The Boy Who Knew What the Birds Said
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This is a gem of a book by the renowned poet, dramatist, novelist, folklorist and storyteller, Padraic Colum. No less than three of his books for children received retrospective citations for the Newbery Honor. Filled with drama, action, tenderness and adventure, Padraic Colum spins a series of tales which draw us into a world of imagination and beauty. The tales have a strong and clear storyteller's voice which is still as alive, fresh and direct as it was when first spoken.
This edition has been edited by the artist, teacher and author, Reg Down, with grade 4 to 8 students in mind. In addition to editing for clarity and pronounceability (Celtic spellings are sometimes impossible!), he refreshed the original illustrations by Dugard Stewart Walker, inserted footnotes where a word was uncommon or seldom used, added a map to show where countries and mountains mentioned in the book are located, added a section with characterizations and drawings of all the birds which appear in the book, included the Celtic Ogham alphabet referenced in one tale (plus examples for the reader to deciher and encouragement for them to write their own Ogham), and finally, added a brief biography of Padraic Colum, with a description of his dramatic life and times in Ireland and his arrival in the land of hope, America.
Outstanding! Highly recommend for ages 9 and older.
The Shifty Lad
and the Tales He Told
Retold by P. L. Snow
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Shifty Lad is sort of a Loki/Coyote figure who comes creating mischief, but also with wondrous stories to tell, so wondrous that they even save his life. In these tales of roguery and cunning, we learn about his childhood, how he longed to become a thief (and became one!), and his life as a villain of the highways and byways. We learn how he outwitted the Dark Stranger, and how his gift of storytelling saved his own life.
And, we get to hear his stories, collected by P. L. Snow from the Celtic cultures of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. They are beautiful, traditional folktales that speak of human nature and touch our hearts with laughter and tears. This is a great collection of timeless tales wrapped in Shifty Lad's delightful story - a real treat!
Ages 8 to adult.
Over the Hills and Far Away
Stories of dwarfs, fairies, gnomes and elves from around Europe
Edited by Els Boekelaar and Ineke Verschuren
Illustrations by Daniela Drescher
$30.00Add a review
Stories of dwarfs, fairies, gnomes and elves - as well as nature beings by other names - are among the most universal in humanity's storytelling pantheon. Regardless of the culture of origin, they share insights into the wisdom of nature and the effect of human morality upon it. In fact, all such stories I've ever read or heard told are in one way or another morality tales -- only here, the human's morality affects nature and her beings and they, in turn, affect the destiny of the people involved, whether for good or ill. The reverse can also be true: naughty nature beings have their effect in the world and the world and more evolved beings respond to counter it.
However, there is a warmth to these tales that most morality tales lack: even when the deeds arise out of the lower nature of people, or from a recalcitrant gnome, there is a sympathy in the telling that leads to a type of heartwarmed understanding. In short, this quality makes them wonderful for children (and adults, I might add). These stories invite the child into the heart of the world, and evoke a desire to be helpful and kind in the process.
Most of the tales in Over the Hills and Far Away are ideal for children 6-10 years old. Some of the simpler ones would be lovely for children 4 years old or older. This is a wonderful collection of stories made even richer by Daniella Drescher's beautiful paintings.
Best Loved Folktales of the World
Selected and with an Introduction by Joanna Cole
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I am so happy to be able to offer this collection to you. It was one of our family's favorite treasures, containing story after story that we loved and worlds we explored. It has also been one of those books that over the years goes in and out of print. Happily, we again arrive at a time when it is available for families and teachers and, most importantly, our children.
Best-Loved Folktales of the World is a collection of over 200 folk and fairy tales from all over the world. It is also the only such collection of which I am aware that covers all areas of our planet and represents all major cultures with beauty and integrity. The stories are arranged geographically and include the familiar (to us) classics such as "Snow White" and "Sleeping Beauty" as well as their counterparts for around the world - and much more besides!
These stories are delightful, enriching, satisfying. They also offer a loved-filled feast prepared by the heart of our world. May you enjoy them for years, as we did!
For the Children of the World
Stories and Recipes from the Internatinoal Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education
Louise deForest, Editor
Illustrated by Gudrid Malmsten
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Here is a joyous collection of folktales from around the world, retold from the heart for young children. In addition to some of the best stories the world's people have to offer, an extra treat is the recipes from many of the cultures that contributed to this rich and wonderful book. Each recipe was clear chosen to be tasty and wholesome for young children, as well as being simple enough to make while tending our little ones. Altogether, this is a vibrant collection that evokes love and wonder. I can't recommend it highly enough.
- The Name of the Tree (South Africa)
- Tunjur, Tunjur (Israel)
- Momotaro, the Peach Boy (Japan)
- The Little Flame
- The Little Possum Who Wanted a Peach
- Time for Bed
- Where Has Father Sun Gone?
- Recipe: Peppercorn Birthday Cake
- The Duckling's Journey (Austria)
- The Story of the Cat with the Long, Long Tail (Belgium)
- Tailor Tom (Denmark)
- Little Ash Squirel and Little Oak Squirrel (France)
- Turlutin (France)
- The Lantern (Germany)
- Speaking Grapes, Smiling Apples and Ringing Peaches (Hungary)
- The Old Woman and the Little Mouse (Sweden)
- Sir Cat-O-Puss (Ukraine)
- The Soupstone Story (United Kingdom)
- Recipes: Spitzbuben Cookies, Michaelmas Soup, St. John's Elderflower Drink, Potato Pogatcha, Salty Pretzels, Hot Cross Buns
- How the Robin Got Its Red Breast (Canada)
- Tajin and the Seven Thunders (Mexico)
- The Legend of the Tepozteco (Mexico)
- The Story of the Jumping Mouse (United States)
- Recipes: Cree Bannock Bread, Tamales, Birthday Muffins
- The Magic Stone (Brazil)
- The Golden Fish and the Magic Star (Brazil)
- The Little Seed (Brazil)
Tell Me a Story
Stories from the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America
Edited by Louise deForest
Illustrated by Deborah Grieder and Jo Valens
$25.00Add a review
The good people at WECAN are very much to be congratulated - they have produced what is, in my opinion, the finest collection of stories for young children ever published in English (maybe in any language, but others will have to judge that). Tell Me a Story brings together in one volume over 80 stories told and loved in Waldorf kindergartens throughout North America, and as such really offers a resource that can last throughout a lifetime.
Wherever there are children, the cry of "Tell me a story . . ." is heard, and in Waldorf education, storytelling is an integral (and often favorite) part of each day. Stories connect us to one another, give us a sense of who we are, and can help to guide us into the future. Tell Me a Story is filled with treasures for all ages and all occasions. Whether you are a teacher, parent, grandparent, caregiver, or just a lover of good stories, you will find inspiration and nourishment in these pages.
The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
Introduction by Padraic Colum
Commentary by Joseph Campbell
$19.95Add a review
This is the classic Pantheon edition of the Haus Marchen ("house stories") collected by the Brothers Grimm. This collection has nurtured children's imaginations in English-speaking Waldorf kindergartens and first grades throughout the world. The richness of imagery and the ultimate truth of the tales is a gift to every child fortunate enough to hear them told by a loved adult. It is also a gift to the adults who are able to share them with the children in their care. One of the few books that genuinely belongs on every home and schools "must have" list.
by Charles Kovacs
$20.00Add a review
Charles Kovacs' curriculum notes are so wonderful - it is a recurring joy to browse through them and to see new titles appear. There is no doubt in my mind that he has planted seeds of hope for our children and the world.
In this newest collection of Norse Myths, Kovacs beautifully retells the stories of 19 of the Norse gods (including Freya, Thor, Odin, Loki and many more), 4 of the great Sagas (Nibelung, Gudrune, Frithiof, and Kvasir) and the 3 key stories of the Twilight of the Gods ("The Death of Baldur," "Loki's Punishment," and "Ragnarok"). The sweep of these stories if read in order paints a heartfelt picture of the flourishing and fall of an age where giants and gods strode across the earth itself. To read it is to apprehend anew the heartbeat of Norse mythology.
Used in Grade 4 within the Waldorf curriculum.
Tales from the Kalevala
A Prose Rendering
Translated by Hartmut Schiffer
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Tales from the Kalevala is another one of those books that I have heard so very many people ask for over the years: "Is there a Kalevala in English that tells the story in a way I can use in the classroom/to teach my children?" Now I can answer "yes" - and it is a lovely, well-told tale indeed.
Rudolf Steiner recognized the stories of the Kalevala as having the clearest pictures of an earlier phase of human soul development. He also said that in addition to telling us much about the particular experiences of life in Northern Europe, the stories also offer insights into humanity's earlier time on Earth as well as glimpses of our future development. Steiner went so far as to say that he believed the Kalevala would become as important in the future as the stories of Ancient Greece have been in the past.
The Kalevala is used in the 4th grade curriculum in Waldorf Education. Irmgard Burtscher is a class teacher in Liechtenstein who prepared this prose version of the stories to help other teachers present them to their students. Schiffer's translation brings these robust tales to our door with an English that is at once modern, yet retains the flavor of the ancient world. Do enjoy!
Nordic Gods and Heroes
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One of the world's greatest storytellers has given us what I believe is the most elegant and engaging versions of the core of Norse mythology. Padraic Colum's retellings of these timeless stories of the rather raucous pantheon of Norse Gods, giants and heroes will draw you and your students or children into the story, hold you there through to the end and when it is over, leave you hoping for more stories to come. This is a reprint of Colum's book that was originally published in 1920 -- and what a wonderful thing it is to have it available here and now!
Among the many stories in Nordic Gods and Heroes are:
- Iduna and Her Apples - How Loki Put the Gods in Danger
- How Freya Gained Her Necklace and How Her Loved One Was Lost to Her
- How Frey Won Gerda, the Giant Maiden, and How He Lost His Magic Sword
- The All-Father's Forebodings: How He Leaves Asgard
- Odin Goes to Mimir's Well - His Sacrifice for Wisdom
- How Thor and Loki Befooled Thrym the Giant
- Ægir's Feast: How Thor Triumphed
- Loki the Betrayer
- Baldur's Doom
- Sigurd at the House of the Nibelungs
- The Twilight of the Gods
And many, many more!
Introduced and Retold by Kevin Crossley-Holland
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I have been looking for a good collection of Norse Myths for some time - and have been wanting to offer this one for even longer. Every time I asked, however, I was told that it was unavailable. I kept asking, though, and at last heard that once again there were copies on the publisher's shelves! from
If you are unfamiliar with Norse Mythology (as I also once was), the introduction is priceless. In it the author outlines the Norse Pantheon, the relationships of the gods and the progression of the myths from The Creation to the Ragnorak.
Crossley-Holland has selected 32 myths that capture in vivid story the tales of these boisterous, courageous, cruel and passionate gods. You'll find Thor, Odin, Baldur, and Loki and a host of other fascinating gods and giants, and watch as the world of the Vikings moves from hopeful beginnings to abundant (and often clashing) life to the final battle that brings a close to that world.
This is a collection that is worthy of both child and adult. Recommended without hesitation!
Norse Mythology and the Modern Human Being
Translated by Rudolf Copple
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This is a valuable study of a mythology that has as much to do with the future of human evolution as it does with these old stories of the Norse gods. Uehli moves systematically through the major figures in this ancient saga, reflecting on the deeper meaning and showing why they are so valuable for children, especially those in the fourth grade. It will provide insight for teachers, parents, and other adults who hope to answer some of the life questions of today.
Norwegian Folk Tales
From the collection of Peter Christien Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe
$15.95Add a review
Jacob Grimm once said that the Norwegian folk tales "surpass nearly all others." This collection, long held as a treasure in Norway, justifies that opinion. Within these captivating tales we meet witches, trolls, and ogres; sly foxes and great, mysterious bears; beautiful princesses and country-lads-turned-heroes. Collected here in a sparkling contemporary translation by Pat Shaw Iversen and Carl Norman, these tales brim with the matchless vitality and power of their original telling. Included also are the rich illustrations of Erik Werenskiold and Theodor Kittelsen.
These tales are a delight to read and delicious to retell!
East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon
The Complete, Unabridged Edition by George Webbe Dasent
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I have been wanting to write about this collection for some time. It is an old, classic collection of Scandinavian folk and fairy tales, on a par with that of the Brothers Grimm and originally published in 1888. Many of you have probably heard of it or even read it.
I've been wanting to say two things about it, the first of which is that the fairy tales I remember most vividly from my own childhood are those that I read to myself in 4th grade (that year, I did a lot of story reading while I was supposed to be doing math problems). It turns out that all of them came from an abridged version of East o' the Sun. Most especially, I remember "Katie Woodencloak" and "Tatterhood," but there are several others that live on in warm places in my heart also.
More importantly, and beyond simply wanting to share with you a lovely slice of my past, I want to tell you what I've discovered in dipping into this treasure house of stories: namely, that this collection more than any other I know is comprised of what are clearly post-Christian stories. There is an element of hardship and redemption that plays out in these tales in ways no other region's tales have done. Mother Mary even appears in at least one of them ("The Lassie and Her Godmother").
As such, this collection can hold a unique place in the context of the goals of Waldorf education. I think it can become a wonderful counterpoint during the 4th grade to presentation of the Norse Myths. This is a time when the Norse gods resemble very much the children: a bit more in possession of their (rather raucous) power than they are capable of self-control. The tumultuous tales of Loki and Baldur and Thor are just right for that age, and so we teach them. But were we to add some of the stories in East o' the Sun, we would be giving our children pictures of what the coming out of this chaos and into the more fully human can look like, and Who it might be that accompanies us. It would allow the students to recapture some of their delight from first grade, but in an older and wiser form. I think it would enhance the developmental effect of the Norse myths and offer a heartfelt image of the paths we walk on earth.
I should add that because of the perspective and content of these tales, I recommend them for children 9 years and older, not for the younger ones.
Swedish Folk Tales
Illustrated by John Bauer
Hardbound, large format, richly illustrated with amazing paintings
$22.95Add a review
from "Leap Elk and Little Princess Cottongrass"
This dazzling collection of twenty-nine illustrated stories, retold by some of the greatest Swedish writers, includes:
- “When Mother Troll Took in the King’s Washing” by Elsa Beskow
- “The Magician’s Cape” by Anna Wahlenberg
- “Leap the Elk and the Little Princess Cottongrass” by Helge Kjellin
- “The Four Big Trolls and Little PetHer Pastureman” by Cyrus Granér
- “The Trolls and the Youngest Tomte” by Alfred Smedberg
- “The Ring” by Helena Nyblom
- “The Seven Wishes” by Alfred Smedberg
- “Stalo and Kauras” by P. A. Lindholm
- “The Maiden in the Castle of Rosy Clouds” by Harald Ostenson
- “The Boy and the Trolls, or the Adventure” by Walter Stenström
- “The Crofters and the Gnomes” by Anna Wahlenberg
- “The Golden Key” by W. E. Björk
- “The Giant Who Slept for Ten Thousand Years” by Einar Rosenborg
- ... and many more!
John Bauer’s original and evocative illustrations bring these classic Swedish folk tales to life. His art seems to me to be a combination of earthly idealism and a fascintating evocation of spiritual reality (or perhaps "elemental reality"). It is no wonder that he is so beloved in Sweden. This collection, paired with his paintings, makes this a book to treasure for generations.
Because of the complexity of some of the themes, as well as the rather robust encounters of humans and elemental beings, I personally recommend this collection for children ages 9 and older, though some of the stories are appropriate for younger children.
Russian Fairy Tales
Illustrated by Aleksander Nickolaivicher Afanasyev
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This is the largest collection of these beautiful, rich stories that I know of. Beautifully retold, charmingly illustrated in Russian folk-art style, this is a treasure that will serve you and your children for years and years. Nearly 200 characteristic and colorful traditional folk and fairy tales are brought together in the only comprehensive edition available in English.
I especially love the Russian tales because they are so richly woven - there is a glorious "fullness" to them, with a wonderful sense of detail that never mires, but always results in the most engaging, most multi-layered folk tales I have encountered. Our children heard and read hundreds of fairy tales - these are the ones they most often mention as still living in their adult hearts.
As Eudora Welty wrote when the original edition was published in 1945, "These tales are gorgeous."
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!
English Fairy Tales
Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Illustrated by John D Batten
$12.95Add a review
At the end of the 19th Century, one of England's greatest folklorist (and a mighty storyteller!) brought to life so very many of the folk tales succeeding generations have loved as their own. The kings and queens, the wicked giants, clever youngests sons, talking animals and trees, magic cloaks - all are the ingredients of wonderful stories that stir the imagination and delight the heart.
In this volume you'll find many tales you already know and many that will be new to you. "Jack and the Beanstalk," "The Story of the Three Bears," "Henny Penny," and 40 more await you and your children.
Celtic Myths and Legends
T. W. Rolleston
with 76 illustrations from the original edition as well as background essays on the history and culture of the Celts
$12.95Add a review
For those who would like to learn something about the people behind the great Celtic myths, this edition is a gift. Originally published in 1917, it gathers together in one place pretty much the full core of Celtic mythology and historical legends. The author, in addition to lending these stories a voice through which the magic and panoply of these tales that now belong to the entire world, also illuminates the world of the Celts through his introductory essays. Those essays, in my opinion, make this book a resource to be treasured.
As for the stories, they are pure enchantment. Focusing mainly on Irish myths, Rolleston takes us into the myths of the Irish invasion and the early Milesian kings. You'll meet Queen Maev, Cuchulain the Giant, King Arthur and his knights (including the Grail quest) and much more.
In the Waldorf curriculum, these stories will fit nicely into the history and literature of the 6th grade. Outside Waldorf schools, I would recommend them for anyone 12 or older.
Celtic Folk and Fairy Tales
Collected by Joseph Jacobs
$8.95Add a review
This collection of Celtic tales is most noteworthy for its inclusion of many tales that are (at least in our day and age) "for adults only." Or, at least for those over 13 or so. For this, we owe him a great debt of gratitude, as these tales give glimpses into the life of the Celtic peoples, most often in relationship to the incoming Christian religion. This sort of glimpse into a more living history is rare and informs in ways that simple statements about the outcomes of battles, who ruled whom and when and so forth cannot do. I can't recommend reading these and other such tales to highly - they are treasures.
There are, though, several stories you may happily share with children: "Jack the Cunning Thief," "The Greek Princess and the Young Gardener," "The Russet Dog" and many others. For these tales, this book will find a place as stories at bedtime and in lessons - many are relatively unknown and quite wonderful, too.
For children ages 7 and up when wisely selected by an adult; for adolescents and adults on their own.
Myths of the World
Collected and Retold by Padraic Colum
$25.00Add a review
A treasure house of stories from ancient myth and legend, told by one of Ireland’s greatest storytellers.
“The interest of this book lies in its scope and in the engaging way in which the myths are recounted. Suitable for bedtime reading either to yourself or your children.”
— Scientific and Medical Network
Here is a comprehensive collection of tales that have carried deeply human meaning through the centuries. You will find all the legendary heroes and tragic characters of ancient times—Iris, Osiris, Gilgamesh, Hercules, Pandora, and many more.
Padraic Colum shows the close relationships between past cultures by including stories from ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, Ireland, Iceland, China, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, and Peru. A feast for the soul!
This classic collection will entertain and enlighten children of all ages.
Great Myths of the World
Selected and Retold by Padraic Colum
Identical to Myths of the World, but in an older typesetting.
$12.95Add a review
As a tour of the world's great civilizations and the myths that give voice to their cultures, Padraic Colum's stands out as being not only sweeping in scope but beautiful in voice.As a tour of the world's great civilizations and the myths that give voice to their cultures, Padraic Colum's stands out as being not only sweeping in scope but beautiful in voice. Colum has selected what I will call 'keystone myths' from the ancient cultures that have informed our modern world:
Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Post-Christian Judaism, Greece, Rome, Graeco-Rome, the Celtic world, Finland (Kalevala), Iceland, India, China, Japan, Polynesia, Peru, Central America and Mexico, Zuni.
Colum also treats us to his wonderful essay, "The Significance of Mythology."
This one-volume edition carries within its covers more cultural heartbeats and beautiful vision than any other single book I can think of. Great Myths of the World is a book to enjoy throughout a lifetime. In Waldorf education, many of these myths are at the heart of 4th and 5th grade curricula.
Plays for Puppets
Collected, created, adapted & translated by Bronja Zahlingen
$10.50Add a review
Don't let the cover fool you - this little gem is filled with life, love and everything you need to prepare and present simple puppet plays for the young children in your care. In addition to twelve plays that include both traditional fairy tales and delightful original stories, Zahlingen also introduces and clearly describes the simple art of puppetry as practiced in Waldorf kindergartens - plus there are patterns and instructions for simple marionettes to make yourself. A treasure that will carry you far beyond its covers.
Advent and Christmas Stories
A treasury of stories, verses and songs
Estelle Bryer and Janni Nicol
$24.95Add a review
This illustrated treasury of over fifty stories, verses, songs and puppet plays range from Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas, to the flight into Egypt. Estelle Bryer and Janni Nicol tell their favorite Christmas stories with an approach that is both simple and profound. They draw on their lifelong experience as Waldorf kindergarten educators, puppeteers, and as mothers. These stories will delight young children, and invite parents and teachers to become more confident storytellers.
Estelle Bryer and Janni Nicol offer a treasury of Christmas stories that create a peaceful, enfolding space for our children, where wonder can do its healing work. Each of these tales inspires us to take a deep, fulfilling breath of imagination and let Christmas radiance grow in our eyes, words and hearts. They lead us beyond the ordinary laws of nature into the truth of miracles and wonders: we discover the holiness of rabbits and birds, turtles and trees as they guide the holy family.
Nancy Mellon, author of Storytelling with Children
Warm, wonderful, delightful! Highly recommended!
Stories for the Festivals of the Year
Told for Children
$19.95Add a review
I had never heard of this little treasure of a book until a few weeks ago. In fact, I had never seen a copy until those I had requested sight unseen arrived at my door.
It's been a long time since I was in a community where simple yet deep and beautiful stories were told at festival times -- Irene Johanson has brought that all back to me and offers it to anyone who opens her book. Although these tales for the Christian festivals are indeed told for children, it is hard for me to imagine anyone who could listen to or read these stories without loving them.
Most of the stories are quite short, which is good not only because they can be told at bedtime, but because there is so much imaginative gold contained in each that these small portions allow the heart to wrap itself completely around the stories and lets the mind imagine each one to the fullest.
- Easter, Ascension and Whitson - 9 different stories
- Legends about St. John (the Baptist) - 10 stories
- The Marriage of the King's Son (for Michaelmas) - 3 stories
- The Animals' Joy at Christmas - 6 stories
- Star Legends for Epiphany - 6 stories
- Holy Week - 6 stories
Puck the Gnome
$15.00Add a review
Written by master storyteller, Jacob Streit, Puck the Gnome is one of the most delightful children·s stories to appear in quite awhile. Puck is a hard-working fellow whose one foot faces forward while the other faces backward (something many of us can relate to, I suspect). Streit's delightful tale illuminates the world of the hard-working gnomes through the courage and antics of the one who's literally coming and going at the same time. The moral insights, wisdom, humor, and true goodness found in Puck·s adventures will delight both children and adults. The illustrations by Georges Feldmann are truly magical.
Stories of Gnomes and Trolls
Illustrated by Susanne A. Mitchell
$16.00Add a review