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Books and activities for summer reading and learning from Reading Rockets

Start With a Book: Books and activities for summer reading and summer learning

Children's books and activities

Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Many kids are fascinated by fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, myths, ghost stories, and pourquoi stories from around the world. We've gathered up a great collection of books, activities, apps, and websites for learning all about folktales, fairy tales and myths.

Try pairing fiction with nonfiction books and exploring different genres (like poetry and biographies) and formats (like graphic novels and audio books). You'll be creating your own "text sets" — collections of texts focused on a specific topic, such as folktales, fairy tales, and myths. Reading widely in this way helps children build background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

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All the Way to Lhasa: A Tale from Tibet

By: Barbara Berger

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

There's a saying that "slow but steady wins the race." In this richly illustrated book, the...

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Anansi Goes Fishing

By: Eric Kimmel

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Anansi is a known charlatan, so he gets little sympathy when Turtle eats all of the fish that...

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Andy and the Lion

By: James Daugherty

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Andy helps an escaped circus lion by removing a thorn from his paw. This simple act of kindness...

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illustrated cover of A Big Mooncake for Little Star showing a child eating the moon.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

By: Grace Lin

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she's not supposed to...

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A Story, A Story

By: Gail Haley

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

How did the world come to have stories? It's all because Ananse the Spider Man was able to...

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Alone in the Forest

By: Bhajju Shyam , Gita Wolf

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Musa ventures out alone for the first time to collect firewood, where a loud noise and the dark...

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Anansi The Spider: A Tale From the Ashanti

By: Gerald McDermott

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Have you ever wondered how the moon got where it is? According to this Ashanti tale, Nyame, the...

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Ashley Bryan: Poems and Folktales

By: Ashley Bryan

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Have you ever wondered why there is thunder and lightning? Hear this Nigerian folktale and other...

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Ashpet: An Appalachian Tale

By: Joanne Compton

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

This distinctive Appalachian version of Cinderella creates its unique setting in jaunty language...

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Beautiful Blackbird

By: Ashley Bryan

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

In a story of the Ila people of Zambia, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they...

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Borreguita and the Coyote

By: Verna Aardema

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Left alone to graze, Borreguita outsmarts the fierce coyote who thinks the small lamb would be a...

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Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl

By: Virginia Hamilton

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Bruh Rabbit outwits farmer Bruh Wolf again — even after the shrewd hare is stuck fast to the...

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illustrated cover of Brush of the Gods showing Chinese children watching boy paint a horse on a wall.

Brush of the Gods

By: Lenore Look

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Nonfiction

Wu Daozi's brush created images that seemed to come alive. Travel to ancient China to meet Daozi...

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Busy-Busy Little Chick

By: Janice Harrington Janice Harrington

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Little Chick is not distracted like his mother, Mama Nsoso. He only chases tasty treats after their...

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Cuckoo/Cucu: A Mexican Folktale/Un cuento folklorico mexicano

By: Lois Ehlert

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Lazy Cuckoo has a beautiful singing voice and brightly colored feathers — until he loses them...

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Flossie and the Fox

By: Patricia McKissack

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Flossie and the Fox is an African American variant of the tale, "Little Red Riding Hood....

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Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale

By: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Age Level: 3-6 years old

An old woman left her small village to visit her daughter and granddaughter, telling three hungry...

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Hatseller and the Monkeys

By: Baba Diakite

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

BaMusa takes a break from selling his hats — only to have them stolen by mischievous monkeys....

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How Chipmunk Got His Stripes

By: James Bruchac, Joseph Bruchac

Age Level: 3-6 years old

When Bear brags and Chipmunk teases, the results are an angry bear and a striped chipmunk....

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Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon

By: Gerald McDermott

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Vulture is sick and tired of Jabuti’s trickery. He gets his revenge when he flies the tortoise...

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John Henry

By: Julius Lester

Age Level: 3-6 years old

John Henry's talent was evident at an early age when he helped his daddy, but was cemented...

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Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

By: Simms Taback

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

When Joseph's overcoat becomes "old and worn," he snips off the patches and turns it into a jacket...

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Jump! The Adventures of Brer Rabbit

By: Van Dyke Parks, Malcolm Jones

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Brer Rabbit is the quintessential American trickster. Early versions, first collected by Joel...

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Kumak's River: A Tale from the Far North

By: Michael Bania

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Spring comes to a remote Alaskan village, and the ice on the frozen river cracks and breaks and...

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Kumak’s Fish: A Tall Tale from the Far North

By: Michael Bania

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

When Kumak snags a fish — a really big fish — it takes the entire village to bring it in. This...

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Master Man: A Tall Tale of Nigeria

By: Aaron Shephard

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Even the strongest man of all can be outmatched, as Shadusa learns. This retelling of a Nigerian...

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Moon Rope/Un lazo a la luna

By: Lois Ehlert

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Look at the moon and what do you see? Could it be Fox? Fox convinced Mole to accompany him to...

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Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

By: John Steptoe

Age Level: 3-6 years old

While both are beautiful, only one of Mufaro's daughters can marry the prince. The impact...

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Paul Bunyan

By: Steven Kellogg

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Paul Bunyan and his ox named Babe are larger than life tall tale heroes — who quite literally...

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Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale

By: Steven Kellogg

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Pecos Bill could tame 'most anything in the Wild West — at least until he came up against a...

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Pirate vs. Pirate

By: Mary Quattlebaum

Age Level: 3-6 years old

When Bad Bart who was the "biggest, burliest pirate this side of the Atlantic" meets...

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Prairie Chicken Little

By: Jackie Mims Hopkins

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A prairie chicken named Mary McBlinken, "heard a rumbling and a grumbling and a tumbling" fearing...

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Shrek!

By: William Steig

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Ugly ogre parents make an even uglier ogre son named Shrek. Of course Shrek seeks (on the back...

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Sungura and Leopard: A Swahili Trickster Tale

By: Barbara Knutson

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Sungura, a resourceful hare, and grouchy Leopard decide to build their homes in the same spot....

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cover of "Tasty Baby Belly Button" showing a dog and girl with a sword

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons

By: Judy Sierra

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Uriko is small but brave, determined, and smart. In fact, she saves the town’s children when...

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That's What Leprechauns Do

By: Eve Bunting

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Three leprechauns can't help but create a bit of mischief on their way to place their pot of...

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The Crocodile and the Scorpion

By: Rebecca Emberley

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Two friendless creatures with "brains no bigger than a pebble" vow not to hurt the other. But when...

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The Jack Tales

By: Richard Chase

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Read about Jack and the famous beanstalk, how Jack stopped folk from dying, and more — all with...

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The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters

By: Allan Ahlberg

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Join a chubby cheeked mail carrier as he delivers letters to well known characters from...

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The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale

By: Lydia Dabcovich

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

An old Inuit woman takes in a polar bear cub and raises him until others in the village become...

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The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote

By: Tony Johnston

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Coyote howls at the moon because of a small, smart, and very tricky rabbit. This lively...

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The Three Little Pigs

By: James Marshall

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

From huffing and puffing to "chinny-chin-chin" hair, this retelling of the familiar folktale...

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The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf

By: Mark Teague

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Two of three pigs, paid for their work by the Florida-bound farmer, enjoy chips and "sody-pop" more...

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The Tomten

By: Astrid Lindgren

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

From Swedish folklore comes the story of the tomten, a little gnome who watches over us while we...

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The Tortoise and the Hare

By: Jerry Pinkney

Age Level: 3-6 years old

The familiar fable of competition between a speedy, arrogant hare and a plodding, persevering...

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The Whingdingdilly

By: Bill Peet

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Ole Scamp learns to like himself better once he’s changed by a peculiar witch. This wacky story...

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Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World

By: Selby Beeler

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Nonfiction

Lighthearted illustrations provide just the right tone for brief looks at what happens when...

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Too Much Noise

By: Ann McGovern

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

Peter thinks his house is too noisy. The bed creaks, the floors squeak — it's no wonder he's...

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Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales

By: Julius Lester

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

One of the most well known of African American folktales are the Uncle Remus tales, originally...

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We Are Water Protectors

By: Carole Lindstrom

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

An Ojibwe girl confronts a grave situation by channeling age-old wisdom. The “black snake” of an...

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What's the Hurry Fox? And Other Animal Tales

By: Zora Neale Hurston

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Folktales collected in the 1930s have been adapted, retold, and freshly illustrated for...

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Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

By: Ai-Ling Louie

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Based on an ancient Chinese story (which pre-dates European versions), a girl overcomes her wicked...

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Yours Truly, Goldilocks

By: Alma Flor Ada

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

What happens when the well known three pigs try to plan a party? Readers will find out as they...

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Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa

By: Gerald McDermott

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

To gain wisdom, Zomo, the small black rabbit, successfully accomplishes a series of impossible...

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Age Level: 6-9 years old

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A Necklace of Raindrops and Other Stories

By: Joan Aiken

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

Here are eight imaginative stories for bedtime reading. There’s a flying apple pie, a cat that’s...

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American Tall Tales

By: Mary Pope Osborne

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Meet heroes (and heroines) in these well-told tales of fictitious and actual characters from...

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An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

By: Hans Christian Andersen

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Tales translated into English from Danish author Hans Christian Andersen have become part of the...

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Banjo Granny

By: Sarah Martin Busse, Jacqueline Martin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

Owen’s singing, banjo-playing Granny goes out “to cross one river, one mountain, and a desert”...

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Bremen Town Musician

By: Jacob Grimm

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

This is the classic tale of four beleaguered animals—a donkey who can no longer work, a hound...

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Children of the Dragon: Selected Tales from Vietnam

By: Sherry Garland

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Learn why the tiger has stripes, what happens to those who behave badly, and much more in this...

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Cut from the Same Cloth: American Women of Myth, Legend and Tall Tale

By: Robert San Souci

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

From the Northeast to the West, the United States is filled with stories of wise, strong, and...

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D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

By: Ingri Parin d'Aulaire, Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

Age Level: 6-9 years old

This richly illustrated, clearly presented look at Greek mythology begins with the first children...

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Davy Crockett Saves the World

By: Rosalyn Schanzer

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Every word in this book is true; that is, of course, "unless it's false." Outrageous stories about...

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Dinorella: A Prehistoric Fairy Tale

By: Pamela Duncan Edwards

Age Level: 6-9 years old

In this rendition of the classic fairy tale, the Cinderella role is played by — you guessed...

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Encyclopedia Mythologica: Gods and Heroes Pop-Up

By: Matthew Reinhart, Robert Sabuda

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Six beautifully illustrated full-page spreads, each including a dramatic paper-sculpture...

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Fables

By: Arnold Lobel

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fables are short tales of animals with an explicit (though gentle) moral. Lobel has written...

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Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve

By: Mary Pope Osborne

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Annie and Jack go back in time to Camelot to a haunted castle to find the Stone of Destiny. Their...

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cover of "Her Seven Brothers" showing two people outside a teepee tent

Her Seven Brothers

By: Paul Goble

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A retelling of the Cheyenne legend about the creation of the Big Dipper. A young Indian girl who...

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How Rabbit Tricked Otter and Other Cherokee Trickster Stories

By: Gayle Ross

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

This collection of 15 Cherokee tales introduces the trickster-hero Rabbit, the most important...

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cover of "How the Stars Fell into the Sky" showing a girl holding a star and a pile of stars next to her

How the Stars Fell into the Sky

By: Jerrie Oughton

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Richly hued illustrations are used to show how First Woman tried to guide humans by providing...

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Issun Boshi: The One-Inch Boy

By: Raphael Icinori

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A farmer and his wife longed for a child and miraculously got one who they named Issum Boshi,...

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It's All Greek to Me

By: Jon Scieszka

Age Level: 6-9 years old

In this installment of friends known as the Time Warp Trio, Joe, Fred, and Sam meet key figures...

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John Henry: An American Legend

By: Ezra Jack Keats

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

John Henry was born to be a hero – strong, competitive and determined. The legendary steel-...

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Kissimmee Pete and the Hurricane

By: Jan Day

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

Kissimmee Pete, the cracker cow hunter, is back for another wild adventure. After rounding up a...

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Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions

By: Janet Wong

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Original poems combine with stunning illustrations reminiscent of folk art, to explore...

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Lies and Other Tall Tales

By: Zora Neale Hurston

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Can a lie be so good that you don't want to know the truth? Well, you may think so as you...

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Lotus and Feather

By: Ji-li Jiang

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Inspired by the true story of a crane that rescued a Chinese village. One day, when a village...

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Mazes Around the World

By: Mary D. Lankford

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Regardless of where they are found, mazes are amazing! Visit mazes that can be found around the...

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Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse

By: Marilyn Singer

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Everyone knows that there are two sides to every story. Read a cleverly illustrated poem one way...

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Ol' Clip-Clop: A Ghost Story

By: Patricia McKissack

Age Level: 6-9 years old

In 1741, mean-hearted John Leep set out to evict a tenant on Friday, October 13th on a cold and...

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Once Upon a Time: Traditional Latin American Tales/Habia una vez: Cuentos tradicionales Latino Americanos

By: Reuben Martinez

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Animals and people wise and foolish are presented in these tales retold. Their origins, from a...

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Pandora

By: Robert Burleigh

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Elegant illustrations decorate this free verse retelling of the young woman whose curiosity...

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Please, Malese! A Trickster Tale from Haiti

By: Amy MacDonald

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Malese, a clever lazybones, sets out to get new shoes and he briefly winds up in jail — that...

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Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters and Other Wily Characters

By: Patricia McKissack

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Inspired by stories she heard as a child, the author presents original tales steeped in oral...

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Princess Tales: Once Upon a Time in Rhyme with Seek-and-Find Pictures

By: Grace Maccarone

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Ten princess tales are retold in verse accompanied by highly detailed illustrations that encourage...

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Roadrunner's Dance

By: Rudolfo Anaya

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Snake terrifies children and their parents. He claims to be the "king of the road."...

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Tales Told in Tents: Stories from Central Asia

By: Sally Pomme

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Where do you find needles? All over the world, of course! Readers will recognize many things in...

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The Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greeks Myths, Retold

By: Cynthia Rylant

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Why there are seasons, how trouble came into the world, and more stories about nature and human...

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cover of "The Bee-Man of Orn" showing a man moving beehives

The Bee-Man of Orn

By: Frank Stockton

Age Level: 6-9 years old

An aged Bee-man lives contentedly among his insect friends, surviving on honey and the...

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The Legend of Lightning and Thunder

By: Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Orphaned siblings could travel no farther without food and so while camp folk were distracted, the...

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The Legend of the Caribou Boy / Ekwò Dǫzhìa Wegond

By: Mary Rose Sundberg, John Blondin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

When a little boy, traveling with his parents and grandparents, has trouble sleeping at night,...

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The Mighty 12: Superheroes of Greek Myth

By: Charles Smith

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Greek gods and goddesses are the stuff of contemporary superheroes. Dramatic full-color,...

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cover of "The Story of the Milky Way" showing an animal made of stars crossing the sky

The Milky Way: A Cherokee Tale

By: Joseph Bruchac, Gayle Ross

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Have you ever wondered how the Milky Way came to be? According to a Cherokee legend, it started...

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The Rough-Face Girl

By: Rafe Martin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

When her older sisters try to convince the Invisible Being's sister that they can see him,...

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cover of "The Shipwrecked Sailor" showing an Egyptian sailboat

The Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale with Hieroglyphics

By: Tamara Bower

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A story based on a real papyrus scroll of hieroglyphics that tells a tale of a voyage on the Red...

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cover of The Singing Rock and Other Brand New Fairy Tales showing six panels with different illustrations.

The Singing Rock and Other Brand-New Fairy Tales

By: Nathaniel Lachenmeyer

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

A funny, comics-format collection of four original fairy tales, that reinvent recognizable...

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The Star People: A Lakota Story

By: S. D. Nelson

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

While exploring the land around their village, Sister Girl and Young Wolf stray too far. After...

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The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

By: Jon Scieszka

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The incomparable author and illustrator team retells traditional tales such as the "...

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The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale

By: Steven Guarnaccia

Age Level: 6-9 years old

In this quirky, retelling of “The Three Little Pigs,” the pigs and their homes are nods to three...

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Treasury of Greek Mythology

By: Donna Jo Napoli

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Vivid retellings and luminous illustrations reinvigorate Greek myths. The tales of gods and...

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Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Philippines

By: Shirley Climo

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Birds sing the people of Maynilad on the Philippine island of Luzon to sleep at night — until...

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Whiskers, Tails and Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico

By: Judy Goldman

Age Level: 6-9 years old

What do a cricket, a turtle, an opossum, a flea and a frog have in common? Each are featured in a...

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Who Wants to Be a Princess?

By: Bridget Heos

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The illustration looks like a fairy tale but this book actually dispels the myth of the...

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Who's In Rabbit's House? A Masai Tale

By: Verna Aardema

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Rabbit cannot go into her own house for fear of the ferocious-sounding animal inside. Told as a...

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Wiley and the Hairy Man

By: Judy Sierra

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Wiley and his mama live near the swamp; together, they trick the scary ol' hairy man three...

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cover of "Wings" showing boy flying with white wings

Wings

By: Christopher Myers

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Stunning, bold collage illustrations carry the action in this reworking of the traditional Greek...

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Young Zeus

By: G. Brian Karas

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Young Zeus — the Greek god who grew up to rule on Mount Olympus — is introduced with...

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Age Level: 9-12 years old

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Knights of the Kitchen Table (Time Warp Trio series)

By: Jon Scieszka

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Fiction

As a gift from his magician uncle, Joe receives The Book setting into motion a series of...

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Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods

By: Rick Riordan

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon and a human woman (and title character in the Olympian series of...

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The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America

By: Jamie Hernandez

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Meet the dragon slayer, a girl and a mouse, and a boy who talks to ants. Three traditional tales...

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illustrated cover of The Moon. It shows a girl looking up at the large moon.

The Moon

By: Hannah Pang

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Nonfiction

In this striking volume, readers will encounter the moon in both fact and fiction. Moon myths...

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The Origin of the Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee

By: Barbara Duncan

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Fiction

Cherokee people have lived in the Great Smoky Mountains for thousands of years telling stories...

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The Trickster and the Troll

By: Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Fiction

The friendship and adventures of Iktomi, the trickster figure from Lakota legend, and Troll, the...

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By: Grace Lin

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Join Minli as she journeys to save her village and her family from a dreary fate by seeking out the...

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Wild Swans

By: Xanthe Gresham Knight

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Magic has turned Eliza’s 11 brothers into swans and only she can rescue them. Brilliantly...

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