Once upon a Zzzzzz….
When my oldest child was very young, he would wake up ready to play at 5am every morning. To give myself a little more time to rest, we would snuggle while I told him a story or two—half-asleep—to keep him busy while my brain functions kicked in. The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks, Jack & the Beanstalk…..stories I could tell in my sleep (literally) and pass along to my kids as part of their traditional fairy tale education.
Did you ever wonder if these same stories are also told by sleepy parents in France, Australia, Russia, or Peru? What stories do parents in Tanzania tell when their little ones are restless?
The Story of Stories
Storytelling is an art that has served many purposes: passing down family history from generation to generation, cautioning youth about the dangers of the world, and teaching moral lessons. And entertaining kids, of course! Some familiar stories might have a slight variation when told in another country. Others are unique to a culture and contribute to a child’s worldview as they grow up. Reading stories from around the world can help kids connect to the experience of other children in the world, gaining an understanding of cultures that are different from their own.
5 Great Sites for World Stories
International Digital Children’s Library has collections of books from around the world, digitized for easy reading on-line. The advantage of this site is that you can view illustrations from the books as well, providing a fun visual support for the stories. You can search by categories including language, story character, child’s age, or fiction/non-fiction. Stories are available in multiple languages, with some dual language books.
World of Tales focuses on folktales that have been passed down for generations in cultures all over the world. On this site, you can search by continent and country/culture to display a list of tales to read (in English).
WorldStories by KidsOut, a children’s charity in the UK, is a fantastic site that includes traditional and newer stories in 27 languages. You can read them on-line in either English or the story’s native language, and you can also listen to the stories or download the mp3. The site has resources for both parents and teachers, and kids can send in their own stories and illustrations to be displayed on the website!
StoryNory publishes a new story each week. There are collections of fairy tales from around the world, as well as historic stories about King Arthur, St. Patrick, and Greek mythology. All stories are in English and you can read them on-line, listen to the audio in the browser or download mp3 files to play later.
The Literacy Shed/Other Cultures is a great site designed for primary school teachers that includes visual media and short films about other cultures. Video clips are embedded on the site and they include multiple suggestions for extension activities that help children reflect on the cultural story through writing, discussion and projects.
Do you have a great World Story resource for kids? Please share it with us in the Comments section! Happy reading!