. Ages 6 and up.
THE PEOPLE COULD FLY (African-American) by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
Celebrated children’s author, Virginia Hamilton, wrote this wonderful collection of Black American folktales. There are several categories of tales ranging from animal trickster legends, stories of the supernatural and tales of freedom. At the end of each short story, Hamilton includes her notes on the origin of the tale and its dialect. I also highly recommend the audiobook! Ages 6 and up.
TALES FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS: STORIES OF ADVENTURE, MAGIC, LOVE, AND BETRAYAL by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Christina Balit
This collection is published by National Geographic and contains 45 nights, (thankfully down from the original 1,001). Napoli's retellings have an air of optimism, emphasize wisdom and feature strong female characters. A fun book to read aloud. Ages 7 and up.
SEVEN WAYS TO TRICK A TROLL (Scandinavia) by Lise Lunge-Larsen, illustrated by Kari Vick
This picture book-style collection of seven troll stories is a delight! Read one tale every night before bed and in a week, your family will be well-equipped to take on any troll in any circumstance. For example, did you know trolls hate loud noises and that they burst when angry? This kind of information, as well as good skiing skills, will come in handy! Ages 4 and up.
REYNARD THE FOX (Europe) retold by by Renate Raecke, illustrated by Jonas Lauströer
Reynard the Fox first began appearing in stories in the late medieval period, although clever foxes have been around since Aesop's Fables. This beautifully illustrated edition includes several tales of trickster Reynard's pranks and adventures. The story begins with the lion king assembling the other animals at court to hear their grievances against Reynard. Reynard then comes to his own defense but manages to get the best of the animals once again and we cannot help but secretly grin at his mischievous ways. Ages 6 and up.
AESOP'S FABLES, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
All the classic fables you know and love, in addition to some that might be new to you, are in this handsomely illustrated edition. Pinkney has also illustrated several stand alone picture books of Aesop fables like The Lion and the Mouse, and The Tortoise and the Hare. Ages 3 and up.
THE SEA RINGED WORLD (Americas) by María García Esperón, illustrated by Amanda Mijangos
David Bowes translated this collection of 18 Indigenous folktales from across the entire expanse of the Americas. I love the way each story begins with a short poem. Readers will enjoy the wide variety of creation stories, cautionary tales, porquoi tales and more. The illustrations are stunning and I highly recommend it as a read aloud. Also available in Spanish. Ages 7 and up.
THE MAN OF THE MOON AND OTHER STORIES FROM GREENLAND by Gunvor Bjerre, illustrated by Miki Jacobsen
The stories in this anthology are based on oral tales collected by anthropologist Knud Rasmussen. Gunvor Bjerre has adapted these stories and focused on those about children and young people. There is action and humor, but also the kind of darker elements we often see in folktales and myths from around the world. I found many of the stories were very different from the kinds of folktales I was familiar with. I don't know of any other Greenlandic folktale books aimed at a young audience and this one is well worth picking up. Ages 5 and up.
RIDING A DONKEY BACKWARDS by Sean Taylor and Khayaal Theatre Company, illustrated by Shirin Adl
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This folktale collection is for everyone who loves a little silliness in addition to wisdom in their reading. Mulla Nasruddin is the wisest fool in the village and the lead character in this funny collection of trickster tales drawn from Muslim folklore. Each of the stories is no more than one or two pages long, making it a great book to reach for when you need a quick time filler. Ages 4 and up.
ZLATEH THE GOAT AND OTHER STORIES by Isaac Bashevis Singer, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
If you are not familiar with Chelm, Singer's book of short stories is the best introduction. In Jewish folklore, Chelm came into being when an angel, tasked with distributing a sack of fools around the world, tripped and spilled them all in one place! Chelm is a village of fools and the seven Elders are the most foolish of all. There are seven stories in all, each with a little lesson to be gleaned, but read them for the light-hearted humor and a few giggles. Ages 5 and up.
THE DAY IT SNOWED TORTILLAS by Joe Hayes, illustrated by Antonio Castro L.
Hayes' collection of original folktales from New Mexico is a delight. The book contains the stories in both English and Spanish, making it a great addition for bilingual families or classroom use. Ages 7 and up.