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Best & Brightest Children's Traditional Stories 2020


This Best & Brightest list was created by Denver Public Library staff to celebrate our favorite recently published traditional stories. Enjoy!

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Under The Great Plum Tree
Ahmed, Sufiya, author.
Preschool-5th grade. “An unlikely friendship between Miss Bandari and Mr Magarmach forms when the pair meet under the great plum tree, deep in the heart of India. Mr Magarmach is old and his hunting days are over but Miss Bandari loves hearing his stories as they munch plums together. One day their friendship is tested but with courage, trust and forgiveness they discover that living happily together tastes just as sweet as Miss Bandari’s golden plums. The story of the monkey and the crocodile is a fable from the Panchatantra, an ancient Indian collection of animal fables dated to 300 BCE.” --From the publisher. Vivid illustrations conjure a rich, complex world where a golden-hearted monkey and a well-intentioned crocodile become friends. Ahmed relates that this story, with origins in a collection of Indian folktales, was inspired by her mother's tales from the Indian jungle. Dazzling design and elegant text make this a book to share.
Chia And The Fox Man: An Alaskan Dena'ina Fable
Atwater, Barbara J., author.
Preschool-5th grade. “Life is hard for Chia. His village doesn’t have enough food and every day there are many chores to do. Chia always goes to bed hungry and tired, until one day in the middle of the night he wakes to a strange noise. He decides to investigate—and meets the legendary Fox Man. Will the Fox Man be able to help Chia and his village?” --From the publisher. With dynamic pacing and expressive language, this retelling of a traditional story evokes oral storytelling's vitality. The mother and son team who share this story are of Dena'ina heritage and learned this story from their uncle, Dena'ina elder Walter Johnson. They provide back matter that places the tale in the context of Dena'ina culture.
Goddesses And Heroines: Women Of Myth And Legend
Gresham, Xanthe, author.
5th grade & up. “Goddesses and Heroines tells the tales of inspirational female characters from ancient myth and legend which all too often go untold. Performance storyteller Xanthe Gresham-Knight draws on original texts and lends renewed relevance to stories from cultures around the world.” --From the publisher. Shiny, rose gold embellishments on the cover of this book signal instantly that this is a compilation of important stories. Intricately patterned illustrations accompany culturally diverse stories of strength and imagination. To top it off, the indispensable back matter includes a comprehensive bibliography and a contextual guide of history and symbols.
The Fabled Life Of Aesop
Lendler, Ian, author.
Preschool-5th grade. “Honoring the path of a slave, this dramatic picture-book biography and concise anthology of Aesop’s most child-friendly fables tells how a child born into slavery in ancient Greece found a way to speak out against injustice by using the skill and wit of his storytelling—storytelling that has survived for 2,500 years.” --From the publisher. This hybrid of story, biography and illustration takes the reader on a journey through Aesop’s Fables. The historical context of Aesop’s life as an enslaved person reframes the tales accompanying magical acrylic illustrations. Those looking to read the classic stories and their origins will find this to be the perfect compilation.
Birrarung Wilam : A Story From Aboriginal Australia
Murphy Wandin, Joy, author.
Preschool-5th grade. “Travel along Melbourne’s twisting Yarra River in a glorious celebration of Indigenous culture and Australia’s unique flora and fauna. Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly and Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri people Aunty Joy Murphy join to tell the Indigenous and geographical story of Melbourne’s beautiful Yarra River — from its source to its mouth and from its prehistory to the present day.” --From the publisher. Swirling, eddying text immerses readers in the Birrarung or Yarra River habitat, flowing through Melbourne, Australia. Combining English text with Woiwurrung vocabulary, this picture book illuminates a specific cultural perspective, even as it provides information about a riparian ecosystem.

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