Folktales for a Better World: Stories of Peace and Kindness

Crocodile. Feb. 2023. 64p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781623717971.
PreS-Gr 4–Some of our earliest encounters listening to stories might come from folktales, shared across generations; Laird offers folktales from Ethiopia, Sudan, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and China. Amini adds an exciting visual dimension to traditional oral storytelling, making this an ideal book for story times, read-alongs, or readers who rely on visuals for reading comprehension. In clear, crafted language, the collection presents children with stories about community, reconciliation, and kindness from people living in hardship. As Laird explains in the introduction, “War, invasions, and oppression” have, and continue to, bring harm. Yet Laird writes of peace in the introduction, offering to share and complicate the oversimplified hardship narratives that dominate global understandings of places and people.
VERDICT Playful and serious, fraught and kind, these stories—and the accompanying illustrations—are essential, and will be at home when shared, or for one-on-one readings for lower elementary students.

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