Thursday, February 15, 2018

African-American Folktales: New resource for storytellers

If you're looking for a gift to mark Black History Month, look no further: The Annotated African American Folktales is a treasure trove for storytellers who want to draw on African and African-American folktales. More than 100 examples are collected and annotated here by a stellar pair of experts: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a scholar of African and African-American research, and Maria Tatar, who studies folklore and fairy tales. (You can read more about their unusual collaboration in this New York Times review.)

Each author provides an introduction that's a short course in how to approach these tales appropriately. They include in the collection now-controversial versions of African-American tales created by Walt Disney and others, since they, too, are now part of the canon. And they discuss how modern authors like Toni Morrison have adapted some of the African and African-American folktales in more modern work.

2018 is shaping up already as a great year for books with useful resources for speechwriters and public speakers interested in good storytelling. Be sure to add this volume to your bookshelf.

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