Join the Illustrators Participating in #FolktaleWeek2019

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M. Lynx Qualey

Staff Writer

M. Lynx Qualey is the founder of, a website that brings together translators, authors, publishers, critics, academics, and readers around discussions of Arabic literature in translation. She works as a book critic, reader, editor, and ghostwriter. You can follow her at @arablit.

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. 

By Salvadorean artist and illustrator Gabriela Larios.

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.”

2) Salvadoran Artist and Illustrator Gabriela Larios

Larios does design, textiles, and also children’s books. You can find some of her lovely work at her website.

3) English Writer/Illustrator Jomuer

Jomuer had some wonderful strange pieces for Inktober, and will now be joining Folktale Week.

4) Russian Illustrator Ekaterina Boguslavskaya

Moscow-based Boguslavskaya does concept art and illustration. You can find her work on Twitter, Behance, and Instagram.

5) German-Born Australian Illustrator Katrin Dreiling

Dreiling’s World’s Worst Piratewritten by Michelle Worthington, was a  Children’s Book Council of Australia “Notable Book 2018.”

You can find thousands of posts on Instagram at #folktaleweek2019; it’s a chance to discover exciting new artists from around the world.