If my parents knew anything about my oddball, book-hungry childhood self, it was that I was always on the hunt for new folktale collections. The first ones I remember having are D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales, their covers rubbed soft from so much rereading. Later favorites were a collection of Japanese folktales, the Peter Christen Asbjárnsen and Járgen Moe Norwegian Folktales, and Inea Bushnaq’s Arab Folktales.
But although nobody gives me collections of folktales for holidays any longer (boo), I have never fallen out of love. Last year, Archipelago released a collection of Inea Busnaq’s translations from Najla Jraissaty Khoury’s Pearls on a Branch, Lebanese and Syrian folktales told by women. I bristled with glee as I read these stories. They delighted both me-as-adult (who understood them in a new way) and the me-as-young-reader who had loved Arab Folktales so much.
Folktale Week is celebrated November 4–11, and it’s a time for adults to fall back in love with traditional stories.
Tons of illustrators around the world are participating in #folktaleweek. In proper folktale style, it involves posting one work of art each day based on seven different prompts. (Indeed, in the end, perhaps, you win a castle! Your weight in gold! Or, perhaps, a wishing ring!)
1) Syrian Illustrator Nadine Kaadan
Nadine has published beautiful children’s books both in Arabic (Tomorrow, Answer Me Leila) and in English (The Jasmine Sneeze). Recently, she won the Arab British Centre prize. Judges noted “her moving stories celebrating the beauty of Syria, and championing representation of Middle Eastern characters.”
I’ve decided to join #FolktaleWeek2019!
I think the initiative is wonderful ❤ Especially as one of my goals is to write and illustrate stories that are inspired by our magical Syrian folktales 😍 pic.twitter.com/2CLhGLiY3x
— Nadine Kaadan (@Nadinekaadan) October 29, 2019
2) Salvadoran Artist and Illustrator Gabriela Larios
After a much needed break very happy to announce that I’m joining #folktaleweek2019 #folktaleweek #folktales #artlicensing #picturebooks #wallart #gouache #collageart #trees #birds https://t.co/HMm0pAsFHb pic.twitter.com/mcboWcVqOy
— Gabriela Larios (@GabrielaLarios1) October 29, 2019
3) English Writer/Illustrator Jomuer
Jomuer had some wonderful strange pieces for Inktober, and will now be joining Folktale Week.
— Jomuer (@jomuer) October 30, 2019
4) Russian Illustrator Ekaterina Boguslavskaya
— Bogus (@bogus_e) October 14, 2019
5) German-Born Australian Illustrator Katrin Dreiling
Dreiling’s World’s Worst Pirate, written by Michelle Worthington, was a Children’s Book Council of Australia “Notable Book 2018.”
— Katrin Dreiling (@dreiling_katrin) October 30, 2019
You can find thousands of posts on Instagram at #folktaleweek2019; it’s a chance to discover exciting new artists from around the world.