Ethnic Storytelling and Folklore


Reviewed by Marianne Smith

This website is a list of supposedly folklore and storytelling Web resources from the Bank Street Library. It was last modified on March 18, 2003, which makes it appear to be somewhat current. The Bank Street Library is part of the Bank Street College of Education. Unfortunately, this website was rather a disappointment. The colors used were suitable, yet the format left much to be desired. The list was divided, into what appeared to be two kinds of categories. The first category, General Folklore and Storytelling Resources, only contained two websites, one containing children’s games and another website, which appeared to hold a lot of promise because it was described as “a fantastic anthology of multi-cultural and multi-lingual games, rhymes, and customs...” The link provided takes one to a site that is in Italian, called Libero. Unless one was well versed in Italian, it would be rather difficult to navigate this site in order to find sources on multicultural folklore and storytelling. The next category, without a heading, appears to contain Web sources for different continents. Many of the continents only contained one or two sources and several did not contain any, such as Europe and South America. It is hard to believe that no worthy sources are available on the Web pertaining to these continents. North America contained two sites, one of which was a link to the Los Angeles Donauschwaben DanceGroup Web page. This website did contain some historical background on this Germanic ethnic group as well as tantalizing German recipes, but nothing of importance pertaining to folklore or storytelling. Another site that held some promise was listed under the heading of Africa. It was a link to the Kennedy Center’s African Odyssey, which contained useful information for teachers, yet it took some navigating to find African stories. It would have much more helpful if a direct link to the page containing the stories were listed: Other categories listed, such as Cultures and Subjects were basically a repetition of what was already listed in other categories.

This website needs some polishing in order to become a useful resource of information on folklore and storytelling resources. A more careful selection of web sources should be included that truly reflect the categories listed. The names of continents that do not contain any web source should not be listed. The list of descriptors such as title, URL, description, country, state, culture, ethnic group, religion, and subject are a good idea and would be extremely useful if they were filled in with information and not left blank.