March 20-26 is World Folktales and Fables week. Children learn about the world through books and I believe it is important to build a diverse children’s library. Today I am sharing some of our family’s favorite stories and picture books from around the world. When you are finished reading, I would love to hear your family’s favorites!
Including World Folktales and Fables in Your Homeschool
This vibrantly colored collection starts off with a brief history of Africa along with a map of the continent. The book consists of eight stories: Nolwandle, Girl of the Waves (Namibia), Makhosi and the Magic Horns (Malawi), Masilo and Masilonyana (Lesotho), The Great Hunter (Swaziland), Sea Wind (Senegal), Ananse and the Impossible Quest (Ghana), The Story of the Wise Mother (Sudan), and Everything Changes, Everything Passes (Ethiopia). Each of the eight stories is prefaced by an introduction filled with interesting details and facts about the country of origin.
My 6-year-old daughter adores this book. It tells the story of Mama Panya and her son, Adika, as they walk through a Kenyan marketplace. Mama plans to make pancakes and has only a few coins with her, yet her son invites everyone they encounter on their journey. In the end, everyone contributes and has a lovely time together. This is a wonderful story about sharing and generosity. It also includes a brief overview of village life in Kenya, animals one might see on a trip to the market, Kiswahili greetings, and a recipe to make Mama Panya’s pancakes.
My Granny Went to Market: A Round-the-World Counting Rhyme by Stella Blackstone and Christopher Corr
Your children will delight in Granny’s trip around-the-world shopping trip… on a magic carpet! As they count along with Granny, they will learn about different countries, cities, languages, and cultural objects.
This award-winning book is gorgeous. It will become an instant classic in your home. This collection contains eight Japanese fairy tales, each with a different illustrator. My children have enjoyed listening to these stories while traveling, too.
This is a story that everyone can appreciate. It is the tale of two brothers, fighting over their deceased father’s land. To settle the dispute, King Solomon shares an ancient tale of two selfless brothers who love can give to each other generously. A beautiful story and message, it is a perfect family read-aloud and way to discuss sibling squabbles.
Do you know those days when your children are in dire need of an afternoon quiet time but it’s just not happening? This audiobook has saved me many an afternoon. The book features Haitian, Cree, English, French, West African, Russian, and Irish folktales. With gorgeous illustrations and a riveting storytime CD, your children will be thoroughly enchanted with this one.
This sweet little collection packs a punch. It is not only a wonderful collection of stories from around the world but each story carries a theme of respect for nature and our planet. It includes stories from Australia, Nigeria, American Southwest, Bali, Kazakhstan, India, and Wales. In addition, the book contains multiple crafts and extension activities based on the stories contained therein.
Both of my boys have gone through multiple pirate phases. When we are in the midst of one, this book and Portside Pirates are their top two favorites. This book features Scandinavian, English, German, Irish, Japanese, Scottish, and Moroccan pirate tales. This collection is sure to please even the youngest pirate lover!
This version of this old Russian folktale has my children in stitches every single time! The CD is fantastic and the illustrations are brilliant. Your children will double over with laughter as they watch the old man, and others, attempt to pull the gigantic turnip from the earth!
This is a beautiful story with a sweet message. Shiraz is a young girl from Tehran who lives with her father and stepmother and half-sister. When her father dies, her stepmother begins to treat her poorly. One day, while knitting a sweater using her deceased mother’s yarn, Shiraz’s ball of yarn blows away. She goes in search of it and encounters a scary older woman. I’m not going to tell you what happens next, but I will share that this is a story with an important message for our children: see the good in others and be kind to everyone.
I have written about this sweet story before. It a beautiful story that weaves together history, geography, family, nature, sadness, peace, and hope. It chronicles the story of a bonsai and its caretakers through the generations, including the horrific events of Hiroshima. The bonsai is there as Hiroshima rebuilds and is eventually given to the United States as a peace offering, commemorating its bicentennial.
This is a fantastic little collection of stories. The last time we went up north for a little R and R, we brought this book along. We have listened to it so many times that I probably have it memorized, but I have yet to tire of it. This collection features German, Indian, African-American, Russian, Norwegian, English, and Jewish stories. Hugh Lupton is a master storyteller and will captivate your children will each tale.
We received this amazing book from our friend who lives in Tanzania. Your children will be enthralled with this journey through the Tanzanian grasslands. Not only that, but they will learn to count from 1-10 in English and Swahili! The book also includes a map of Tanzania, facts about the country, and a brief introduction to the Maasai people.
This engaging little story will introduce your children to many of the wonders of the Amazonian rainforest, including pink river dolphins, sloths, black caimans, anacondas, monkeys, parrots, and poison dart frogs. As your children follow along, they will also learn about the importance of this amazing place. They will learn about its native people and the dangers facing the area. Do you want to introduce your children to the concept of conservation? This is a fantastic place to start.
My oldest has been fascinating with the Nile River since we first studied it in Story of the World. This is an engaging story of a trip down the Nile and your children will learn about some of the important places located along the famous river. In addition to the story, this book includes a map of the area, a brief overview of Ancient Egypt, its gods and goddesses, pyramids, mummies, hieroglyphics, and more.
Take the reading to the next level…
Here are some related posts would complement the aforementioned books nicely:
A few resources we love for hands-on fun
Now, it’s your turn: What is your family’s favorite fable or folktale? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram