Native American folktales for kids (North America) -- picture books

American Folk Tales and Songs Songs with Muisc and Guitar Accompaniment Compiled by Richard Chase Book 239 pages

American Tall Tales

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  • Leach, Maria. The Rainbow Book of American Folk Tales and Legends. Illustrated by Marc Simont. Cleveland: World Publishing Co., [1958]. 318 p., 29 cm. Lettering for title.

    Students will explore the elements of American folktales, especially tall tales, learning how they are passed on from generation to generation, how they use exaggeration, and how they convey a message or make a point. Students will identify common elements of tall tales and write a tall tale of their own, which they will read aloud to the class.

  • I’m continuing my folktale picture book series with Native American stories — specifically, North America (excluding Mexico). Not too worry, South (and Central) America will get their chance, too! I was pleasantly surprised at the number of Native American folktales I found, not that there couldn’t be more, but because when I started this project…

    "Famous American Folktales "gathers the most famous and shared folktales. Beautifully illustrated, it is a perfect book for bedtime. It will include: "The Phantom Train of Marshall Pass,"" Sasquatch," "The Maid in the Mist," "Paul Bunyan and the Hard Winter," "Moll Pitcher the Fortune Teller," "Guardian of Yosemite," and "Jackalope."J. E. Bright lives in Washington Heights, New York. He has written more thanninety novels, novelizations, novelty books, storybook apps, and nonfiction books for young readers and young adults. This is his second book to be published with Auzou. The first one is "American Fun Facts.""


    Below are some of the best children's books of the genre.

    We have a lot more world and American folk tales to add to this list. Check back this summer, and, if you know of good world or American folk tales, let us know!

    Note
    : The interest age of the world and American folk tales listed below increases as you move down the page.

    We also have lists of the best books in other genres.
    For the book lists for other genres or other language arts topics (phonics, parts of speech, etc), click here.


  • Folklore & Folk Tales

    Folklore is an umbrella term for the music, oral history, beliefs, jokes, legends and customs that together form the unique traditions of a culture.

    This means the genre of world and American folk tales can be a bit confusing, since folk narratives can include fairy tales, ghost stories, myths and legends, tall tales, even urban legends. Even though these types of narratives are clearly part of other genres, if they are derived from the traditions and stories of a particular culture, they can also be considered in the genre of folk tales/narratives.

    We cannot be sure to what extent collectors rather than storytellers have determined the history of the African American folktale repertoire. There is little doubt that the animal tales were told during slavery. But tales of the contest of wits between the black man and the white first appear in collections between 1915 and 1919, and only gradually develop in the 1930s and 1940s into the cycle of episodes in the perpetual battle between John the unsubmissive slave and his Old Marster. Whether former slaves withheld these stories for fifty years after Emancipation, or early collectors intent on animal stories failed to seek them out, or they developed in the twentieth century as a commentary on the perpetuation of inequality, we don't know. What the published record does show is that, while African American folk narrative comes out of slavery, it is not an artifact of the slave period but a living tradition. In the twentieth century, as the selections in the book reflect, African American folktales became increasingly politically pointed and were adapted to the rhythms and concerns of an increasingly urban folk. Perhaps the clearest testimony to the continuing vitality of African American folk narrative is its importance in the fiction of such writers as Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison.

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. Paul Goble (who is actually from England!) wrote and illustrated numerous picture books and story collections based on Native American folktales and legends from several different cultures. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses about a girl with a special connection to horses may be considered his most well-known since it won the Caldecott; other great choices include  and .