Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Story, A Story

By Gail E. Haley. This is the retold African folktale of how we received stories from Nyame, the Sky God. Ananse the Spider man asks for the golden box full of stories and then has to use his cleverness to bring the requested gifts for Nyame. This is the beginning of the Ananse tale of the Spider/trickster of West African folktales. Ananse’s quick wit and clever ingenuity gain him the victory over many challenging situations. Many times the African storyteller begins this way: "We do not really mean, we do not really mean that what we are about to say is true. A Story, a story; let it come, let it go."

Story telling in this tradition is a way of passing on wisdom and teaching children strategies for problem solving and living successfully in the world. I find it endlessly fascinating to observe how different cultures pass on their knowledge and values to the next generation. Story is the vehicle many times, and the moral of the tale is absorbed in the closeness of community, family love, humor, and art. Haley did the gorgeous wood cuts for this volume after traveling and studying African art and story telling traditions. This Caldecott medal winner is one of the classics and should be in every child’s library.

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1 comment:

Saints and Spinners said...

Yes! Hurrah. Also check out Zzznng, Zzzng, Zzzng, a Yoruba folktale retold by Phyllis Gershator