Folklore

Crossroads

There is a legend about blues guitarist Robert Johnson- that he sold his soul to the devil for the ability to play blues guitar like no other. Is it true? Perhaps, perhaps not; it's a legend that surrounds other bluesmen and many a struggling musician has gone in search of "the crossroads" to see if they can also have the skills and influence of Robert Johnson. Crossroads is not about that search,

There's Monsters and Then There's Monsters

ImageHorror fiction: There're a lot of arguments about what it is and isn't -- it's bloody; it doesn't have to be bloody. It's supernatural, like werewolves and ghosts; it can have just people -- they're scary enough. It's got sparkly vampires who can inexplicably run around all day; vampires don't fall in love, they fall with their fangs into your neck. Whatever version of horror you subscribe to, with Halloween coming up quickly, it's what's for dinner.

Huff & Puff

We receive wonderful questions from kids at our "Ask Questions Here" desk, and in our programs. But we also get a lot of terrific statements. One of my favorites is: "I know that book!" or "I know that story!" This statement is typically shared as an excited, gleeful shout. It feels good to know something. It's empowering.

The Troll With No Heart In His Body

The Troll With No Heart In His Body and Other Tales of Trolls, from Norway consists of tales retold by "The Troll Lady," Lise Lunge-Larsen, with striking woodcut and colored ink illustrations by Betsy Bowen. Lunge-Larsen is a storyteller who emigrated to Minnesota from Norway, bringing with her mythic Norse stories of giant trolls with tiny brains. In her introduction, she says, "Nothing can truly show children, even adults, more about how to live, about who they are, and about their place in the world, and the struggles of life than a good folktale, and these troll stories I count among the best."

Fat Cat: A Danish Folktale

School is almost out and the summer reading program has begun. Our theme this year is One World Many Stories: Get Reading, Get Moving. Reading folktales is the perfect way to explore this exciting theme and one of the best folktale collectors is Margaret Read MacDonald.
Dr. MacDonald lived in Bloomington many years ago when she studied for her Ph.D. in folklore at Indiana University. She lives and works in Washington state today where she is a librarian, storyteller, and author of dozens of books. Some of her books are collections that are perfect for beginning storytellers. Teachers, parents, and kids who want to learn how to tell stories will love The Storyteller's Start-Up Book . These stories are easy to learn and Dr. MacDonald gives great advice on how to present them. When the Lights Go Out: Twenty Scary Tales to Tell is a fun collection of shivery stories that are great to share around a summer campfire.

Best. Folktales. Ever.


What would you do if the leader of your country ordered you to kill your parents? What if you had a talking mask that looked just like your best friend? Imagine finding a village of tiny people who all rode on rabbits. What would you say if they told you that you could live forever?

I just came across Mirra Ginsburg's The Kaha Bird: Tales from the Steppes of Central Asia. If you like your fairy tales to surprise you, check this book out. Although Mirra Ginsburg is best known for her picture book adaptations of such tales as The Clay Boy and Two Greedy Bears, she collected stories from all over the world and retold them for children and adults.

Find her in our stacks, but fasten your seatbelt before reading these stories. They have teeth! The Kaha Bird is recommended for grades four and up.