World Folktales & Fables Week
March 19, 2018 • By Michelle Ioannou


Five Favorite Folktales From Around the World


Reading folktales is a great way to share valuable lessons with your children and entertain them with interesting stories. With simple characters and settings, folktales show how characters use creativity, smarts, and ingenuity to solve problems, with good triumphing over evil.

World Folktales and Fables Week is celebrated each year during the third week of March (March 18-24 in 2018). This is a great time to enjoy a good folktale. Use #WorldFolktales on social media to spread the word about your favorite world folktales!

If you are supporting language learners, consider reading bilingual folktales from around the world. Bilingual fables have the added benefit of encouraging children to practice a second language while teaching them about other cultures.

Below, we share some popular bilingual folktales from around the world to enjoy. Read to the end and you will find out about a special discount on bilingual fables to celebrate World Folktales & Fables Week!


Yeh-Hsien a Chinese Cinderella 

This bilingual book is a new spin on the classic story of Cinderella. Yeh-Hsien lives a less than desirable life, and her only friend is the fish that lives in the pond near her house. One day, her evil stepmother kills the fish, but Yeh-Hsien discovers that the fish’s bones are magical. She wishes for a new dress to wear to the Spring Festival, but when she must leave the festival in a hurry her golden shoe slips off her foot. The king finds it, and searches for the woman who left it behind.

Available in English with Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Kurdish, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.


Lion Fables

This book comes with two bilingual fables. The first one, titled The Lion and the Mouse, teaches children why it is important not to judge anyone too quickly. The lion in the story decides not to eat the mouse because the mouse says that one day he could possibly save the lion’s life. The lion’s decision pays off when he later gets stuck in a hunter’s net, and the mouse spends all night chewing through the net to free the lion, saving his life.

The second story, a Malaysian fable called The Hare’s Revenge, is the story of a hare who uses his cleverness to trick a lion into a trap. The hare makes use of the lion’s vanity and jealousy to escape with his life.

Available in English with Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, French, Lithuanian, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.


The Giant Turnip

This story, based on the Russian Fable The Enormous Turnip, teaches young children about cooperation and perseverance. The author tells us the story of a huge turnip that Miss Honeywood’s class is trying to get out of the ground. Together, they are finally able to do it, but it takes some rope, a little strength, and (most importantly) teamwork.

Available in English with Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Czech, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu and Yoruba.


Buri and the Marrow 
This intriguing story follows Buri on a journey to visit her daughter and back home again. She and her daughter must come up with a clever plan to enable her to avoid being eaten by the fox, tiger, and lion she encounters on her travels. This is a fun and silly read for children of all ages.

Available in English with Albanian, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, Gujarati, Panjabi, Polish, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.


Fox Fables

This wonderful bilingual children’s book includes two fables. The first, The Fox and the Crane, is about sneaky Fox who makes it hard for Crane to eat dinner by feeding Crane (who has a large beak) from a short and shallow bowl. Crane then teaches Fox a lesson by giving him a tall and narrow bowl so that Fox cannot reach his dinner. The story ends with the lesson that we must treat others the way we want to be treated.

The second story, the Chinese fable The King of the Forest, addresses the question of whether intelligence or strength is more important. Fox tricks Tiger into thinking that Fox is king of the forest because all the animals cower in fear when the two of them walk by, but Tiger does not realize the power of Fox’s fearsome cleverness.

Available in English with Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Farsi, French, Scottish-Gaelic, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Kurdish, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese and Yoruba.


Language Lizard is offering a special 10% discount on some favorite folktales for World Folktales and Fables Week. Use code WFF2018 to get a 10% discount on The Giant Turnip, Yeh Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella, and The Dragon’s Tears. Discount code valid through the end of March 2018.

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 & book sets, 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.