My friend, Rita Felder, sent me this wonderful guide to fairytales and folklore. When I was a classroom teacher, sadly, I found that many of my students were not familiar with the fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and folklore that I grew up on. It's sad because our culture often alludes to these literary treasures in speeches, conversations, movies, and more. The morals they teach add to our general knowledge and understanding of how to treat and respect each other. For instance, if someone says "slow and steady wins the race," the listener could remember that moral was taught in the tale of the Hare and the Tortoise.
In A Kids Guide to Fairytales and Folklore, you'll enjoy a brief synopsis of the story and its moral. This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a good start to exposing your children to a rich literary background knowledge that has delighted children for generations.
By: FUN Monster
Fairy tales have helped shape our entire world! That statement may sound incredible, but it is shockingly true. Almost everyone grew up hearing and reading fairy tales. They are some of the best-known stories written. Scientist, politicians, writers, artists, philosophers, and engineers all heard tales of knights and princesses, and these stories helped inspire their imaginations. Fairy tales would help spark ideas that have led to some of our greatest discoveries. Even if the tales themselves were made up, they have taught listeners life lessons for generations.
Rumpelstiltskin is a classic fairy tale that teaches readers that nothing in life is free. The character has been used as a villain in movies and TV shows, too.
"The Ant and the Grasshopper"
One of Aesop's most famous fables, this story shows the advantages of hard work. Having fun and playing games is great, but not at the expense of important work. The story also shows the wisdom in planning ahead and saving for harder times.
"The Prince Who Acquired Wisdom"
Sometimes, lessons may not seem useful at the moment, but they may help in the future. There are times when English, math, or history lessons can seem pointless, for example, but these lessons can be useful later on.
"Little Tiny or Thumbelina"
Thumbelina was written by Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote many fairy tales. The story was not very well-received when it was written because critics claimed it had no moral. There is a message about always being kind, but it is a loose connection at best.
"How the Tiger Got its Stripes"
Fairy tales have been popular all over the world. This tale takes place in Brazil, and it helps teach readers the dangers of being greedy.
"The Mouse's Marriage"
Japan has a long and rich history of fairy tales. Many current mangas are based on old Japanese fairy tales. This story teaches that it is often too easy to ignore what makes you great when you compare yourself to others.
"Beauty and the Beast"
The story helps teach readers that what's on the inside matters far more than what's on the outside. As the old saying goes, "Never judge a book by its cover."
"Three Little Pigs"
The story of the Three Little Pigs praises hard work and preparation, themes that are seen in many fairy tales. The brother who worked the hardest and built his house out of bricks is able to save his family from the big bad wolf.
"Little Red Riding Hood"
These stories were told at a time when traveling was very dangerous. No one had phones, and if a traveler wasn't careful and trusted the wrong people, they could be in trouble.
Whenever a group of people is freaking out about something silly or small, people say they are acting like the sky is falling, a saying that they got from this story. An idea can be very silly and make no sense, but if it's expressed with enough emotion, sometimes, other people will believe it, too.
In the original story, Cinderella was wearing a fur slipper, but thanks to later versions of the story, the world will always think of a glass slipper.
"Old Mother Hubbard"
This story was first printed in 1805, but it is thought to be much older than that. The seemingly silly lyrics may have at one point been a joke about the government, but it was written so long ago that no one knows what it was making fun of.
What are the names the Seven Dwarfs? Well, thanks to Disney, we know that they are Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Dopey, and Doc, but in the original story, they were never named.
"The Princess and the Frog"
This is another fairy tale that warns against judging a book by its cover. The princess finds a frog that becomes a prince. Had she treated the frog poorly, she may never have found her true love.
The Princess and the Pea
This fun story talks about a princess who is so delicate that she can be bruised by a pea buried under 20 different feather mattresses. There may not be a strong moral to this fairy tale, but the absurdity of the story has helped it endure.
"The Hare and the Tortoise"
Slow and steady beats quick and reckless every time. Everyone knows how this race should end, but the Hare never takes the Tortoise seriously, and this causes the Hare to learn a very important lesson about showing off.
Long before this was a Disney movie, it was a fairy tale. Modern versions of this tale paint a kinder picture of the witch.
"The Boy Who Cried Wolf"
The lesson of this story is to not lie. A person who lies a lot will one day not be believed, even when they are telling the truth. Sometimes, the best stories have the simplest lessons.
Aladdin goes through a lot of trouble to be something that he isn't, but in the end, it is the lessons he learned when he was poor that save the day.
"The Adventure of Pinocchio"
This is another fairy tale that talks about the importance of truth and hard work. Even though Pinocchio wants to have fun and play games, it isn't until he takes life a little more seriously that he becomes a real boy.
"Jack and the Beanstalk"
Jack learns to take risks and trust his instincts in this story. While everything doesn't go as he plans, it all works out in the end.
"The Goose Who Laid the Golden Egg"
This story teaches readers to appreciate what they have and not become greedy and reckless.
"Goldilocks and the Three Bears"
Goldilocks breaks into the bears' home, eats their food, breaks their furniture, and then goes to sleep in their house. Because of this, she ends up in great danger.
"Puss in Boots"
This cat is a trickster, but he uses his wits to help his owner become rich and happy.
The New Look of Libraries
This CBS Sunday Morning segment called "Beyond Books" aptly describes the new focus of today's libraries. After watching, I was filled with pride that I serve on the board of the O'Fallon Public Library (Illinois).
MELP executive director Linda Mitchell joins Deedra Amsden and Megan Hall on the Dauntless Grace podcast to discuss the fire burning in her heart: literacy. Linda tells her family's own literacy journey and how it shaped her own determination to see every home filled with books. Her motto is "literacy is liberation," and she uses her education and experience to bring literacy access to book deserts and to partner with communities who need resources.
This puzzle stumped me with the letters B and N. But I learned a new word!
Award-winning Black Middle School Principal Talks About Literacy: A Chat with Dr. Tron Young
All educators should hear this video. Dr. Tron Young shares his tips for engaging the youth in reading. He knows from his own experience how to get youth engaged in reading versus playing video games. You'll see why he won the Illinois Middle School Principal of the Year Award.
Education Into Perpetuity
When did your education stop? Was it when you graduated from high school? College? Graduate school? Truth is, your education should never stop. It should be perpetual. You may not be in a formal classroom any longer, but you can continue learning. The world changes so fast that it is imperative that you continue learning so you can keep pace. Technology is one of the biggest accelerators of change. If you have lived long enough, you have already seen how technology has invaded almost every aspect of our lives. Emerging technologies have been the catalyst for change in grocery shopping checkout lanes, banking transactions, online education, exercise equipment, and much more.
Think about your life today. How has technology changed your way of life? How did you learn to navigate the changes? It is all a part of your perpetual education. One of the nice things about perpetual education is that for many of us, it is right at our fingertips. We have access to the Internet which abounds in tutorials, master classes, cooking demonstrations, TED Talks, etc.
Here is a short list of ways I continue to learn:
What are some ways you engage in perpetual education? Drop a comment and share with the readers.
Linda M. Mitchell
The Power of Browsing
Has a salesclerk ever approached you in a store and asked to help you and you responded, "No, thanks. I'm just browsing." Most likely, we have all had this happen before. What you meant is you were looking around to see if there was anything interesting enough for you to stop and take a closer look. Dictionaries define browsing as casual looking or reading; window shopping; scanning, glancing, and thumbing or flipping through. You get the idea. We browse through stores, museums, neighborhoods, and websites. Browsing helps us notice and find things.
Coffee table books are excellent vehicles for browsing and learning about a subject. They are large, usually hard-covered books with illustrations and photographs. They are meant to inspire, delight, and spark conversation. I've seen stunning coffee table books on a wide variety of subjects. It was my choice to read the accompanying text or only look at the images. In either case, I learned something by browsing through the book. Even if a person can't read well, we know that a picture is worth a thousand words. People can still gather information and knowledge through the power of browsing.
Coffee table books are more expensive than normal trade books. Sometimes people keep their coffee table books for years because they are so sturdy. They may read their coffee table books once or twice, and like other books they own, they never open them again.
The Metro East Literacy Project (MELP) is asking you to donate your forgotten coffee table books. If they are no longer interesting to you, they may be a delight to someone else. Clean out your attics, basements, and bookshelves and donate your coffee table books to us. We will give them to underresourced families in our communities.
Several coffee shops in the St. Louis area are partnering with MELP to collect books. Scan the QR code to see the list. Don't see your favorite coffee shop listed? Reach out to the owner or contact MELP and let us know. We would love to have many more coffee shops take part in this community literacy service.
If you don't have a coffee table book to donate, you can support this collection effort by giving a donation. Click #HelpMELP to give a donation of any amount.
Thank you so much for helping people live better lives through literacy.
Books Under the Christmas Tree
The Christmas gifts I remember the most as a child are the books my siblings and I received. I still remember a red hardback riddle book that I read over and over until it fell apart. Another favorite was my first reference book, a kids question and answer book that covered just about any topic that might interest a kid. Q & A books are great to give to kids to stir their curiosity. I believe consistently getting books as Christmas gifts sent a message to me that reading was important.
I think the Icelandic people got it right. They have a celebration on Christmas Eve called Jolabokaflod. That roughly means "Christmas Book Flood" in English. Everyone in the family receives a brand new book and they sit by the fireplace sipping hot cocoa and reading their book. Doesn't that sound lovely and peaceful? It's no wonder that a 2013 study showed that 93 percent of Icelanders read at least one book a year and 50 percent read more than eight books a year. Sounds like Iceland is intentional about building a reading culture. Why not start a reading culture in your home by giving your children books for Christmas? It's a gift that can last forever.
DECEMBER READING CELEBRATION--Read a New Book Month
Brain Food for the Holidays
While you are feasting during the holidays, don’t forget your brain food. Check out my Penny Press Puzzle Lady channel where I share tips and strategies for solving puzzles.
From the pressure to assimilate to the motivation to build a bridge for embracing Latinx culture, Ernesto Saldivar Jr. speaks eloquently about how literacy is valued in his community. As a teacher of language acquisition and literacy, Ernesto gives several examples of literature that have impacted his life, family, and his students.