Thursday, May 10, 2007

Gonna Go Back in Time

Today, we revisit the 1993 winners of the Aesop Accolades. Since 1993, the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society has awarded the Aesop Prize and Aesop Accolades to books that are either folktales or that prominently feature folktales within the book. Here are three of the books chosen for the Accolades designation:

I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have picked up Surtsey: The Newest Place on Earth had I not started this project. Lengthy picture books about volcanic eruptions are usually not my first choice of reading. But there it was on the Aesop list....a book about a volcano eruption? What did that have to do with folklore? And the author is Kathryn Lasky....

Surtsey: The Newest Place on Earth is a chronicle of an island off the coast of Iceland. In November of 1963, something began rumbling deep under the ocean. Suddenly, lava exploded, and an island was formed.

Through animated prose and impressive close up pictures, we learn about the danger of newly erupted volcanoes, the naming of the island, and its general formation. Excerpts from The Prose Edda, a 13th century Icelandic epic, introduce each chapter.

The Green Gourd also won an Aesop Accolade in 1993. I have a fondness for Southern folklore; many tales have a humor and zaniness that make them great selections for young audiences. When an old lady picks an unripe gourd, a ton of mischief follows her way. If you're looking for a folktale for a preschool or kindergarten audience, take a look at this one.

Finally, we have Sundiata: Lion King of Mali, also a 1993 Aesop Accolade awardee. Sundiata had a rough start in life; he couldn't speak and he couldn't walk. However, he was named his father's heir. Exile and overrule didn't stop him from claiming his rightful place as king of Mali. David Wisniewski's rollicking prose and amazing cut-paper illustrations make this a great read aloud for elementary grades.

In the next post, we revisit the 1972, 1974, and the 1981 winners of the Mildred Batchelder award.

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