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Children's and Young Adult Literature: Traditional literature/Folklore

What is traditional literature?


"Traditional literature encompasses books rendered from oral tradition--stories that have been passed down for ages (Kiefer, 2007)--and as a result are commonly shared throughout the world. This literature includes folktales, myths, fables, and legends."

Barone, D. M. (2011). Children's Literature in the Classroom: Engaging Lifelong Readers. Guilford Press.

"Folktales differ from the stories of today in that folktales are more interested in preserving tradition rather than creating it. Whereas the modern storyteller values originality of plot, the folklorist values connecting his audience with past and present culture (Thompson 4). With all due redundancy, folktales capture tales of the folk. They are living histories of the people of a particular time and place. They shed light on the values, aspirations, fears and dreams of a particular culture. They educate, inspire and entertain."

Boyd, D. Using Folktales to Create (Even More) Drama in the Middle School Classroom.

Background reading

Featured title

Locating traditional literature

Fairy tales  Folklore--Africa  Folklore--African-Americans  Folklore--Canada 

Folklore--China  Folklore--French-Canadians  Folklore--Japan  Folklore--India 

Folklore--Korea  Folklore--Mexico  Folklore--Nigeria  Folklore--Russia

*Note: To locate additional resources, search the Library Catalogue by combining any country or cultural group with the heading folklore. Example: Cree Indians - Folklore

*Note: For traditional First Nations, Métis, or Inuit stories, refer to the Indigenous Children's Literature section of this guide