African Folktales

The African continent is home to many peoples and cultures. This sample covers only 6 diverse peoples from Africa, leaving many more to explore. Whet your appetite with these stories and visit the Trove to find many more. Enjoy!

Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile, by Won-Ldy Paye
“A clever chicken outwits a hungry crocodile by convincing the reptile that she is her sister. This trickster tale is smart and funny. It comes from the Dan people of Liberia and this illustrated version is perfect for a younger audience.”—School Library Journal

Beautiful Blackbird, by Ashley Bryan
“Because they don't have a spot of black on their bodies, the colorful birds of Africa envy Blackbird. Although he assures them that “color on the outside is not what’s on the inside”, he generously shares the blackening brew in his gourd. Adapted from an Ila tale from Zambia.”—School Library Journal

The Lion’s Whiskers, by Nancy Raines Day
“A woman seeking the advice of a medicine man on how to win the love of her young stepson is told that she must pluck three whiskers from the chin of a fierce old lion. As she slowly earns the beast’s trust, she learns the way to the boy’s heart. A folktale from the Amhara people of Ethiopia.”—School Library Journal

How the Ostrich Got a Long Neck: a Tale of the Akamba of Kenya, by Verma Aardema
“Poor short-neck Ostrich cannot touch the ground with his beak. Crocodile has a raging toothache. When the kindhearted bird sticks his head into Crocodile’s mouth to pluck out the painful tooth, her jaws clamp shut, beginning a humorous tug of war. Sprinkled with the animals’ wonderful sound effects, this story will be a natural to read aloud.”—School Library Journal

The Flying Tortoise: an Igbo Tale, by Totolwa M. Mollel
“This Nigerian trickster tale starts a cunning and vain tortoise who gets his comeuppance. Mbeku convinces the jungle birds to let him accompany them on a visit to the Skylanders so he can steal all their food. When the birds protest that he cannot fly, he devises an elaborate set of wings and joins them on their trip.”—School Library Journal

A Pride of African Tales, by Donna L. Washington
“Like a group of lions, these six stories are majestic. Each one begins with a short note of explanation and is identified as a porquoi, a trickster or a cautionary tale. A map of Africa pinpoints the countries of origin and brief source notes are appended.”—School Library Journal

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