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Traditional tales

In this section you will find traditional tales from around the world. Some of these you and your child may be familiar with and some may be new.

There are stories from all over the world including Europe, India, America and Africa. There are earlier versions of European tales from other cultures such as Cinderella of the Nile by Beverley Naidoo and Marjan Vafaeian set in Ancient Greece and Egypt.  There are fairy tales with a twist, playing with a well-known story such as Hansel and Gretel by Bethan Woollvin.

To enjoy the humour of these children will need to be familiar with the basic tale. Try to tell it to your child if you can. These stories are meant to be told and have been passed on from generation to generation and culture to culture by word of mouth.

Where possible we have included a video link or suggested version of the basic story in case you are unsure of it. You will also find new stories written in the style of fairy tales such as The Glassmaker’s Daughter by Dianne Hofmeyr and Jane Ray.

Here are a few useful collections of traditional stories:

Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales retold by Hilary McKay illustrated by Sarah Gibb

A Year Full of Stories by Angela McAllister Illustrated by Christopher Corr

The Story Tree by Hugh Lupton illustrated by Sophie Fatus

See also our top ten folk and fairy tales