February 24, 2011

African myths

The Fire Children

This brief but lovely West African creation myth tells the story of Kwaku Ananse and Aso Yaa, two spirit people who fall out of the sky god's mouth. One day, Aso Yaa decides to make children, so she and Kwaku make figures out of clay and bake them in the fire. The sky god often interrupts their task, so the figures are either uncooked or burnt. This is why there are different-coloured people on earth.

Ashley Bryan's African Tales, Uh-Huh

These are stories told in the African oral tradition, with rhythmic, sing-song prose. 

Listen to  Hen's click clack cluck or Frog's kwee kwo kwa, meet scat-talking Monkey - don't fee fa foo fight, it's not bee ba do right - and discover why Frog and Snake shouldn't play together. 

An excellent book for reading out loud.

African Myths & Legends

A collection of seven tales with interesting artwork reminiscent of traditional African carvings. 

In the Race to be King, Frog tricks his brother by using magic; in The Challenge and the Messenger, the God of Water challenges the Supreme God for his title; in The Battle with Death, a man saves his people from drought; in How the Animals Came, the people build a pyramid to steal animals from heaven. A man runs afoul of evil spirits in Kigbo and the Bush Spirits, an old woman becomes a mother in The Children of the Gourds, and herdsmen have lion trouble in The Lion Man and the Cattle.

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales

A collection of 32 tales, each told by different storytellers, with pictures by different illustrators. 

The quality of the stories are a little uneven, and some are very puzzling, but all are entertaining. The best stories are the creation myths such as King Lion's Gifts and The Mantis and the Moon

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