World Folk Tales and Fables Week

March 17th marks the start of World Folk Tales and Fables Week 2019. In a Language Lizard post, we asked the question: What do folk tales, fables, myths and legends have to teach us? Here, we look at a few of our favorite multicultural folk tale characters that your little ones are sure to love.

World Folk Tales and Tables Week | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Mamy Wata

Mamy Wata illustration | World Folk Tales and Tables Week | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Mamy Wata is a beautiful African water spirit. Stories about her are known throughout Africa, and her traits and origin can vary from one story to the next. Often, Mamy Wata can bring a person good luck, but there’s an important catch: she has a dangerously jealous nature. All Mamy Wata tales emphasize the critical importance of water, and why people must care for it and treat it with respect.


Pinocchio illustration | World Folk Tales and Tables Week | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Pinocchio is an Italian character from the 1800s. He begins his existence as a wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy. He’s been featured in many different stories throughout the years, most notably in his own Disney film. But one aspect of his character remains constant: his nose will grow if he tells a lie. Pinocchio stories teach us about the consequences of good and bad behavior, and why honesty is the best policy.

Goose Fables

A page from the bilingual children's book Goose Fables | World Folk Tales and Tables Week | Multicultural Kid Blogs

There have been many kinds of goose fables in cultures throughout the world. The legendary Greek fabulist Aesop is said to have written about the goose that laid the golden eggs, perhaps as early as 4th century BC.

In stories, a goose often represents the potential for wealth and prosperity. Most goose fables teach us to be cautious about letting greed and immediate gratification deprive us of greater, long-term gain.

Lion Fables

Page from bilingual children's book Walking Through the Jungle

Fables about lions are common throughout the world. One of the most well-known is of the lion and the mouse – another story attributed to Aesop – which teaches us that kindness given is someday a kindness received.

In stories, lions represent strength, courage, and power. However, lion characters can also be used to teach us about the perils of overconfidence and ego.

What folk tale will you share during World Folk Tales and Fables Week? Comment below and tell us about it!


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Anneke Forzani founded Language Lizard ( to provide educators, librarians, and parents with resources that develop literacy skills among English Language Learners, build inclusive classrooms, and celebrate cultural diversity. Language Lizard offers bilingual books in over 50 languages, multilingual audio resources, multicultural posters, and free lesson plans to support multicultural classrooms. The company also runs a blog ( for parents and teachers working with language learners and culturally diverse students. Anneke is the author of Building Bridges with Bilingual Books and Multicultural Resources (a manual to support culturally responsive teaching) and With Flying Colors: Color Idioms (a multicultural idiom book).
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