The Talking Eggs
Robert D. San Souci, Scholastic Inc
.* Blanche, one of the main characters of this enchanting folk tale, represents kindness, charity, love. Her sister, Rose, and mother are, in contrast, conspiring, mean-spirited and selfish. A mysterious elder helps young readers discover the former qualities are the best to embrace. This Cinderella-type tale, popular among the Cajun and Creole people of Louisiana and within many black communities throughout the American South, has been handed down through oral tradition. It's a great prelude to a Social Development unit on moral values.
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
John Steptoe, Scholastic Inc
.* This African folk tale is beautifully retold and illustrated by a master artist, and it is one that children clamor to hear repeatedly. Steptoe illustrated this book based on learning about the ruins of an ancient city in Zimbabwe, South Africa. Recognizing that in African tradition, children are named based on their personalities, physical traits and/or life circumstances into which they are born, he befittingly names his characters:
) is the friendly, nurturing child in this story.
, Nyasha's sister, means ashamed, and readers soon learn why this title has been bestowed on her.
, translated in Shona language of South Africa, means
, as truly the father of these two children is. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "goodness reaps reward" are morals that undergird this story.
Two Ways to Count to Ten
A Liberian Folk tale Retold by Ruby Dee, Henry Holt and Company
.* The Mighty Leopard, once king of the jungle, decides to name a successor to rule his kingdom. He holds a contest, challenging all the animals in the jungle to throw a spear high into the sky, count to ten, and catch the spear before it lands. All fail but one who uses ingenuity to win the challenge. Your children will enthusiastically use Math know-how to deduce the winner!
, Retold by Deborah Newton-Chocolate, Troll Associates*. This story is based on an Asante (pronounced "Ashante") legend in what is today known as Ghana, West Africa. It is based on an Asante belief that all living things, inanimate objects and places have a life of their own. The Asante Stool depicted in the story is believed to house the spirit of the Asante people. The book also provides background information about Ghana. Another great Social Studies resource!
Many Thousands Gone
Told by Virginia Hamilton (Alfred A. Knopf)
* A journey through American history unfolds upon reading this work. It profiles major figures in the history of slavery in America. Of particular interest to young readers is the story of Araminta, better known as Harriet Tubman. This dynamically written work helps children recognize those who paved the way to freedom during slavery times. Some stories may have to be paraphrased so youngsters can get the meat of the text. But, when read aloud with fervor, the children are eager to learn more about many of the unsung heroes noted within.
The People Could Fly
American Black Folk Tales (Virginia Hamilton)
.* Black folk lore comes to life on the pages of this invaluable anthology. Trickster tales, supernatural stories, and stirring slave narratives total 24 in this selection. Ms. Hamilton provides a brief history behind each story contained therein, which enriches the storyline of each tale. A must-have item!