website statistics Black Folktales - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Black Folktales

Availability: Ready to download

Twelve remarkable folktales, culled from the black experience in Africa and America, are freshly retold in the thoroughly original voice of Julius Lester. Arranged by topic — Origins, Love, Heroes, and People — the tales combine universal themes and uncanny wisdom. Though some of these stories have been around for centuries and many were passed down by slaves, Julius Leste Twelve remarkable folktales, culled from the black experience in Africa and America, are freshly retold in the thoroughly original voice of Julius Lester. Arranged by topic — Origins, Love, Heroes, and People — the tales combine universal themes and uncanny wisdom. Though some of these stories have been around for centuries and many were passed down by slaves, Julius Lester's urban expressiveness and Tom Feeling's spirited illustrations give them continued resonance for today's audience.


Compare

Twelve remarkable folktales, culled from the black experience in Africa and America, are freshly retold in the thoroughly original voice of Julius Lester. Arranged by topic — Origins, Love, Heroes, and People — the tales combine universal themes and uncanny wisdom. Though some of these stories have been around for centuries and many were passed down by slaves, Julius Leste Twelve remarkable folktales, culled from the black experience in Africa and America, are freshly retold in the thoroughly original voice of Julius Lester. Arranged by topic — Origins, Love, Heroes, and People — the tales combine universal themes and uncanny wisdom. Though some of these stories have been around for centuries and many were passed down by slaves, Julius Lester's urban expressiveness and Tom Feeling's spirited illustrations give them continued resonance for today's audience.

30 review for Black Folktales

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    This is an excellent collection of classic folktales, respectfully told, though with a dash of late sixties influence added to the writing. There are stories about Love, Heroes, and Origins, like "How God Made the Butterflies" and "How the Snake Got His Rattles." I liked the author's depiction of God as a portly man, perched in his rocker, chomping on a big cigar. He is also apparently pretty grumpy before he has his morning coffee. Though folktales are usually meant for children, these stories a This is an excellent collection of classic folktales, respectfully told, though with a dash of late sixties influence added to the writing. There are stories about Love, Heroes, and Origins, like "How God Made the Butterflies" and "How the Snake Got His Rattles." I liked the author's depiction of God as a portly man, perched in his rocker, chomping on a big cigar. He is also apparently pretty grumpy before he has his morning coffee. Though folktales are usually meant for children, these stories are not really aimed at the younger set. In "The Old Man Who Wouldn't Take Advice," an elderly man recently wed to a very young woman loses his, ahem, "mojo." (These were the days before little blue pills, and the miraculously curative power of separate bathtubs at sunset.) "Stagolee" was my favorite story. (You've probably heard the song. I grew up with the Lloyd Price version - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO8siB....) This is a great tale. Just like in the song, Billy pleads, "Don't shoot me. Please, Mr. Stagolee! I got two children and a wife to support." Stagolee's chilling answer is, "Well, that's all right. The Lawd'll take care of your children. I'll take care of your wife." True to his word, immediately after shooting Billy, Stagolee heads to Billy's house, and tells Mrs. Billy that her husband is dead, and that he is moving in. She actually seems okay with that. "Stack" proves to be invincible when the new sheriff rounds up the Ku Klux Klan Alumni Association, which was every white man in four counties, and attempts to lynch him. He even manages to outwit Death, who is worn out from making so many trips to Vietnam. I also learned I'd rather end up in Hell with Stagolee, enjoying barbecue and the blues, than up in Heaven with the harp music and hymn singing. Maybe you'd care to join us?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Reese

    See images on my blog post "Re-reading Black Folktales by Julius Lester (1939- 2018)" http://folkloreandliteracy.com/2018/0... 3.5 stars I read these 12 re-tellings of African and Afro-American folktales for nostalgia's sake. This book first came to my attention as a child in the 1970s. I read the old edition with it's beautiful illustrations by the late Tom Feelings. Storyteller/author Julius Lester (b.1939) was a folk singer during the Civil Rights Movement and went on to write books for childre See images on my blog post "Re-reading Black Folktales by Julius Lester (1939- 2018)" http://folkloreandliteracy.com/2018/0... 3.5 stars I read these 12 re-tellings of African and Afro-American folktales for nostalgia's sake. This book first came to my attention as a child in the 1970s. I read the old edition with it's beautiful illustrations by the late Tom Feelings. Storyteller/author Julius Lester (b.1939) was a folk singer during the Civil Rights Movement and went on to write books for children, as well as adolescents and adults, eventually authoring more than 44 books, becoming a college professor, and converting to Judaism. With this book, Lester re-wrote the folktales for children of the late 1960s, so if you weren't around then you might not understand some of the vernacular Lester employs that was common in a lot of black communities during that time, i.e. saying “split” for leave, and referencing the Black Power movement, etc. My favorites are “How God made Butterflies,” “Why Apes Look Like People,” and “Stagolee.” Lester’s 1969 Stagolee is a baad mutha….. who ain’t afraid of white folks, who is so invincible, so strong, so fearless - that he even manages to stay alive 30 years longer than he’s supposed to! - attracting the attention of Heaven. I won’t give away what it takes to finally get him dead and buried, but I will share this excerpt of what happened after he rose up out of his grave and found St. Peter: "“You ain’t getting in here!” St. Peter yelled. “Don’t want to, either. Hey man. Where all the colored folks at?” “We had to send ‘em all to Hell. We use to have quite a few, but they got to rocking the church service, you know. Just couldn’t even sing a hymn without it coming out and sounding like the blues. So we had to get rid of ‘em. We got a few nice colored folks left. And they nice, respectable people.” Stagolee laughed. “Hey man. You messed up.” “Huh?” “Yeah, man. This ain’t Heaven. This is Hell. Bye.” And Staglolee took off straight for Hell." (Every time I read this section I bust out laughing!) I must mention here that I feel a great appreciation and gratitude for Julius Lester for being the author of children’s books - nearly 50 years ago when it was even less common - that allowed black children like myself to see our culture celebrated and know that storytelling was a part of our history and heritage. He dedicated Black Folktales “In memory of Zora Neale Hurston, who made me glad I am me, and to H. Rap Brown.” Some of the tales Lester re-tells in this book were from Hurston’s Mules and Men, but in 1969 Mules and Men was out of print, and Alice Walker had yet to renew and educate a new generation about Hurston’s work. The artist Tom Feelings (1933-2003) created wondrous illustrations for this book and many others, including The Middle Passage: White Ships Black Cargo, Lester’s To Be a Slave, and Maya Angelou’s Now Sheba Sings the Song. Both of these black men were Newberry and Coretta Scott King Award winners.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Agnė

    My expectations were not high, but I ended up really liking these tales, especially the ones in the ORIGINS section ("How God Made the Butterflies," "Why Apes Look Like People," "Why Men Have to Work," and "How the Snake Got His Rattles"). Julius Lester is one helluva storyteller! However, I still cannot sort out my feelings towards "heroic" Stagolee, "the baddest nigger that ever lived" (75), who kept killing people left and right, pulled a gun on Death and eventually took over Hell. Admittedly, My expectations were not high, but I ended up really liking these tales, especially the ones in the ORIGINS section ("How God Made the Butterflies," "Why Apes Look Like People," "Why Men Have to Work," and "How the Snake Got His Rattles"). Julius Lester is one helluva storyteller! However, I still cannot sort out my feelings towards "heroic" Stagolee, "the baddest nigger that ever lived" (75), who kept killing people left and right, pulled a gun on Death and eventually took over Hell. Admittedly, certain word choices and racist jokes in this book made me quite uncomfortable. I usually prefer shocking and thought-provoking over predictable and safe, but when it comes to political correctness, I feel like a fish out of water.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cara Byrne

    "That was long ago, and no one now remembers what word it was that the young witch doctor knew that could make people fly. But who knows? Maybe one morning someone will awake with a strange word on his tongue, and uttering it, we will al stretch out our arms and take to the air, leaving these blood-drenched fields of our misery behind" (152). Lester brings largely orally-shared black folktales to print, adding his own flair and creativity to the process. I read this book, written in 1969, alongs "That was long ago, and no one now remembers what word it was that the young witch doctor knew that could make people fly. But who knows? Maybe one morning someone will awake with a strange word on his tongue, and uttering it, we will al stretch out our arms and take to the air, leaving these blood-drenched fields of our misery behind" (152). Lester brings largely orally-shared black folktales to print, adding his own flair and creativity to the process. I read this book, written in 1969, alongside his more recent adaptation of Joel Chandler's Uncle Remus tales, and found these to be slightly more engaging, though also for an older audience. Dedicated to Zora Neale Hurston, who Lester states "made me glad I am me," this collection is important in black folktale history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    Oh.  My.  God.  This collection of folktales is the best that I've ever read.  Seriously.  I don't remember the last time I felt compelled to share every single last tale from a compilation to my coworkers.  Like, there were so many great things in this book.  Mrs. God?  Death being afraid of a human?  God warning Mr. Rabbit to hide out in the 1960s?  An enslaved person straight up murdering their master?  Oh, man.  These were too good.   These tales, however, have a seriously political slant, gi Oh.  My.  God.  This collection of folktales is the best that I've ever read.  Seriously.  I don't remember the last time I felt compelled to share every single last tale from a compilation to my coworkers.  Like, there were so many great things in this book.  Mrs. God?  Death being afraid of a human?  God warning Mr. Rabbit to hide out in the 1960s?  An enslaved person straight up murdering their master?  Oh, man.  These were too good.   These tales, however, have a seriously political slant, given that this collection was published in 1969.  However, while that may mean it's too political for some folks (as though folk tales aren't political), it also means that they're so funny.  There are jokes in there, there's real, legitimate criticism in there.  "He was as blind as a white person to racism" is a real, actual sentence in one of those folk tales.  They're just...incredible.   If you're interested in reading more literature by black folks, this is a good place to start!  Short, sweet, and utterly radical. Review cross-listed here!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Langston Clark

    This book was one the my favorite childhood books. I recently selected it as the text for book club, hopefully it will spark some good conversation among adults. Even though it is a "children's book" there is some insightful political commentary and satire from the Civil Rights and Black Power Eras. This book was one the my favorite childhood books. I recently selected it as the text for book club, hopefully it will spark some good conversation among adults. Even though it is a "children's book" there is some insightful political commentary and satire from the Civil Rights and Black Power Eras.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Carrabis

    I have no idea what this book is about. It was published in 1969 and that, perhaps, explains some of its content. I have no experience of the black american experience and that, perhaps, explains my ignorance. Even as a cultural anthropology read, I found it a strange, bizarre read. My loss, I’m sure.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Found this in a Little Free Library and it was a cool slice of the 1960s.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Luke Reynolds

    A strong introduction to Black folktales, told by a powerful and engaging voice.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hazel

    3.5

  11. 4 out of 5

    LT

    These stories made me think, laugh, and reflect. I enjoyed reading these short tales.

  12. 5 out of 5

    James Broadfoot

    Read for children's lit 501 ! Read for children's lit 501 !

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Folktales are like stage performances: done and redone so often, the particular(re)interpretation we happen to catch becomes our personal reference point. Julius Lester is, for me, the consummate performer. His voice and the sly political and social commentary he weaves into these tales make them vivid for each generation -- despite the fact that this volume was published 45 years ago. Note to the uninitiated: For more of this virtuoso storyteller's voice --his literal voice-- make the effort to Folktales are like stage performances: done and redone so often, the particular(re)interpretation we happen to catch becomes our personal reference point. Julius Lester is, for me, the consummate performer. His voice and the sly political and social commentary he weaves into these tales make them vivid for each generation -- despite the fact that this volume was published 45 years ago. Note to the uninitiated: For more of this virtuoso storyteller's voice --his literal voice-- make the effort to track down the audio version of Julius Lester retelling the Uncle Remus tales, too. You're welcome.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Read it as a kid in 4th grade and later as an adult. First place I ever heard of Stagolee. Stagolee was so bad he pulled a gun on Death, was killed personally by God with a thunderbolt and when he went to hell he took over.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicole G.

    Short folk tales

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diane Carter

    I haven't read this yet. I am buying this for my grand children. I am sure they will love it. I haven't read this yet. I am buying this for my grand children. I am sure they will love it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jerome Pritchard

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shushan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Annette

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  21. 4 out of 5

    alex kapsidelis

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jacara Brown

  23. 4 out of 5

    Yasmin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emmie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fabrizio Lacarra

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ed

  28. 4 out of 5

    Clare Wojda

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shekinah

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...