PROFESSIONAL READING

Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story: Authentic Folktales and Discussion Guides

­Libraries Unlimited. Feb. 2020. 126p. ed. by Ford, Lyn & Sherry Norfolk, eds. pap. $45. ISBN 9781440867071.
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This excellent folktale collection for librarians, teachers, and storytellers is based on Ford and Norfolk’s conviction that “folktales have the power to break down barriers.” Young people gain strength and self-regard in seeing their own culture reflected in stories, insight in hearing the folktales of other cultures, and empathy in learning about the shared values and interests one finds in stories from diverse cultures. The entries were contributed by some of the finest storytellers living in the United States and reflect the cultures and regions with which these tellers identify—Native American, Asian, Pacific Ocean, Appalachian, Latin American, and the myriad experiences of the African diaspora. Each teller offers information on the story’s cultural context and suggestions for discussion. It often seems questionable to generalize about a culture from a particular story; one can so easily find one’s own stereotypes. Because the contributors to this collection are #OwnVoices storytellers, however, one here finds valuable insight into the ways the stories reflect their cultures’ values. Some of the stories are well known; others less so. Because these versions have been honed by superb storytellers, they work beautifully when told or read aloud. The editors recommend the work for those working with late elementary through high school students, although a number of the stories are suitable for younger people as well.
VERDICT A helpful resource for those already sharing folktales with young people, and an enticing collection for those who need convincing of the value of these stories.

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