Narrative forms have the potential to inspire, sustain and heal us, and traditional folktales have a special healing magic for children. Witch and monster stories like Baba Yaga and Heckedy Peg show how to get through the dark woods of life and suggest that there are helpful beings along the way. Kelly Herold (of Big A little a) writes on “Baba Yaga Heads West” in the September issue of The Edge of the Forest. The Elves and the Shoemaker illustrates the practice of generosity. Talking Eggs, a traditional Louisiana Creole Cinderella tale, demonstrates the eventual triumph of good over evil. In the Uncle Remus stories, underdogs like tar baby and the rabbit outfox the scary fox himself. Native American coyote tales offer tales of connectedness with the natural world. In our stress-filled lives, these stories provide steadying information and wisdom.
For folktales from Asia, search the wealth of the PaperTigers website, or go directly to interviews with authors like Debjani Chatterjee and Demi, who have written stories based on folktales. For faves of Asian kids, here’s a review of a collection of folktale retellings. And for Hispanic folktales, check out Tales Our Abuelitas Told.
PaperTigers welcomes your feedback about this important form of literature for the child within each of us.