A bilingual middle grade collection of playful folktales from Afro-Cuban tradition in side-by-side English and Spanish text, featuring ingenious human, animal and magical protagonists.
Did you know that fire first came from an old sorceress? Cuban folklore teaches us about how she selfishly kept it for herself, until two clever twin boys who “could play their drums as if they had magic in their hands” tricked the hechicera into sharing it with the world. Whether or not you grew up hearing the story of Obbara the Orisha, who gained his special power by appreciating even the humblest gift, or of the three resourceful baby herons who used their song Tin ganga o, tin ganga o, yo mama ganga reré to find their parents— this folktales collection will charm you with its humor, magic, and wisdom.
In this Aesop Prize-winning book, reformatted for middle grade readers, folklorist and storyteller Joe Hayes shares stories he learned after years visiting Cuba and listening to local storytellers. He first visited Holguín, Cuba, the sister city of his hometown, Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2001. He fell in love with the island and began to look for opportunities to meet and listen to Cuban storytellers, and to share the stories he knew from the American Southwest. He returned year after year, establishing a rich cultural exchange between U.S. and Cuban storytellers. Out of that collaboration came this fun collection of thirteen Cuban folktales. Joe gives context to the collection with an introduction and an all-important Note to Storytellers. In the Note, Joe goes over some of background of each of the tales included—what culture these stories originate from, some of the cultural meanings of elements in the stories, previous collections these stories have been included in, or other relevant storytelling and anthropological information.
This collection is a wonderful resource for anyone trying to learn about the unique blend of Spanish, African and Caribbean influences on Cuban culture; for intermediate students of Spanish or English; storytellers looking to expand their repertoire; or anyone who enjoys a good folktale. Have fun reading and re-telling these stories yourself!
“A captivating collection of thirteen folktales with influences from the Caribbean, Spain and Africa; Hayes has captured the essence and diversity of Cuba. Creation myths, legends and Pataki comprise this fascinating folktale anthology.”—REFORMA
Includes these 13 tales:
- Yams Don't Talk / Los ñames no hablan
- The Fig Tree / La mata de higo
- The Gift / El regalo
- Dance, Nana, Dance / Baila, Nana, Baila
- The Lazy Old Crows / Los viejos cuervos perezosos
- Pedro Malito / Pedro Malito
- Born To Be Poor / El que nace para pobre
- Young Heron's New Clothes / La ropa nueva del joven garza
- We Sing Like This / Nosotras cantamos así
- Buy Me Some Salt / Cómprame sal
- The Hairy Old Devil Man / El diablo peludo
- Compay Monkey and Comay Turtle / Compay Mono y Comay Jicotea
- You Can't Dance / No baila
- Notes to Readers and Storytellers
Watch Joe Hayes tell Dance, Nana, Dance in this free, online video, part of the Joe Hayes Storytelling Collection.
Joe Hayes’ bilingual Spanish-English tellings have earned him a celebrated place among America’s storytellers. He began sharing his stories in print in 1982. In 2005, Joe received the Talking Leaves Literary Award from the National Story telling Network, an award given to members of the story telling community who have made considerable and influential contributions to the literature of story telling. His books have received the Arizona Young Readers Award, two Land of Enchantment Children’s Book Awards, four IPPY Awards, a Southwest Book Award, a Skipping Stone Honor, an Aesop Prize, and an Aesop Accolade Award. They have been on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List twice, and his book Ghost Fever was the first bilingual book to win the Bluebonnet Award.
Mauricio Trenard Sayago was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1963. He was raised by his family and society to believe in the power of art to educate and transform the individual and society. This environment strongly influenced him. His goal is to use his work to simplify, exaggerate or change how we see our current realitites so that we can make the world a better place. Mauricio came to the United States in 2000 and lives in Brooklyn, making his living as an artist and using painting not only to create new images, but also to explore himself in his new cultural context.