Friday, June 15, 2012

Native American Folktales

Bruchac, James and Bruchac, Joseph. 2008. The Girl Who Helped Thunder and Other Native American Folktales. Ill. by Stefano Vitale. New York: Sterling Publishing.  ISBN 978-1-4027-3263-8

The Girl Who Helped Thunder and Other Native American Folktales by Bruchac and Bruchac is a compilation of Native American folktales. It is the second book in the Folktales of the World series published by Sterling Publishing Group.  The folktales are arranged by geographic area and then subdivided by tribe.  Each folktale explains how an event, activity, or natural phenomenon came into being. 

Each story within the collection shares the oral storytelling tradition that make folktales and Native American stories so powerful.  This may be more evident in this collection because the authors are members of the Abernaki tribe and are also award winning storytellers.

Helping to explain the story's is an introduction at the beginning of each section of the book which helps to establish cultural and historical reference points for the reader.

An extensive list of sources are listed at the back of the book to help readers delve further into the world on Native American folktales.

Minimal illustrations accompany each story.  Each picture by Vitale provides a cohesiveness to the book while still helping to immerse the reader in the Native American cultural experience.  Illustrations are reminiscent of cave paintings and decorative wall art. 

*Starred Review- School Library Journal

*Read other Native American folktales
*Include this selection as part of a larger unit on Native American People
*Have students select one tribe from the book and research them
*Have a Native American storyteller or group visit
*Have students read the stories aloud since they began as oral traditions
Other books:
American Indian Myths and Legends by Erdoes and Ortiz
Between Earth & Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places by Bruchac and Locker

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