A Story, A Story

  • Title: A Story, A Story: An African Tale
  • Author: Gail E. Haley
  • Illustrator: Gail E. Haley
  • Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
  • Publication year: 1970
  • Brief Summary: From Amazon: “Long, long ago there were no stories on earth for children to hear. All stories belonged to Nyame, the Sky God. Ananse, the Spider man, wanted to buy some of these stories, so he spun a web up to the sky to bargain with the Sky God. The price the Sky God asked was Osebo, the leopard-of-the-terrible-teeth, Mmboro the hornet-who-stings-like-fire, and Mmoatia the fairy-whom-men-never-see. Can Ananse capture these sly creatures and give the children of earth stories to tell?”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – Much like I said in my last post on Snow White, a folktale/fairy tale from another culture is instructional to teach to children. In this African folktale, the story is being told by Kwaku Ananse to African children in his village, and the story is about him and how he gained the stories from the Sky God. This is a diverse story, not one rooted in Western ideology or culture. However, as this book was published in 1970, I do not know if it could still be used in the library today. The foremost reason being that now there are being published more books by diverse authors and for a diverse audience. And that a book published this long ago might now be necessary to weed (this brings up a good question on weeding, such as for the Dr. Seuss books).
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. – I will say, I did enjoy the illustrations in this box. The illustrations are rendered in bright colors, bright pinks, greens, yellows, blues and purples abound. There is a lot of interesting texture, shapes and patterns within the illustrations as well. The style makes me wonder if Haley took time to study African illustrations and art and if she (as a white woman) spent time with African peoples to learn the stories from them specifically.

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