African Folk TalesWay of Communicating
There is a rich, fertile legacy of folklore from Africa. On this vast continent, folk tales and myths serve as a means of handing down traditions and customs from one generation to the next. The storytelling tradition has thrived for generations because of the absence of printed material. Folk tales prepare young people for life, as there are many lessons to be learned from the tales. Because of the history of this large continent, which includes the forceful transplanting of the people into slavery on other continents, many of the same folk tales exist in North America, South America, and the West Indies. These are told with little variation, for the tales were spread by word of mouth and were kept among the African population.
In addition to the folk tales, there are myths, legends, many proverbs, tongue twisters, and riddles.
Use of Nature
In the African folk tales, the stories reflect the culture where animals abound; consequently, the monkey, elephant, giraffe, lion, zebra, crocodile, and rhinoceros appear frequently along with a wide variety of birds such as the ostrich, the secretary bird, and the eagle. The animals and birds take on human characteristics of greed, jealousy, honesty, loneliness, etc. Through their behavior, many valuable lessons are learned. Also, the surroundings in which the tales take place reveal the vastness of the land and educate the reader about the climate, such as the dry season when it hasn't rained for several years, or the rainy season when the hills are slick with mud. The acacia trees swaying in a gentle breeze, muddy streams that are home to fish, hippos and crocodiles, moss covered rocks, and giant ant hills that serve as a "back scratcher" for huge elephants, give the reader a sense of the variety of life in this parched or lush land in this part of the world.
Latin American Folktales
In Latin American folktales, children of Latin decent will be introduced to characters who reflect their own diverse culture. All children need strong role models to give them a broader perspective and validate their experiences .
Latin American literature has a long and rich tradition that reaches back to the Colonial period and is filled with remarkable writers too little known in the English-speaking world. The short story has been a central part of this tradition, from Fray Bartolome de las Casas' narrative protests against the Spanish Conquistadors' abuses of Indians, to the world renowned Ficciones of Jorge Luis Borges, to the contemporary works of such masters as Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Rosario Ferre, and others.