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Let’s Explore Myths, Legends and Folklore!

 

“I believe that legends and myths are largely made up of truth.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Myths, legends and folklores are full of rich insights into human culture and history. These are stories that have been passed on through generations and address timeless, universal themes. Moreover, they help in fostering imagination and establishing moral boundaries for children during their growing up years.

It is always a good time to tell, listen and read fables, myths, folklores and legends. After all, we all love a good story and these have stood the test of time.

We have handpicked some of the best children’s books that are based on well-known myths, legends and folklore –

The Sun and the Wind by Mairi Mackinnon

This is a lively retelling of a story from Aesop’s fables. There are puzzle-based activities at the end of the story which makes for some engaging family time afterwards.  

Reading Level: Grade KG I Interest Level: Lower Years I Page Count: 32

The Little Green Drum by Taghreed Najjar

This is an English version of a story originally written in Arabic. The story, set in a Palestinian village, is about a girl who breaks stereotypes and does everything because she can. The book is embellished with sound effects making it a fun read for young readers.

Reading Level: Grade 2 I Interest Level: Lower Years I Page Count: 71

The Rumour by Anushka Ravishankar

Set in a little village in India, this is a story about how hard it can be to keep a secret. And how strange things can get as the village people follow the path of a rumour. This is a charming folklore from the village of Baddbaddpur that is retold with a lot of laughs by Anushka Ravishankar in her own inimitable style.

Reading Level: Grade 3 I Interest Level: Lower Years I Page Count: 32

How the Stars Fell into the Sky: A Navajo Legend by Jerrie Oughton

In this retelling of a Navajo legend, the First Woman wants to write laws for everyone using the sky as her canvas. So she starts to put her jewels in the sky in a meaningful pattern. Soon the coyote helping her gets bored with the slowness of the work. What does the coyote do? Does the woman finish writing the laws the way she wanted to?

Reading Level: Grade 3 I Interest Level: Lower Years I Page Count: 32

Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet

This book is inspired by a centuries-old Chinese legend of tea picking monkeys. It is a captivating story with rich illustrations that tells us about a little girl Tashi who must go to pick tea leaves when her mother falls ill. But soon she comes face to face with the heartless overseer. Just when Tashi begins to lose all hope, something extraordinary happens to her. 

Reading Level: Grade 3 I Interest Level: Lower Years I Page Count: 48

Zeus’s Eagle by Lucy Coats

This is the final book in the Beast of Olympus series. Demon is reunited with his long lost father, the Greek God Pan. He is taken to Mount Olympus, the kingdom of Gods, where his life is busier than ever before. To make matters worse, goddess Psyche wants to send Demon on a quest that could risk the wrath of Zeus. What is Demon’s next move going to be? An exciting read indeed!

Reading Level: Grade 3 I Interest Level: Lower Years I Page Count: 131

Lugalbanda: The Boy Who Got Caught Up in a War by Kathy Henderson

This is an ancient Iraqi tale from approximately 5000 years ago about a boy named Lugalbanda. When prince Lugalbanda, along with his brothers and father, is on his way to conquer a city, he falls ill and is left behind. After recovering, he tries to find his family. What ensues is an extraordinary adventure that finally results in his rise to the throne. This story was lost in time and rediscovered about 150 years ago! It is one of the world’s oldest stories.

Reading Level: Grade 3 I Interest Level: Lower Years I Page Count: 77

Indian Tales: A Barefoot Collection by Shenaaz Nanji

A Parents’ Choice 2008 Silver Honor Award Winner, this book is a collection of eight diverse tales from different states of India along with beautiful illustrations. Besides the stories itself, kids get to learn fun facts about the states from which these stories come. The book helps foster multicultural learning in an engaging way. 

Reading Level: Grade 3 I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 160

The Boy Without a Name by Idries Shah

This is a Sufi folklore about a boy who was not given a name by his parents as per the advice of a wise man. The wise man promises to give the boy a name when he is older. This is an engaging book about the journey of the nameless boy who sets out to find his name. The story also touches upon the broader theme of peace and happiness.

Reading Level: Grade 4 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 31

The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi

This is a quirky and magical story about the Grace kids discovering the secret world of the faeries. Do the faeries allow them to share this secret about them with the rest of the world? 

Reading Level: Grade 4 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 107

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? by Lauren Child

This book has familiar characters like Goldilocks and Cinderella but with a twist in the plot. In the story the protagonist, Herb, scribbles in his book of fairy tales. Award winning author Lauren Child takes young readers on a journey of imagination when Herb finds out that he has fallen in the book of fairy tales that he was doodling on.

Reading Level: Grade 4 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 32

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

This is a story about 12 years old Marinka who longs for a real human companion. Making friends is hard for her as she lives with her grandmother who guides the dead to the afterlife. Also, she lives in a house with chicken legs that wanders all over. One day Marinka decides to break all rules with devastating consequences. A fun spin on old Baba Yaga tales, this book is full of suspense and magic.

Reading Level: Grade 4 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 262

Why the Fish Laughed and Other Tales by Kevin Crossley-Holland

This book is a collection of fascinating tales from Asia and India, Central and South America, North America and the Pacific. With stories of emperors, princesses, dragons and more, this book exposes kids to a rich diversity of customs and cultures in our world.

Reading Level: Grade 4 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 122

Keep a Lid on It, Pandora! by Kate McMullan

This book is a modern take on the Greek myth about Pandora’s box told from Hades’s (Lord of the Underworld) point of view. He needs to set the record straight for all the modifications that Zeus, his little brother, has made to the myths in order to make himself look good. Told with a lot of wit, the story is sure to tickle young readers.

Reading Level: Grade 4 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 183

Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer

The Eternity Code is the third book in the series. In this book the readers get to understand the character of Artemis a lot more as he tries to recover the fairy technology stolen by a greedy businessman. Action, adventure, comedy and friendship – this book has it all.

Reading Level: Grade 4 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 356

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan

This is the finale of the number one bestseller, Trials of Apollo series. Lester and Meg have to overcome one seemingly impossible adventure after another. This book ties up all the loose ends well to conclude the series on a high note.

Reading Level: Grade 4 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 396

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry

A winner of the Newbery Medal, this is a story of Mafatu, who is afraid of the sea because he had lost his mother to the sea. Though he was the son of the chief, he was called a coward by everyone. This legend from Polynesian Islands tells us how Mafatu goes on an adventure to face his fears or be consumed by them. Even today the people of Hikueru sing this story to their young. 

Reading Level: Grade 5 and above I Interest Level: Middle and Teen Years I Page Count: 128

 

Most kids love to read up on mythology, legends and folklore. The trials and triumphs of gods, humans and magical creatures fill them with wonder while sensitising them to the diversity and richness of cultural beliefs around the world. We hope you enjoyed reading through this fantastic list that we put together on ancient stories originating from different countries and continents.

Pick from these or loads of other fun reads from around the globe, specially curated for BookGuru’s young readers. We will be happy to deliver them to your doorstep! 

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