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(excerpts from posts)
(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain)

1) Stories to tell to children 9-12 years old
Aladdin and His Magic Lamp by Kathleen N. Daly and Lowell Hess.
The Bremen-Town Musicians (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Ruth Belov Gross.
The Dancing Kettle from THE DANCING KETTLE AND OTHER JAPANESE FOLK TALES, illustrated by Richard C. Jones and Yoshiko Uchida
Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling, retold by Lorinda Cauley.
Fisherman and His Wife
The Judge (Zemach)
Lazy Jack and other Jack Tales (The Jack Tales by Richard Chase)
Molly Whuppie
The Monkey and the Crocodile: A Jataka Tale from India by Paul Galdone.
The Snake Brothers
Sody Sallyraytus (Grandfather Tales by Richard Chase)
The Three Sillies by Steven Kellogg.
Why Dogs Hate Cats from The Knee-High Man and Other Tales (Picture Puffins by Julius Lester)

Why the Sea Is Salt and Other Stories (Creation Myths) by Margaret Mayo and Tony Ross.
Wicked John and the Devil by Richard Chase)
The Woman Who Flummoxed the Fairies by Heather Forest.
Also ethnics myths and legends such as African, Native American, Yiddish, etc., such as:
Anansi's Hat-Shaking Dance
Gizon's Counting Trip (Aardema's Tales For The Third Ear)
Also: American Tall-Tales such as:
John Henry
Johnny Appleseed
Paul Bunyan
Robin Hood

6th graders love The Story of Jumping Mouse (Caldecott Honor Books)(Seven Arrows)
The Mask
Learn to Write in the Sand
The Wooden Sword
Blind Man Catches a Bird from
Peace Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald); also found at

3) 7th grade ages are11-12; 8th grade ages are 12-13 years old. Noodlehead Stories by Martha Hamilton was The Great Hit!

4) The two things that seem to work with that age are either funny stories or GOOD scary stories. Urban legends or stories based on history can be fun, especially if you have some way of tying them to the kids (local stories, or stories that COULD be local, etc.).

5) Some stories are: Difference between Heaven and Hell, First Tears, Black Prince, Debate in Sign Language, The Wooden Sword, Jumping Mouse, Nasredin Stories.

6) Start with something bawdy: The Parrot's Prayer Answered (posted here a few years ago); The Tailor and his Wife; A Reason to Beat your Wife.

7) Diane Wolkstein's wonderful Haitian stories from The Magic Orange Tree: and Other Haitian Folktales. There are some gems for this age - e.g., Owl, Monkey Who Asked for Misery, the title story.

8) 7th graders like Ooka the Wise: Tales of Old Japan stories, The Teacher's Underwear from Arthur's Adventure's Four-Book Set (Arthur's Underwear, Arthur's TV Trouble, Arthur's Teacher Trouble, Arthur's Lost and Found), and any story where the ending is not predictable. When they chose stories to tell themselves, inevitably someone in each class would choose Godfather Death and The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

9) The harder-edged Jack stories or The Man With No Story; African dilemma stories with an explanation that they are used as training stories for debating really difficult issues in tribal societies. The ability to open one's mouth at the right time might save the tribe. Wonder tales still work wonders with older children. Something like The Three Golden Hairs of Grandfather All Know. Also Wonder tales where the girl characters get the boys out of trouble.

10) Spiders in the Hairdo. Also, the story about Charlie Parkhurst (the female who disguised herself as a man & worked as one of the best stage coach drivers in CA for the Wells Fargo Company). The Peddler's Dream works well for 7th grade. The Weeping Girl at the Dancing Place is also good for both grades.

Stories of Self Esteem for this age group

11) Owl from Dianne Wolkstien's The Magic Orange Tree: and Other Haitian Folktales.

12) Olode the Hunter and Other Tales from Nigeria, Harold Courlander, 1968 Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. NY. It is a Yoruba story, title in the book is Why No One Lends His Beauty, although I have always called it Shoye's Beauty.

13) Using Picture Storybooks to Teach Character Education: (Using Picture Books to Teach) by Susan Hall. Published by oryx press 2000..
The way I think about it, any story where a character exhibits these traits provides an opportunity to think about what creates self-esteem. Kids 9-12 have enjoyed picture books nominally geared to younger kids.... especially if there's an opportunity for discussion. Here are the character traits referenced.
Self Discipline

14) The Black Prince - the theme of this story is that some choices we make cannot be undone.
The Magic Brush. I have used this successfully with this age group. This is one of my favorite ones.
Indian Cinderella
The King's Hawk (Sometimes called The King's Falcoln)
The Wooden Sword
One Small Bird - also on my website.
There are 2 bibliographies on my website that may also be of help to you.

15) I would suggest Queen with a Cold Cold Heart from
Crazy Gibberish and Other Story Hour Stretches : From a Storyteller's Bag of Tricks by Naomi Baltuck for one of the stories. It's about 7-8 minutes easy to learn and full of audience participation.

16) My favorite story for this age group is The Teacher's Underwear, a story originally collected during the 30s by Jon Lee and Wolfram Eberhard for the WPA in the Chinatowns of San Francisco and Oakland. You can find a retelling of it in Tongues of Jade by Laurence Yep. The title alone is an attention-getter.

(This web page updated 12/3/05; 7/17/07)


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