By Carol Felicio
Popular Folktales Recreated with a Multicultural Twist
With common folktales, the animals or settings chosen to demonstrate the lessons in the story hold a different significance for different cultures. In addition to looking at folktales and fairy tales that originated in another part of the world, it’s fun for kids to read a common fable with a multicultural twist. It can also boost children’s self-esteem when their own culture or language is represented.
The World of Stories series responsively retells a classic folktale with culturally relevant animals, food, and settings. These adventures are set in diverse areas around the world and come with lesson plans and activities that will encourage children to learn more about other countries and cultures. They are also available in many bilingual editions to support language learners.
The Three Little Howlers by Anneke Forzani
In the rainforest of Central America, three howler monkeys decide to build houses of their own. This lively retelling of The Three Little Pigs showcases how a different setting can lead to different houses for the howler monkeys. From eating pepian to outsmarting a jaguar, this multicultural resource introduces readers to a new part of the world, but through a familiar story.
The Three Little Sun Bears by Anneke Forzani
By using the setting of a tropical rainforest in Asia, the sun bears experience different issues when faced with the threat of a ferocious Siberian tiger. In the end, they resolve the problem in a surprising way and offer readers a chance to learn more about food, settings, and animals from the region!
Reading world folktales and fables with the kids in your family or classroom is a great opportunity to teach, bond, and work on literacy skills. Gladys Elizabeth, a classroom teacher, shared The Three Little Howlers with her dual immersion kindergarteners. She built a lesson around comparing the story with The Three Little Pigs and exploring the culture and nature of Central and South America.
Language Lizard offers simple lesson plans for teachers like Gladys to download and create multicultural classroom activities that can be used throughout the year. How have you incorporated world folktales and fables in your classroom? Continue the conversation on social media using #Folktales and #Fables.
Carol Felicio holds a Master of the Arts in Education Policy and Social Analysis from Teachers College Columbia University and joined Language Lizard, LLC to continue her passion for early childhood and bilingual education. Previously, she has taught as an ESL instructor in both Spain and South Korea.