Posts tagged ‘folktales’

TALL TALES FROM LITTLE PEOPLE

Fairies and Elves: Folktales from around the world (Bedtime stories, Fairy Tales for Kids ages 6-12)

Written by Teya Evans

This folktale collection consists of ten stories from around the world. They do not fit the mold of commonly repeated tales. Rather than centering on one part of the world, the author covers the globe and the continents. Featured tales originate in Iceland, South Africa, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Iran, Benin, and Wales. A human character interacts with magical spirits in each of the tales.

These nuggets of cultural traditions were passed down from generation to generation. They teach readers lessons about themselves, our relationships with the world around us, and how to honor and respect all forms of life both large and small. The advice to be truthful and to keep your promises is embedded throughout the stories.

The print is large and comfortable for young readers, although the passive voice is used frequently. I believe the stories might be even more interesting if a few illustrations were included. These are the reasons for my rating of three and a half stars. Recommended for readers in elementary and middle school.

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A TRUE FRIEND

The Monk and the Yak

Written and Illustrated by Ori Avnur

The Monk and the Yak is a picture book that is set in India at the foot of the Himalayas. The monk and his yak live and work peacefully side by side. One winter the monk becomes seriously ill so he dispatches a message with the yak to a neighboring village seeking help. When the monk finally recovers, he is astonished to find out the source of his recovery.

The story is an inspiring one for readers in the elementary grades. Illustrations are soft and accurately convey the mood. I would suggest that the size of the font be increased as it is too small for young readers. Recommended especially for children ages five through eight.

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#ReadYourWorld Multicultural Book Day 2018

I am delighted to have been a part of Multicultural Book Day since its inception. This year,  I received two wonderful books from the publisher and author. If you enjoy reading these reviews, please consider following my blog by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS Feed Button in the upper right-hanc corner of this post.

THE PUMPKIN PROTECTOR

Pattan’s Pumpkin: A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India

Written by Chitra Soundar

Illustrated by Frané Lessac

I am delighted to share a Southern Indian flood tale story for 2017 Multicultural Book Day. Pattan and his wife, Kanni, lived on their farm alongside the Sahyadri Mountains. They tended goats, bulls, and elephants. Their crops included peppers, rice, nutmeg, and bananas, which they generously shared.

One day Pattan discovered a sickly plant so he decided to care for it next to his hut.  Due to his tender care, the plant miraculously grew into an enormous pumpkin. When a terrifying rainstorm did not abate, the couple decided they must flee with every living thing that lived on their farm. Where could they hide? Pattan made the decision to harvest the pumpkin. All the animals pitched in to hollow out the pumpkin as Kanni filled sacks with food supplies. When they were finished, the animals dove into the pumpkin as Pattan cut the stem holding it in place. Kanni sang a lullaby to soothe the young animals as the storm thrashed outside.

Eventually, the rains let up, and the pumpkin came to a halt. Pattan peeked out and discovered that the sun had appeared. They began their journey home. Pattan had kept one seed from the pumpkin savior. Ever since that day Pattan and his descendants look after their animals and pumpkin crop in the Kerala valley.

This hardcover book is richly illustrated in primitive folk style. The colors are brilliant and rich. I would recommend the book for young readers in preschool and the primary grades who will appreciate the narrative that unfolds through the pictures. Suggested as a bedtime story or read aloud.

 

SHELLY BEAN, SPORTS QUEEN

Shelly Bean the Sports Queen plays a game of catch

Written by Shelly Biyum-Breen

Illustrated by Marieka Heinlen

Shelly, her brothers, Matt and Ben, and her friends Audrey and Maya, are having fun attending a softball game in which Shelly’s cousin, Olivia is playing. As the game continues Shelly decides that she would like to learn how to play. Shelly eagerly accepts Olivia’s invitation to play catch with other teammates after the game. At first, Shelly throws and catches underhand, but Olivia urges her to progress to overhand throws. Soon Olivia can do both.

Olivia arrives home and proudly adds another “jewel” to her paper sports crown. Olivia sets realistic goals for herself and rewards herself for achieving them. At the end of the tale, the author includes tips on how to throw and catch a softball with a mitt. She also provides a glossary of basic baseball terminology.

The book teaches readers the values of determination and good sportsmanship. It encourages girls to pursue competition in sports.  Colorful and simple pictures with large print text allow primary grade readers to follow along easily. Recommended for girls who want to become players as well as princesses.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

 

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Thought Soup: A Story for Youngsters and the Adults Who Love Them

Written by Lyle Olsen

Illustrated by Marnie Webster

ThoughtSoup,pic

This short e book packs a lot of punch in a few pages. A stranger ambles into a small town carrying an iron kettle on his back. He unloads it in the middle of the town square and proceeds to set up cooking. The townspeople distrust him, having been tricked into contributing to strangers many times before. When the mayor confronts the stranger as to what he intends to cook; he answers, “thought soup” and offers to demonstrate.

The stranger says that he will solicit thoughts from them and pulls out a large sack from his belongings. He requests each of the townspeople place his head in the sack and deposit his thoughts within. Once they are finished, the stranger empties his sack into the boiling water and asks that each bring a bowl and spoon to taste the soup. Much to their surprise, the soup is so bad that many believe themselves to be poisoned. The stranger admits that the soup tastes bad. All the citizens want to run him out of town, but the stranger convinces them to give him another chance with dinner. If they will only think delicious thoughts, he will produce a wonderful soup. So they throw him into jail until supper.

During that same day, the townsfolk reflect on what could have made that soup taste so bad. Each of these colorful characters remember how negative their thoughts were that morning and think about how to make their lives better. For example, the candlestick maker realizes how greedy she has been and resolves to make better candlesticks quicker using cheaper materials while offering better prices. The town crier admits to himself that he has been spreading gossip and should concentrate on positive things. Even the mayor recognizes that deep inside he has not lived up to his campaign promises and owes it to the citizens to do a better job.

Dinner time arrives and the soup-maker is released. Each of the townspeople once again add their thoughts to the sack. There were so many positive thoughts they had to use a basket to keep the sack from flying away. How do you think the soup will taste? What will happen to the stranger and the members of the town in the future? Our author ends the book with the caveat, “This is Not the End.”

This book is really a delightful read for children and adults. I would recommend it as an independent read for ages eight and up, but parents and teachers can certainly use it as a read aloud and valuable teaching tool to discuss how our negative feelings can poison ourselves and others. My one regret is that the pictures were not larger and more detailed because the nostalgic setting and characters are charming, and if illustrated in detail, would really bring this book to life.

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A DIFFERENT SIDE OF SYRIA

Syrian Folktales

Written by Muna Imady

Syrianfolktalespic

For more than a year, Syria has been in the news due to the horrific civil war that has torn it apart and inflicted misery and suffering upon its civilian population. In Syrian Folktales, the reader is introduced to a different perspective. Muna Imady grew up in Syria. She  presents the tales of her oral heritage beginning with the words “once upon a time…” ( Kan ya ma kan), that were passed down to her by her grandmother. (Tete) The author provides the reader with a glossary of Syrian terms for reference.

In the overview, Imady informs us that Syria is a country with a population of eighteen million spread out into fourteen distinct administrative units called Muhafazat. The Syrian Arab Republic lies at the crossroads of trade routes linking Africa, Asia and Europe. Turkey lies to its north, Iraq to its east, Jordan and Palestine to the south, and Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the east.

The author divides the book by these fourteen areas. Not only does she present a folktale or two for each of them, she entices us with recipes, riddles, street peddler songs, and a Hadith.

What is a Hadith? It is a saying from the Holy Prophet of Muslim. Here is one of the riddles: I come from water and I die in water. What am I?

I will retell a folktale from Dara’a, a province that contains many archaeological sites which date back to Roman times aptly titled, The Sky is Raining Meat. The tale tells of a farmer and his wife who live an ordinary but comfortable existence. There is one big problem. The wife talks too much. One day the farmer finds a jug full of gold coins. He is afraid that the landlord will discover his good fortune so he buries the jug. Then he secretly kills and cooks a sheep. Next he ascends to the roof of his dwelling and throws chunks of meat from the roof. His wife observes his strange behavior but happily runs to gather up the meat. Later, the farmer takes his wife to the place where he buried the coins and tells her of their good fortune. Sure enough, the wife begins to spread the good news. The landlord arrives to demand the gold. When the wife informs him, they found the gold the same day that the sky was raining meat, the landlord decides she must be crazy! After that day no one believed anything the wife said. The farmer and his wife lived happily ever after.

Many of the tales from Syria bear similarities in characters and themes to those of Western culture. There are tales of the raven and the fox, a wicked stepmother, the sly fox, a woodcutter, dragons, witches, and  three pigs. While reading though them, I was reminded of The Frog and the Prince, Snow White, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast. Imady has done an admirable job in presenting the traditions of this region which date back to the fourth millennium B.C. Parents and teachers who want to explore what Syria is really about should take a look. Appropriate for children age ten and above.

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