Myths and Hero Tales: A Cross-Cultural Guide to Literature for Children and Young Adults

Myths and Hero Tales: A Cross-Cultural Guide to Literature for Children and Young Adults

Myths and Hero Tales: A Cross-Cultural Guide to Literature for Children and Young Adults

Myths and Hero Tales: A Cross-Cultural Guide to Literature for Children and Young Adults

Synopsis

This cross-cultural selective guide to the latest and best retellings of myths and hero tales for children and young adults will enable teachers and library media specialists to select comparative myths and tales from various, mostly non-European, cultures. The focus is on stories from Native America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, and Oceania. The Guide contains annotated entries on 189 books of myths and hero tales, both ancient and modern, published between 1985 and 1996. Represented are 1,455 stories suitable for use with young people from mid-elementary through high school.

Excerpt

Myths and Hero Tales: A Cross-Cultural Guide for Children and Young Adults is designed to direct teachers and students to some of the best stories in world literature, as well as to facilitate studies in comparative mythology and indepth research of a geographical area or culture. It contains entries on 189 books of retellings of myths and hero tales both ancient and modern from around the world, published from 1985 through 1996, suitable for use by and with young people from mid-elementary school through high school. Altogether, 1,455 stories are represented. The entries, which consist of brief, critical reviews of the books arranged in alphabetical order by writer, appear in the Guide. Supplementing the Guide are seven indexes—writer; type of story; culture; characters, places, and other significant items; grade level; title; and illustrator—all of which are keyed to entries in the Guide. The book concludes with a bibliography of retellings that were published earlier and have come to be considered important standard works.

Some books in Myths and Hero Tales contain stories from a single culture or people; others are anthologies that offer selections from a variety of cultures. Individual stories range from a dozen lines to book-length narratives. Some books are highly illustrated, while others contain only texts. When they seem appropriate for the intended audience, picture books have been included. Myths and hero tales are among the most imaginative and mind-stretching narratives available for young readers. They belong to the vast body of literature known as oral tradition, which also includes folk tales, fables, proverbs, and such information as weather saws and recipes—sayings and stories that for the most part antedate writing and were passed along by word of mouth, in many instances for hundreds of years before they were set down. While some of these stories now exist only in writing, some continue in oral tradition, and many coexist in both oral and written form.

Although myths and hero tales are often considered to be one genre, the term myth also including hero tale, they are really two distinct literary forms. While the types may be intermingled in a particular story, each form serves

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