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The Educative Matrix of Folklore
Clearly, folklore is alive and well. It constitutes a basic and important educative and expressive setting in which individuals learn how to see, act, respond, and express themselves by the empirical observation of close human interactions and expressions in their immediate society (that is, the family, occupational or religious group, ethnic or regional community). Folklore structures the worldview through which a person is educated into the language and logic systems of these close societies. It provides ready formulas for the expression of cultural norms.
–The Dynamics of Folklore, by Barre Toelken
Utah State University Press, 1996
General Traits of Folklore
- Folklore involves a tradition that passes over time and through space and is not necessarily old; in fact, it is often contemporary and dynamic.
- The learning process is usually by word of mouth, observation and imitation.
- There are conservative elements that stay the same through many transmissions. For example, the plot of the ballad “Barbara Allen” remains the same: A woman forsakes a man and he dies.
- On the other hand, folklore is also dynamic, changing in transmission (versions), while keeping a storehouse of conservative elements such as motifs, metaphors, characters that belong to the collective and get reworked again and again. Thus, each singer of “Barbara Allen” might accidentally or purposefully change the lyrics.
- The source is often anonymous.
Folk groups can be any groups of people who share special language, customs, traditions and can be based upon factors such as nationality, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, region, neighborhood, social class, social clubs, family, occupation, school, classroom. All of us belong to many different, sometimes overlapping, folk groups that change throughout our lives.
Functions of Folklore
- Education and instruction
- Relief of cultural tension
- Validation of a culture (paradoxically, folklore can also violate cultural norms)
Basic Types of Folklore
Oral Narratives–tales, legends, proverbs, jokes, riddles, anecdotes, oral poetry, toasts, sermons, personal experience narratives
Music–lullabies to highly polished song styles
Material Culture–the “stuff” of traditional culture, which includes, for example, the following:
Architecture–barns, fences, outbuildings, houses Crafts and Decorative Arts–baskets, quilts, coverlets, carvings, pottery, weaving, tool-making, furniture-making, needlework, home or yard decoration
Foodways–preserving food, recipes, ritual meals, who does what
Beliefs–folk wisdom, superstitions, weatherlore, remedies, prejudice, spirituality
Customs–group celebrations, holidays, calendar traditions, rituals, birthdays
Body Communications–greetings, handshakes, dance, games, gestures
Traditional, Popular and Elite Culture
Traditional knowledge and culture are learned and transmitted by word of mouth and observation within our many overlapping folk groups. Elite or academic knowledge is learned and transmitted formally in a society’s institutions such as schools, universities, museums and concert halls. Popular culture is learned and transmitted through mass media. The boundaries between these kinds of knowledge and culture blur interestingly, and often traditional knowledge and culture are overlooked or dismissed as quaint or untrue.
Content and Methodology
Folklore’s relevance to K-12 educators is interdisciplinary and twofold. Young people respond not only to the content of folklore–sharing their own and discovering others’ traditions–but to collecting folklore through various fieldwork methods, which can include observation, notetaking, mapping, interviewing, audio or video recording, archiving and presenting findings in any variety of ways.
Many of these resources for educators will appeal to older students as well.
Bowman, Paddy, and Lynne Hamer. Through the Schoolhouse Door: Folklore,
Community, Curriculum. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2011, 286 p. This anthology of
folklorists’ experiences in K-12 education is useful for educators as well as folklorists.
Bronner, Simon. American Children’s Folklore. Little Rock: August House, 1988. 281 p. This examination of how children create culture includes many examples of genres such as
parodies, games, jump rope rhymes, and instructions for simple toys that remind readers of their own childhood culture.
Brunvand, Jan Harold, editor. American Folklore: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1996. 794 p. Although the over 200 entries in this comprehensive encyclopedia (ranging in length from a single paragraph to several pages) are scholarly in nature, the scope of coverage (rodeo, Appalachia, theoretical approaches to folklore, the tooth fairy, Internet urban legends) and the credentials of the varied contributors make this entry an invaluable browsing tool as well as a respected reference.
Burton, Bryan. Moving Within the Circle: Contemporary Native American Music and Dance. Danbury: World Music Press, 1993. 167 p. plus cassette or CD. Photographs, songs, and dances from many North American tribes.
Campbell, Patricia Shehan. Songs in Their Heads: Music and Its Meaning in Children’s Lives. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, 246 p. Music educators will appreciate Campbell’s attention to children’s creativity and imagination in this ethnographic exploration of how children relate to music outside the classroom.
Campbell, Patricia Shehan, Ellen McCullough-Brabson, and Judith Cook Tucker. Roots and Branches: A Legacy of Multicultural Music for Children. Danbury: World Music Press, 1994. 153 p. Teacher resource for all grades, this book and CD set shares musical memories of people from 23 cultures.
Gillis, Candida. The Community as Classroom. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook, 1992. 186 p. Good K-12 resource on expanding curriculum to include people and places in students’ lives.
Jones, Bessie, and Bess Lomax Hawes. Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs, and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987. 233 p. A classic collection of games, hand-clapping rhymes, songs, and stories plus 70 activities. Cassette features Bessie Jones, one of the Georgia Sea Island Singers.
Lomax, Alan. The Folk Songs of North America. New York: Doubleday, 1975. 623 p. Although out of print, many libraries have this collection of lyrics, tunes, and notes on over 250 songs.
Long, Larry. Here I Stand: Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1996. Working with young people who interviewed community members, a singer songwriter helped them write and perform songs based on their fieldwork. A guidebook accompanies this CD and describes how to recreate such a project.
Lornell, Kip. Introducing American Folk Music. Dubuque: Brown and Benchmark, 1993. 251 p. plus cassette. A good resource offering lots of photos, some curriculum ideas, and thorough overview of traditional American music and its influence on pop music. Helpful to K-12 classroom and music teachers and grades 7-12.
Lornell, Kip, and Anne Rasmussen. Musics of Multicultural America: A Study of Twelve Musical Communities. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997. 348 p. The interdisciplinary text and CD examine several diverse American music communities from closely.
MacDowell, Marsha, and LuAnne Kozma, eds. Folk Arts in Education: A Resource Handbook II. East Lansing: Michigan State University Museum, 2008. 350 p. A sampler of folklore in education lesson plans from around the country and lots of ideas and resources for all grades. Order or download at www.folkartsineducation.org.
Pryor, Anne, and Nancy B. Blake, eds. Quilting Circles ~ Learning Communities: Arts, Community, and Curriculum Guide, University of Wisconsin School of Education and Wisconsin Arts Board, 2007, 92 p. This beautiful spiral-bound book comes with a CD-Rom that includes quilt slideshows and video demos.
Reagon, Bernice Johnson. Wade in the Water: African American Sacred Music Traditions. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1994. 4-CD set or order individual CDs. These rich recordings from the public radio series of the same name chronicles African American history and culture as well as sacred music and include extensive liner notes.
Rodseth, Lars, Sally Howell, and Andrew Shryrock. Arab World Mosaic: A Curriculum Supplement for Elementary Teachers. Illus. by Michelle Gallagher. Detroit: Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, 1994. 209 p. Written by anthropologists, this guide offers many activities relating to the traditions of Arabs in different countries as well as Arab Americans.
Sam, Sam-Ang, and Patricia Shehan Campbell. Silent Temples, Soulful Hearts: Traditional Music of Cambodia. World Music Press, 1998, 144 p. This book and companion CD present traditional music and culture of Cambodia, particularly how it is thriving today in communities outside Cambodia.
Santelli, Robert, Holly Warren-George, and Jim Brown, editors. American Roots Music New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001. 140 p. This companion to the PBS series explores the traditional roots of American popular music.
Schafer, Andrea. My Harvest Home: A Celebration of Polish Songs, Dances, Games, and Customs. Illus. by Peter Schafer. Danbury, Conn.: World Music Press, 1996. 76 p. plus cassette or CD. Explore traditions and music of several regions of Poland as well as Polish American communities. Features Polish and English lyrics, recipes, and folk arts projects.
Simons, Elizabeth Radin. Student Worlds, Student Words: Teaching Writing Through Folklore. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1990. 232 p. A teacher and folklorist, Simons offers background on contemporary folklore and detailed lesson plans for writing and folklore studies.
Sobel, David. Mapmaking with Children: Sense of Place Education for the Elementary Years. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1998. 164 p. Find highly creative and developmentally appropriate mapping lessons for K-8.
Thompson, Paul. The Voice of the Past: Oral History. New York: Oxford University Press, 3rd edition, 2000. 260 p. Oral historians regard this as an invaluable teacher resource.
Toelken, Barre. The Dynamics of Folklore. Logan: Utah State University Press, rev. ed., 1996. 439 p. A good basic textbook on folklore and cultural process useful for teachers and older students.
Wagler, Mark, Ruth Olson, and Anne Pryor. Teacher’s Guide to Local Culture and Kids’ Guide to Local Culture. Madison: Madison Children’s Museum and Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Culture, 2004, 70 p. and 139 p. Download free at http://csumc.wisc.edu/wtlc/?q=resources.
Zeitlin, Steven J., et al. A Celebration of American Family Folklore. Cambridge: Yellow Moon Press, 1982. 291 p. A full selection of family stories, customs, and photos for K-12 teachers to help students start family writing, oral history, and folklore projects.
Alliance for American Quilts www.quiltalliance.org recognizes quilts as works of art and pieces of history with stories to be documented and preserved. Find interviews with quilters and resources for preserving quilts and collecting stories.
American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress www.loc.gov/folklife has many digital collections useful in the classroom plus Folklife Resources for Educators, a portal to many free online curriculum guides.
American Folklore Society (AFS) Folklore and Education Section at www.afsnet.org publishes an annual newsletter for members, who may sign up for ten dollars without having to join AFS. The AFS Children’s Section awards the annual Aesop Prize and Aesop Accolades for English language books for children and young adults in which folklore is central and presented authentically. Find a list of past recipients at www.afsnet.org/?page=Aesop
Bullfrog Jumped in the Classroom www.alabamafolklife.org/content/bullfrog-classroom provides audio excerpts of children’s songs recorded in 1947 in an online guide for young children by Paddy Bowman and Marsha Weiner.
American Memory Learning Page http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu Teachers have designed lesson plans as part of their participation in an annual summer institute at the Library of Congress using the large online collections of the American Memory Project, which digitizes thousands of photographs, documents, and recordings.
American Routes http://amroutes.cc.emory.edu Folklorist Nick Spitzer, often an emcee for annual concerts honoring NEA Heritage Fellows, hosts this weekly public radio show on the traditional roots and routes of American pop music. Find an archive of past shows featuring interviews with noted roots musicians, including many National Heritage Fellows.
Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Culture http://csumc.wisc.edu supports the Network for Teachers of Local Culture and projects that show how deeply students can reflect about culture and themselves. See the Dane County Cultural Tour and Hmong Cultural Tour, which includes the free downloadable Teacher’s Guide to Local Culture and Kids’ Guide to Local Culture.
Crossroads of the Heart: Creativity and Tradition in Mississippi www.arts.state.ms.us/crossroads Find streaming audio, photographs of traditional music and crafts, a useful teacher’s guide, and an overview of the state’s traditional culture.
Culture in Context: A Tapestry in Expression www.njn.net/artsculture/cultureincontext features New Jersey folk artists and art forms organized in the themes of Home, Work, and Community.
Davenport Films www.davenportfilms.com Filmmaker Tom Davenport has produced and directed award-winning American adaptations of Grimm Brothers fairytales and folk arts documentaries useful for the classroom. Order films online, find teaching resources, and download a student guide to video production of fairytale adaptations.
Digital Traditions www.digitaltraditions.net offers South Carolina folk artist profiles from the McKissick Museum collection and online education guides such as Jubilation! African American Celebrations and Row Upon Row: Sea Grass Basketry.
Documentary Arts www.docarts.com Producer of Masters of Traditional Arts, this Dallas-based organization collects, presents and preserves historically and culturally significant people and places and provides educational resources and programming.
From Cambodia to Greensboro
www.greensborohistory.org/exhibits/cambodia/tour/tour.html is an online exhibit that traces the journey of Cambodians to Greensboro, North Carolina (see Suggested Student Readings for an accompanying book for grades 3-6).
Folkstreams www.folkstreams.net is a video-streaming site built as a national preserve of American folk culture documentaries and offers users extensive background materials for each film. A number of films feature Heritage Fellows. See especially the Educators Portal for lessons for higher grades.
Folkvine www.folkvine.org gives users video, audio, and text options to explore folk artists of Florida, including bobble-head dolls representing real-life scholars of the state’s traditional culture.
Iowa Folklife: Our People, Communities, and Traditions www.uni.edu/iowaonline/folklife is an award-winning online multimedia learning guide for all ages with excellent interviewing strategies. A new volume is at www.uni.edu/iowaonline/folklife_v2.
Louisiana Voices: An Educator’s Guide to Exploring Our Communities and Traditions www.louisianavoices.org Although written for Louisiana classrooms, this extensive guide is adaptable for any region and includes rational, evaluation strategies, student worksheets, fieldwork guidelines, and dozens of lessons in public domain.
Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education
www.LocalLearningNetwork.org advocates for inclusion of folk arts and artists nationwide. See especially the multimedia virtual artist residencies with five National Heritage Fellows. Also find a library of useful articles for teachers, including the 2009 CARTS Newsletter on the Art of Interviewing, plus links to regional resources and tools for engaging young people in fieldwork and folklore.
National Endowment for the Arts http://nea.gov/honors/heritage/index.html publishes National Heritage Fellows’ bios on the web site. Find ordering information for the National Heritage Fellows DVD-ROM and Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide here.
National Museum of the American Indian at www.nmai.si.edu features virtual exhibits and education guides on its Web site.
Public Broadcasting System www.pbs.org Find useful education guides related to traditional culture for teachers and students. Examples include several featuring Heritage Fellows: Mississippi River of Song, where students can investigate music and musicians from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico; Accordion Dreams which chronicles Tex-Mex conjunto music; and American Roots, a series on 20th century American traditional music.
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage www.folklife.si.edu has online exhibits, education guides, and interview tools such as Discovering Our Delta and the Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide. Find lesson plans for music from around the world found in Smithsonian Folkways Recordings www.folkways.si.edu under Tools for Teaching and many recordings by Heritage Fellows.
Vermont Folklife Center www.vermontfolklifecenter.org supports education through Discovering Community www.discoveringcommunity.org, which provides training and resources to educators, and a series of award-winning children’s books based on stories in the Center’s extensive archive (see suggested student readings).
Western Folklife Center www.westernfolklife.org is home of the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the site features many audio and video segments of the top cowboy poets and musicians and exhibits on western ranching life.
Wisconsin Folks www.wisconsinfolks.org teaches students about folk arts and artists of that state and provides examples of many genres and artists, from fish decoys to dance.
Folkstreams (www.folkstreams.net) is a web site dedicated to preserving folklore documentaries, offering a free video on-demand service. Among the films on the site are the following that feature National Heritage Fellows.
Nicholas Benson (2007), son of John “Fud” Benson, the stone carver featured in Final Marks.
Joe Thompson (2007) in Alan Lomax’s Appalachian Journey.
Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin (1986) in Cajun Country and Dry Wood
Dewey Balfa (1982) in Cajun Country, Cajun Visits, Homemade American Music, and Les Blues de Balfa
Sister Mildred Barker (1983) in The Shakers
Jerry Brown (1992) in Unbroken Tradition
Joseph Cormier (1984) in New England Fiddles
Elizabeth Cotten (1985) in Homemade American Music
Michael Doucet (2005), in Cajun Country
Conray Fontenot (1986) in Cajun Country, Cajun Visits, and Dry Wood
Ray Hicks (1983) in Appalachian Journey
Stanley Hicks (1983) in Appalachian Journey and Talking Feet
John Dee Holeman (1988) in Appalachian Journey and Talking Feet
Tommy Jarrell (1982) in Appalachian Journey, Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old and
Homemade American Music
Riley “B.B.” King (1991 ) in Give My Poor Heart Ease
Lily May Ledford (1985) in Homemade American Music
Alex Moore (1987) in Black on White, White and Black
Jack Owens (1993), in Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old and The Land Where the Blues Began
Irvan Perez (1991) in Mosquitoes and High Water
Adam Popovich (1982) in The Popovich Brothers
Almeda Riddle (1983) in Almeda Riddle: Now Let’s Talk about Singing
Saunders “Sonny” Terry (1982) in Sonny Terry: Shoutin’ the Blues and Sonny Terry: Whoopin’ the Blues
Othar Turner (1992) in Gravel Springs Fife and Drum, Made in Mississippi, and The Land Where the Blues Began
Cleofes Vigil (1984) in The Grand Generation
Nimrod Workman (1986) in The Grand Generation
Mike Seeger (2009) in Homemade American Music and Talking Feet (director)
Johnny Gimble (1994) in Gimble’s Swing
John Jackson (1986) in Blues Houseparty
Bill Monroe (1982) in Bill Monroe, Father of Blue Grass Music
Nikitas Tsimouris (1991) in Every Island Has Its Own Songs: The Tsimouris Family of Tarpon Springs
This bibliography suggests leisure reading and supplementary trade books for students in grades 4 through 12 to complement the Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide. The titles below offer many possibilities for making connections to material outlined in the guide. Suggested age levels (indicated following imprint information) are broad and may be extended upward or downward depending on particular school situations. In addition, several resources from the Folklore in Education Bibliography, such as Jan Harold Brunvand’s American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, are also appropriate for high school students. Librarians and teachers should add books from their own collections, using this list as a beginning point for recommendations rather than a finite product. Every effort has been made to ensure that the titles are still in print, although those that may not be available for purchase should be housed in many school and public libraries. The original dates of publication and imprint information are given. Many of these books are available in other editions.
Abelove, Joan. Go and Come Back. New York: DK Inc./Richard Jackson, 1998. 176 p. Middle School, High School
Akin, S. Beth. Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories. Illus. with photographs by the author. Boston: Little Brown, 1993. 96 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Appelt, Kathi and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer. Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky. New York: HarperCollins, 2001. 58 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Ashbranner, Brent K. and Paul Conklin. To Live in Two Worlds: American Indian Youth Today. Illus. with photographs by Paul Conklin. New York: Dutton, 1984. 149 p. Intermediate, Middle School, High School
Astroth, Kirk A. Spurrin’ the Words: 4-H Cowboy Poetry Youth Guide (78 p.) and Leader’s Guide (66 p.). Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development, 2004. Order with accompanying CD from www.montana4h.org. All grades.
Belton, Sandra. From Miss Ida’s Porch. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Four Winds, 1993. 40 p. Intermediate
Bial, Raymond. Cajun Home. Illus. with photographs by the author. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 48 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Blum, Joshua, Bob Holman, and Mark Pellington, compilers. The United States of Poetry. New York: Abrams, 1996. 176 p. High School
Branch, Muriel Miller. Juneteenth: Freedom Day. Photographs by Willis Branch. New York: Cobblehill/Dutton, 1998. 54 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Bridgers, Sue Ellen. Home Before Dark: A Novel. New York: Knopf, 1976. 192 p. Middle School, High School
Calhoun, Dia. Aria of the Sea. New York: Winslow, 2000. 264 p. Middle School, High School
Carmi, Daniella. Samir and Yonatan. New York: Scholastic, 2000. 183 p. Middle School
Chapman, Richard. The Complete Guitarist. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1993. 92 p. High School
Cheung, Shu Pui, Shuyuan Li, Aaron Chau, and Deborah Wei. 2004. Walking on Solid Ground. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Folklore Project, 2004. 64 p. In English and Chinese. Elementary, Intermediate
Congdon, Kristin. Uncle Monday and Other Florida Tales. Kitty Kitson Petterson, illus. University of Mississippi Press, 2001. 195 p. Intermediate, Middle School, High School
Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War. New York: Knopf, 1974. 272p. Middle School, High School
Cuyler, Margery. From Here to There. Illus. by Yu Cha Pak. New York: Holt, 1999. 32 p. Intermediate
Doney, Meryl. Baskets. New York: Watts, 1997. 32 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Doucet, Sharon Arms. Fiddle Fever. New York: Clarion, 2000. 164 p. Middle School
Dyson, Michael Eric. Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 218 p. High School
Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House. Illus. by the author. New York: Hyperion, 1999. 244 p. Intermediate
Ellis, Rex M. With a Banjo on My Knee: A Musical Journey from Slavery to Freedom. New York: Franklin Watts, 2001. 160 p. Middle School, High School
England, Linda. The Old Cotton Blues. Illus. by Teresa Flavin. New York: Margaret K. McElderry, 1998. 32 p. Intermediate
Garza, Carmen Lomas. Family Pictures. Illus. by the author. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press, 1990. 32 p. Intermediate
Glover, Savion, and Bruce Weber. Savion: My Life in Tap. New York: Morrow, 2000. 79 p. Intermediate, Middle School, High School
Gordon, Ruth, selector. Pierced by a Ray of Sun: Poems About the Times We Feel Alone. New York: HarperCollins, 1995. 105 p. Middle School, High School
Goss, Linda, and Clay Goss, editors. Jump Up and Say! A Collection of Black Storytelling. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. 301 p. High School
Govenar, Alan. African American Frontiers: Slave Narratives and Oral Histories. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2000. 551 p. Middle School, High School
Govenar, Alan. Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2006, 86 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Govenar, Alan, editor. Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter. Illus. by Shane W. Evans. New York: Hyperion, 2000. 64 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Govenar, Alan, ed. Stompin’ at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller. Illus. by Martin French. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2006, 56 p.Intermediate, Middle School
Granfield, Linda. 97 Orchard Street, New York. Illus. with photographs by Arlene Alda. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2001. 56 p. Intermediate, Middle School, High School
Grimes, Nikki. Aneesa Lee and the Weaver’s Gift. Illus. by Ashley Bryan. New York: Lothrop, 1999. Unpaged. Intermediate
Haas. Jessie. Will You, Won’t You? New York: Greenwillow, 2000. 167 p. Middle School
Hamill, Pete. Snow in August. Boston: Little, Brown, 1997. 327 p. High School
Hart, Elva Trevion. Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child. Tempe, Arizona: Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue, 1999. 236 p. High School
Haskins, James Black Dance in America: A History Through Its People. New York: Crowell, 1990. 232 p. Middle School, High School
Hicks, Ray, as told to Lynn Salsi. The Jack Tales. Illus. by Owen Smith. New York: Calloway, 2000. 40 p. Intermediate
Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders. New York: Viking, 1967. 188 p. Middle School, High School
Hurmence, Belinda, editor. Slavery Time When I Was Chillun. New York: Putnam, 1997. 96 p. Middle School, High School
Jabar, Cynthia, selector. Shimmy Shake Earthquake: Don’t Forget to Dance Poems. Illus. by the selector. Boston: Little Brown, 1992. Unpaged. Intermediate
Jiménez, Francisco. The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997. 134 p. Middle School, High School
Jones, Bill T. Dance. Illus. with photographs by Susan Kuklin. New York: Hyperion, 1998. 32 p. Intermediate, Middle School, High School
Landau, Elaine. Slave Narratives: The Journey to Freedom. Illus. with archival photographs. New York: Franklin Watts, 2001. 96 p. Intermediate, Middle School, High School
Lau, Barbara. From Cambodia to Greensboro: Tracing the Journeys of New North Carolinians. Greensboro: Greensboro Historical Museum, 2004. 36 p. Intermediate
Left Hand Bull, Jacqueline. Lakota Hoop Dancer. Illus. with photographs by Suzanne Haldane. New York: Dutton, 1999. 32 p. Intermediate
Lester, Julius. The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World. Illus. by Lisa Cohen. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001. 48 p. Intermediate
Lord, Bette Bao. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. Illus. by Marc Simont. New York: Harper Trophy, 1986. 169 p. Intermediate
Lyon, George Ella. Basket. Illus. by Mary Szilagyi. New York: Orchard, 1990. 32 p. Intermediate
Lyons, Mary E. Catching the Fire: Philip Simmons, Blacksmith. Illus. with photographs by Mannie Garcia. Boston: Houghton, 1997. 48 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Lyons, Mary E. Painting Dreams: Minnie Evans, Visionary Artist. Boston: Houghton, 1996. 84 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Lyons, Mary E. Starting Home: The Story of Horace Pippin, Painter. New York: Scribners, 1993. 42 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Lyons, Mary E. Stitching Stars: The Story Quilts of Harriet Powers. New York: Scribners, 1993. 42 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Lyons, Mary E. Talking with Tebé: Clementine Hunter, Memory Artist. Boston: Houghton, 1998. 48 p. Intermediate, Middle School
MacLachlan, Patricia. All the Places to Love. Illus. by Mike Wimmer. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. 32 p. Intermediate
Medearis, Angela Shelf and Michael Medaris. Dance. New York: Twenty-First Century Books, 1997. 80 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Meyer, Carolyn. White Lilacs. New York: Gulliver/Harcourt, 1993. 242 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Meyer, Carolyn. Where the Broken Heart Still Beats. New York: Gulliver/Harcourt, 1992. 197 p. Middle School, High School
Myers, Walter Dean. Monster. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. 281 p. Middle School, High School
Nance, Susanna. Sights. New York: Delacorte Press, 2001. 216 p. Middle School, High School
Oates, Eddie Herschel. Making Music: Six Instruments You Can Create. Illus. by Michael Koelsch. New York: HarperCollins, 1995. 32 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Orgill, Roxane. Shout, Sister, Shout! Ten Girl Singers Who Shaped a Century. New York: Atheneum, 2001. 144 p. Middle School, High School
Paker, Josephine. Beating the Drum. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press, 1992. 48 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Paterson, Katherine. Jacob Have I Loved. New York: HarperCollins, 1980. 216 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Peck, Richard. Long Way from Chicago. New York: Dial, 1998. 148 p. Middle School, High School
Pellowski, Anne. Hidden Stories in Plants. Illus. by Lynn Sweat. New York: Macmillan, 1990. 93 p. Intermediate, Middle School, High School
Press, David Paul. A Multicultural Portrait of America’s Music. Boston: Marshall Cavendish, 1994. 80 p. High School
Ray, Mary Lyn. Basket Moon. Illus. by Barbara Cooney. Boston: Little Brown, 1999. 32 p. Intermediate
Reagon, Bernice Johnson. We’ll Understand It Better By and By: Pioneering African American Gospel Composers. Washington: Smithsonian, 1992. 84 p. High School
Salisbury, Graham. Blue Skin of the Sea. New York: Delacorte, 1992. 215 p. Middle School, High School
Santiago, Esmeralda. Almost a Woman. Reading, Mass.: Perseus/Merloyd Lawrence, 1998. 313 p. High School
Shusterman, Neal. The Dark Side of Nowhere. Boston: Little Brown, 1997. 185 p. Middle School, High School
Slatta, Richard W. The Cowboy Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 1994. 474 p. Middle School, High School
Stewart, Sarah. The Gardener. Illus. by David Small. New York: Farrar, 1997. 32 p. Intermediate
Sullivan, Missy, Deborah Schwartz, Dawn Weiss, and Barbara Zaffran. The Native American Look Book: Art and Activities from the Brooklyn Museum. New York: The New Press, 1996. 46 p. Intermediate, Middle School, High School
Tamar, Erika. Blues for Silk Garcia. New York: Knopf, 1983. 155 p. Middle School, High School
Trice, Dawn Turner. Only Twice I’ve Wished for Heaven. New York: Crown, 1997. 304 p. High School
Voigt, Cynthia. Seventeen Against the Dealer. New York: Atheneum, 1989. 181 p. Middle School, High School
Waldman, Carl, and Molly Braun. Word Dance: The Language of Native American Culture. New York: Facts on File, 1994. 290 p. High School
Wells, Ken. Meely LaBauve: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2000. 244 p. High School
Williams, Sherley Anne. Working Cotton. Illus. by Carole M. Byard. San Diego: Harcourt, 1992. 32 p. Intermediate
Yee, Paul. Tales from Gold Mountain: Stories of the Chinese in the New World. Illus. by Simon Ng. New York: Macmillan, 1999. 64 p. Intermediate, Middle School
Yep. Laurence. Dragonwings. New York: HarperCollins, 1975. 248 p. Intermediate
Yin, Chamroeun. In My Heart, I Am a Dancer. Illus b René J. Marquez. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Folklore Project, 1996, 32 p. Find the online Teacher’s Guide at www.folkloreproject.org/programs/education/dancer. Elementary, Intermediate
Vermont Folklife Center Children’s Book Series
For more than twenty years, the mission of the Vermont Folklife Center has been to gather and record the voices and stories of Vermonters. An archive of more than 4,000 oral tales inspired the Vermont Folklife Center Children’s Book Series, which captures the color and spontaneity of the most unforgettable stories and preserves them for learning and enjoyment. Regional in origin, universal in nature, these true stories feature real people and real places, create history readiness for ages 6 to12, stimulate discussion with background information and learning activities, offer intergenerational appeal and encourage families to pass on their own stories.
Bruchac, Marge. 2005. Malian’s Song. Illus. William Maughan. August House.
Jaspersohn, William. 2002. The Scrimshaw Ring. Illus. Vernon Thornblad. August House.
Jaspersohn, William. 2000. The Two Brothers. Illus. Michael A. Donato. August House. NCSS Notable Book.
Lange, Willem. 2001. John and Tom. Illus. Bert Dodson. August House. Storytelling World Honor Book.
Medearis, Michael. 2000. Daisy and the Doll. Illus. Larry Johnson. University Press of New England. AFS Aesop Accolade.
Milord, Susan. 2003. The Ghost on the Hearth. Illus. Lydia Dabcovich. August House.
Walter, Mildred Pitts. 2004. Alec’s Primer. Illus. Larry Johnson. August House. NCSS Carter G. Woodson Honor Book.