The Best Folktale Books for Kids of 2021

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Folktales are great for introducing kids to literature. Most of them are timeless and have been passed from generation to generation. We understand how difficult it can be to find books with the best folktales for kids. In this post, we collected the best books, some of which include classic folktales, while others may be new to you. You will find eight books with children folklore stories composed by famous authors and recommended by teachers, parents, and, most importantly, kids. You will also find useful tips that will help you get an excellent child-appropriate folktales book.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for folktale books for kids here.
Our Top Favorite
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales: The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea and many more classic stories
Our Top Runner Up
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Our Top Value Pick
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Book Title
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales: The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea and many more classic stories
Book Title
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Book Title
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Book Title
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

Our Favorites for Best Folktale Books for Kids

An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales

Many generations grew up reading these tales, and they seem timeless. This edition of Andersen’s fairy tales was beautifully illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova. Kids of all ages and adults will appreciate the artwork on every page that accompanies the stories. The book is appropriate for children, and mermaids wear enough clothing.

Why Choose this Book:

  • The stories are just the perfect length for toddlers to sit and listen, and for younger kids not to get tired of reading them.
  • The illustrations are diverse. Some pages have no text, and some have no more than two paragraphs. But every spread will hold kids’ attention.

What Makes this Book Unique:

  • Andresen is famous for many tales, and in this edition, you will find eight most popular ones.
  • Bright, colorful artwork attracts children even more than smartphones.

Last update: 2021-08-31


Five-minute Stories: Over 50 Tales and Fables by Cottage Door Press

It doesn’t matter if you will be reading to your child or the kid will be reading it, this book is a must-have for toddlers and young children. These very short folktales will hold the kid’s attention as they are literary 5 minutes long. Perfect for bedtime, trips, or just any time.

Why Choose this Book:

  • There are many classic fairy tales from different countries like Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Aladdin, Cinderella, The Nightingale.
  • You will be surprised by the vivid and diverse pictures drawn by illustrators from all over the world.

What Makes this Book Unique:

  • The stories are written not to overwhelm kids, and they are not as detailed as some adults may expect. But if you are looking for short bedtime tales or want to introduce your children to folklore, this picture book is perfect.
  • This book is adorable. You will receive a bookmark ribbon with the book to remember where you left off. There is also a name shield on the first page. The hardcover is padded and soft. The edges are gold-gilded.
On Sale
Five-minute Stories: Over 50 Tales and Fables
  • Hardcover Book
  • Cottage Door Press (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Even though it is a fantasy book about a 12-year-old boy, it is one of the bestselling folktale books for middle school. You can use it to learn myths and legends in a fun, easy way.

The main character Percy discovers that his father is Poseidon, the Greek god. The boy is falsely accused of having stolen a sword of another god, and he has to clear his name.

Why Choose this Book:

  • The book has a great storyline and, at the same time, teaches about Greek and Roman gods and mythology.
  • The book is written in clear and children-appropriate language as the author has written this book for his son.

What Makes this Book Unique:

  • Mythology lessons are well blended in the plot and won’t let you put the book down.
  • Many middle school teachers recommend this book to introduce kids to folktales.
On Sale
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
  • Hyperion Kids
  • Riordan, Rick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Runner Ups for Best Folktale Books for Kids

The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola

This book retells one of the old Indian legends about a Native American girl. The girl’s tribe is suffering from having no rain, and only she can help by sacrificing the last memories of her family. She agrees and saves the tribe from the drought.

Why Choose this Book:

  • This book is beautifully illustrated, and the pictures’ style reminds ancient drawings.
  • The story is excellent for establishing a connection with heritage and introduce kids to Native American legends and culture.

What Makes this Book Unique:

  • It teaches that even a child can become a hero by committing a selfless act without using swords or muscle.
  • The legend is sad but, at the same time, inspiring and heartwarming. It may be a good idea to leave this book for children above 7-8 years old.
On Sale
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
  • Puffin
  • dePaola, Tomie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema

This African tale is about a small mosquito that causes a disaster in a jungle. The mosquito tells a lie to the iguana, and then the lie spreads around the forest and causes a chain of unfortunate events that end in a branch breaking and a little owlet dying. The forest stands in darkness because mourning Mother Owl refuses to call up the sun.

Why Choose this Book:

  • It is a folk tale with a powerful moral. It teaches about the damaging consequences of small thoughtless actions, including lie and how they affect others.
  • The colorful illustrations support the story. The animals show different emotions from confusion to sorrow and fury.

What Makes this Book Unique:

  • The author tells the legend in a dramatic and, at the same time, funny way. This folktale book is a Caldecott Medal winner.
  • The story is an excellent source of discussion topics. Note that there is a death of an animal involved, and it may upset younger readers or raise questions about death.
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale
  • Puffin Books
  • Aardema, Verna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables

This collection of Aesop’s Fables is fully illustrated by Don Daily and includes 20 classic fables like The Fox and the Crow, The Lion and the Mouse, The Tortoise and the Hare. Most of these fables that have been passed by generations are only a few pages long, including pictures on almost every page. All characters are animals that have their own stories and teach you valuable lessons about everyday life.

Why Choose this Book:

  • Each fable has a moral highlighted at the end. This approach helps you understand the meaning of each story and start discussions.
  • The text is very kid-friendly, and the words are not too large. Children can easily read this book without parents’ help.

What Makes this Book Unique:

  • The strength of this book is in its illustrations that are vibrant and colorful. Some of them cover a whole page or even a spread, enhancing each story and adding personalities to the characters.
  • There are many anthologies of Aesop’s fables. For children we highly recommend the one illustrated by Don Daily. It only comes in a hardcover and is very affordable. It is not a full collection of Aesop’s fables but is made with kids in mind.
On Sale
The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables
  • Courage Books
  • Hardcover Book
  • Aesop (Author)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Value Picks for Best Folktale Books for Kids

Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

This gorgeous folklore collection by Grimm Brothers is the fullest available. You will find popular tales like Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Rapunzel, The Seven Ravens, and many more. The stories are original and sometimes different from the Disney versions. They don’t necessarily have happy endings and can be darker than you remember but also more exciting.

Why Choose this Book:

  • The printed copy of the book looks at least two hundred years old. It has a burgundy leather cover, gold-gilded edges, ribbon bookmark, medium-sized silky pages with comfortable to read font.
  • You get 201 tales, ten legends, and an introduction that tells you about Grimm Brothers for a very reasonable price. This book is a fantastic addition to any library.

What Makes this Book Unique:

  • The Kindle version is very affordable, and you can access stories from the table of contents by merely clicking on the tale title.
  • The tales are in their most original versions, and while they are appropriate for teenagers and adults, you may want to read them yourself before giving to younger kids. Note that the book is unillustrated.
On Sale
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
  • Great product!
  • Hardcover Book
  • Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm (Author)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection by Matt Dembicki

It is the first American folklore book in a graphic novel format. Dembicki collected 21 tales that center around a mischievous trickster who changes into different animals and enjoys playing tricks. Some of the stories are written comically and will entertain you. Other tales are very realistic and even dramatic and teach you valuable lessons.

Why Choose this Book:

  • Each of the 21 stories was written by a different Native American writer and illustrated by a different artist.
  • The graphic novel format is appealing to adults and especially to kids. The text is easily readable, and the heavy glossy pages are made of high-quality paper.

What Makes this Book Unique:

  • These folk tales with morals introduce readers to the beliefs, worldview, and culture of many Native American tribes across North America in a very authentic way.
  • At the end of the book, you will find short information about the contributors and the process of creating the anthology.
Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection
  • Fulcrum Group
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 232 Pages - 06/01/2010 (Publication Date) - Chicago Review Press - Fulcrum (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


These eight books are all great, but they cover folktales from different countries and peoples. If you are looking for classic fairy tales, you may want to get An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales or Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales. While the first one is colorful and more appropriate for toddlers and younger kids, the second is unillustrated, has longer tales, and is a perfect folktale book for middle schoolers. Another great for tweens and teenagers is Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It will introduce you to Greek and Roman myths through the main character’s interactions with gods and different creatures. If you need a book with short bedtime folk tales, we recommend Five-minute Stories: Over 50 Tales and FablesIf you want to discover Native American folklore and beliefs, try The Legend of the Bluebonnet about a young girl saving her tribe. For more than one Native American story, we have Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collectionwhich is a graphic novel with authentic stories about trickster. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale is a tale that teaches about the consequences of lying to others. For folktales with morals, read The Classic Treasury of Aesop's FablesIts animal characters will teach you valuable life lessons and will find morals written after each fable.

How to Choose the Best Folktale Books for Kids for You

Folklore books from all over the world are very popular, especially among young readers. These simple tips will help you choose the perfect children’s folklore book.

  • Among all the types of folktales, pick one that you find most interesting. We recommend classic fairy tales for toddlers, fables for younger kids, myths, and legends for tweens and teenagers.
  • For small kids, the length of the story is essential. Choose 5-10 minutes stories for the smallest and increase the length for older children.
  • Choose appropriate illustrations. See if the colors are not too dark, the animals are not scary, and that there are enough pictures to entertain readers.
  • Read the book or make sure it is appropriate before giving it to young kids. Some original tales can be scary or even politically incorrect in modern society.
  • Choose award-winning folklore books or famous folk tales. One of the most popular awards is Caldecott, Seuss medal.
  • Many folklore books are written for adults and may be too difficult for kids. They can have similar names and look the same, but in fact, they are different. Try reading a free sample before buying a book. Always pay attention to the edition of the book you are getting, especially if you are shopping online.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Folktale Books for Kids

Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following:

Our Top Favorite
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales: The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea and many more classic stories
Our Top Runner Up
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Our Top Value Pick
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Book Title
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales: The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea and many more classic stories
Book Title
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Book Title
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Book Title
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

Any of these folktale books will introduce you to the timeless world of literature. Just make sure to pick a book you will enjoy.

If you are looking for the best folktales for kids, choose books with colorful pictures and shorter stories.

Teenagers may appreciate longer and more exciting folktales.

If you don’t know where to start, go for the classics or a collection of different stories. Read a few free book samples and choose a book that appeals best to you. Readers of all ages enjoy tales and myths, so even if you buy a few books at a time, you will have plenty of time to read them.

Because you read this post, may also like our other book reviews here:

> Best Graphic Novels for Middle School

> The Best Historical Fiction for Kids

> Best Short Stories for High School.

All of our reading book lists can be found here.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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