Best Kids Books About Folk lore

16 Kids Books About Folk lore

Updated Jan. 18, 2019
Painted Skies book
#1
Painted Skies
Written by Carolyn Mallory and illustrated by Amei Zhao
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Leslie is new to the Arctic, and no one told her there would be so much snow, and so many interesting animals to see. Along with her new friend, Oolipika, Leslie soon discovers one the Arctic's most unique and breathtaking natural wonders, the northern lights. Having never seen such lights before, Leslie is understandably shocked by them. Oolipika, on the other hand, knows that the ancient lights are more than just colours, and that the mischievous, playful spirits that the northern lights hold can be dangerous. This contemporary narrative introduces young readers to an Inuit legend about the northern lights, followed by an epilogue that explains the science behind this amazing natural phenomenon.

The Talkative Tortoise book
#2
The Talkative Tortoise
Written by Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by Charlotte Cooke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A talkative tortoise lets his vanity win out over common sense in this tale of why the tortoise has a cracked shell. This traditional Himalayan 'Tale with a Twist' is retold by poet, author and storyteller, Andrew Fusek Peters. Tales from around the world provide an insight into cultures other than our own.

Yokki and the Parno Gry book
#3
Yokki and the Parno Gry
Written by Katharine Quarmby, Richard O'Neill and illustrated by Marieke Nelissen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

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.

Tug of War book
#4
Tug of War
Written and illustrated by Naomi Howarth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

Luna and the Moon Rabbit book
#5
Luna and the Moon Rabbit
Written and illustrated by Camille Whitcher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

Mira and the Big Story book
#6
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.

Medio Pollito book
#7
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.

One Last Wish book
#8
One Last Wish
Written by Suzanne I. Barchers and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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.

The North Wind and the Sun book
#9
The North Wind and the Sun
Written by Marilyn Helmer and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-8

When the North Wind brags about his strength, the Sun challenges him to a contest. Who will win?

The Great Race book
#10
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.'

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.

Piecing Earth & Sky Together book
#13
Piecing Earth & Sky Together
Written by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by Genna Panzarella
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Leaf Man book
#14
Leaf Man
Written by Patricia J. Miranda and illustrated by Chris O'Leary
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

While wandering through a field of stumps that was once a forest, a boy collects twigs and sticks and leaves that remain and decides to create something new. He makes a figure—a leaf man—who inspires him to dream and invent, to plant the seed for a better world. Based on the ancient folklore of the “green man” as a symbol of renewal, lyrical text and immersive visual storytelling fills this uplifting picture book with optimism for the future.

Two Kings book
#15
Two Kings
Written and illustrated by Emma Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When the old king dies, a Duke and Earl find themselves in competition for the Kingdom. Their vanity and greed see them locked in a futile battle, which impacts the lives of the people who live in the Kingdom. But what do the people want? And will anyone listen? In this moralistic tale about the dangers of vanity and power-hungry leaders, Emma Lewis's distinctive collage style--inspired by the famous Bayeux Tapestry--lends a unique approach to a contemporary folktale.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters book
#16
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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.