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Folk Lore: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about folk lore is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From Saint George and the Dragon to Luna and the Moon Rabbit there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about folk lore? Let us know!

Saint George and the Dragon book
#1
Saint George and the Dragon
Written by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This special new paperback edition of St. George and the Dragon commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Caldecott Award-winning picture book. Hodges retells an exciting segment from Spenser's The Faerie Queene, in which the Red Cross Knight slays a dreadful dragon that has been terrorizing the countryside for years, bringing peace and joy back to the land. Featuring a fresh new cover design - with artwork that highlights the dragon adventure within - and distinctive embossed gold Caldecott Award sticker, this is the perfect way to introduce the classic tale to a whole new generation of readers.

Mira and the Big Story book
#2
Mira and the Big Story
Written by Laura Alary and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mira is a girl with big questions. She knows two different stories about the way the world came to be. Which story is right? Can they both be right? Is there room for more than one way to think about the world and our place in it? Follow her on an inspiring journey as she discovers a story big enough to include everyone. Along the way, Mira learns to respect and revere the traditions and beliefs of others. Teach children kindness and acceptance with this beautifully illustrated and compelling tale. It is sure to keep young ones enthralled.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters book
#3
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
Written and illustrated by John Steptoe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mufaro was a happy man. Everyone agreed that his two daughters were very beautiful. Nyasha was kind and considerate as well as beautiful, but everyone -- except Mufaro -- knew that Manyara was selfish, badtempered, and spoiled. When the king decided to take a wife and invited "The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land" to appear before him, Mufaro declared proudly that only the king could choose between Nyasha and Manyara. Manyara, of course, didn't agree, and set out to make certain that she would be chosen. John Steptoe has created a memorable modem fable of pride going before a fall, in keeping with the moral of the folktale that was his inspiration. He has illustrated it with stunning paintings that glow with the beauty, warmth, and internal vision of the land and people of his ancestors.

The Eel Question book
#4
The Eel Question
Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Beth Holland
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Bound to serve a cruel master, Nant's curiosity never fails to get her into trouble. Some questions she had learned it was best not to ask, but every autumn the silver eels return, and so do her questions. Where do they come from? And where do they go? Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

The Selkie's Mate book
#5
The Selkie's Mate
Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Claire Jenkins, Nicola Davies
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

In a land where people flow between ocean and land, a seal and a fisherman sing together under a flowing moon. One in a series of tales that explore the deeper, darker side of our connection with the natural world. Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

  1. Shadwos and Light - A girl who changes into a hare to evade a cruel lover. One in a series of short stories that explore the deeper, darker side of our connection with the natural world. Inspired by ancient folk tales and a love of nature. Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

  2. One Last Wish - A princess marries a man she loves in spite of his impending death. Due to her devotion and persistence, she is granted a wish, which she uses wisely. Themes: love, devotion, bravery.

  3. Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters - Retells more than a hundred folktales form Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East that feature active heroines of all types.

  4. Tug of War - Financial Times: 'gorgeously vibrant' Tortoise is on the hunt for a friend, but only encounters huge Elephant and Hippo, who are mean about his small size and wrinkly skin. But although Tortoise isn't big, he is certainly brainy! He sets out to show Elephant and Hippo that biggest doesn't mean best by challenging them to a tug of war. They sneeringly accept… but little do they know that they have really agreed to fight each other! A funny, heartwarming retelling of this well-known folk tale about brains vs brawn with beautiful, stylish illustrations. A special book that teaches that wit and wisdom are more important than size and physical strength, and friendship is what matters most.

Mother Cary's Butter Knife book
#10
Mother Cary's Butter Knife
Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Anja Uhren
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

A boy who falls in love with the sea. One in a series of short stories that explore the deeper, darker side of our connection with the natural world. Inspired by ancient folk tales and a love of nature. Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

The Rock Maiden book
#11
The Rock Maiden
Written by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Pirkko Vainio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. “No,” she would say, “He will come home soon.” Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home―only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded? Find out in this re-envisioning of an old Hong Kong legend by award-winning author Natasha Yim, featuring stunning illustrations by renowned Finnish artist Pirkko Vainio.

Tanuki's Gift book
#12
Tanuki's Gift
Written by Tim J Myers and illustrated by Robert Roth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

One winter, a priest takes in a furry tanuki and the two become friends, but when the tanuki tries to repay the priest, they both learn a lesson.

Medio Pollito book
#13
Medio Pollito
Written by Amanda StJohn and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-9

The story of Medio Pollito, a chicken born with only half of his body, is one of inspiration and purpose. He travels to find adventure, and with the help of the wind, finds his true calling as a weather vane.

The Great Race book
#14
The Great Race
Written and illustrated by Christopher Corr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Celebrate Chinese New Year and learn how every animal earned its place in the Chinese zodiac by taking part in the Great Race! Discover who will come first to win the ultimate prize, and find out why Cat will never forgive his friend Rat in this ancient folk tale that has been passed from generation to generation. Praise for Deep in the Woods, the previous title from Christopher Corr: '… the book looks like a delectable candy box… There is a lesson here — about friendship, and sharing — but the book never feels plodding or pedantic… Which may be why the lesson just goes down like the truth.'

  1. Piecing Earth & Sky Together - While she and her grandmother work on their embroidery, Mei Yoon listens to an old Mien tale about the creation of the earth and the sky.

  2. Yokki and the Parno Gry - When a Traveller family experiences a run of bad luck, an imaginative boy called Yokki lifts their spirits with tales of a magical white horse. A traditional Traveller-family folk tale which inspires hope and celebrates creativity. Told by a Romani storyteller together with a picture book author to positively reflect Travelling cultures.

  3. Luna and the Moon Rabbit - A dreamy fairy tale about a rabbit who lives on the moon . . . and comes down to visit a little girl. Inspired by Asian folklore (Moon Rabbit) and the films of Studio Ghibli, this magical tale follows a young girl who befriends the "moon rabbit" and accompanies him on a nighttime adventure through otherworldly landscapes. Parents and children alike will be mesmerized by the enchanting illustrations and a soothing bedtime story that explores the power of imagination, the importance of friendship, and the beauty of the natural world.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!