Stories from Diverse Cultures

the children are inspired to create

Stories from a wide range of cultures, countries and continents

I have stories from: Africa (various countries), Australia, Bangladesh, Caribbean (various islands), China, England, Europe (various countries), Greece (myths and folk tales), India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Native Americans, Norway, Russia, Siberia, South America (various countries), The Far East, U.S.A., and probably others that I can't think of at the moment! And I'm always adding to my collection!

I tell them in a way that enables children to access them, participate in them and enjoy them. I choose very carefully, keeping in mind the ages of the children. Stories and participation are always appropriate to age and ability.

The children can use genuine instruments from Africa, South America and elsewhere.

They are inspired to create in a variety of ways. Some schools follow up with major art pieces.

On the right is a large, ceramic mural by students of The Sweyne Park School, Essex. It depicts the Australian story of Budbud.

Below, is a papier mache elephant created by the pupils of Montgomerie Infant School, Essex.

Elsewhere on the site, you will find samples taken from large, batik murals created by the pupils of West Dean Primary Schoool, W. Sussex.


Honey mouse (KS1)

This is a lovely mini-beasts story. Honey mouse loves the honey that the bees make - until the bee-eater bird comes along. However, listening to the bird singing, makes him wonder what makes all the birds so happy that they sing. He finds that they all "collect" different things like termites, flies and caterpillars. In the end, he asks the koalas to help him find something that he can "collect".

Budbud (KS2)

The people don't have fire but watch as an old and fierce man sits by the warmth of his. They watch him cook and eat his kill whilst they have to eat raw meat, sleep in the cold and have their babies snatched by the dingoes in the darkness. They try to ask for some fire, but all fail until a boy of the tribe makes an attempt. The old man tells him to find budbud sticks. But what exactly are they? It's not easy to find something when you don't know what you're looking for! When he does find them, instinct drives him to discover fire making. There is a twist at the end!


Moon Lake - from India (KS1)

Listen to a clip now Also available on CD

The forest elephants live by a beautiful blue lake and enjoy eating the fresh leaves and drinking (and squirting) the cool water. But when the sun leaves only dirty, muddy water, they have to find another lake. After searching, one is discovered in the forest, but the trouble is - it belongs to the rabbits. How can the little rabbits chase away the big, fat elephants?

The radish thief - from Bangladesh (KS2)

Listen to a clip now Also available on CD

The farmer needs to feed his family, but the scorching sun sucks all the moisture from the ground and his crop dies. He goes to the market and buys more seeds, but having sown them, the monsoon comes and washes away his crop. The seed sellers sell him radish seeds and at first he is cross. However, he reckons the radishes will survive both drought and monsoon. His neighbours secretly admire the new crop but outwardly dismiss it. He guards his field until the monsoon arrives, but as he shelters, so a thief comes with a bundle of jute sacks. The monsoon drifts away and he returns to his field - and catches the thief. The thief asks the listening children for "reasons" why s/he has sacks full of radishes! Will the police be called? Will the radish thief be sent to gaol?

The sparrow and the crow - from India (Foundation/Reception)

A sparrow and a crow alight in a garden. The crow discovers a pearl in the grass and the sparrow attempts to bully the crow to hand it over. The sparrow calls on a number of people, animals and objects to help intimidate the crow e.g. the woodcutter, the king, a mouse, a cat - even an elephant. None will help until the mischievous mosquito is called into the action. A story about bullying and courtesy.


The Snake Chief - from South Africa (KS2)

A father has two daughters who need husbands. He crosses the river in search of suitors. He returns from a visit to a village with news that the chief is looking for a wife. His eldest daughter insists that she goes to meet him. But she is headstrong and, going against all custom, she goes alone. Every time she is offered help on her long journey to the village, she responds rudely. In the village, she is tasked with grinding millet and making bread for the chief but she does this poorly. The chief is angered and the girl is despatched. Her sister, with father and a host of friends, follow in her footsteps but respond kindly to the offers of help. She makes good bread for the chief and becomes his wife. A lively and very interactive story.

Ophelia's letter - story, song and game from Ghana (KS2)

Listen to a clip now Also available on CD

A girl - Ophelia - lives in a village and her only contact with the outside world is through her English penfriend. She learns about English children's games, hobbies, interests and secrets. She takes her "treasure" down to the river to read. The wind takes it and it's swept away. She cries but her family take her home and comfort her by joining in with her song. They then play a game to cheer her up. The family can't rescue her treasure, but they can give her their own special treasure - their time and love.

Rabbit and skygod - Nigeria (KS1)

Rabbit lives on the African plains and wants to be wise like skygod so he visits him/her. Skygod sets tasks - bring me the scales of the biggest fish in the world. Rabbit has to work out how to do this. Bring me milk from the wildest African cow. Again, this is a real challenge for rabbit. Having completed the tasks, he asks for some wisdom. Skygod tell him that it would be wise to watch out for those animals he had just tricked whilst completing the tasks for him/her! So how wise is he - how fast can he run!

The Caribbean

The pepperbush (KS2)

Listen to a clip now Also available on CD

This story with a song is based on a tale from St Vincent in the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, there is a tiny dot of an island. When a cloud covers the sun, a shadow is cast over the whole island. The scheming witch becomes queen and uses the king's pepperbush to hide a terrible secret. However, the singing of the princess turns the tables on her.

Anansi and the king's cow (KS1/lower KS2)

Anansi has a plot of land next to the king's field of prize cows. In the night, someone - or something - is trampling down Anansi's corn, so he decides to throw some rocks at the intruder. He tries to persuade his wife (story within the story!) to fetch boulders from the river. Eventually, armed with the rocks, he attacks the culprit under the cover of darkness. Unfortunately for Anansi, he kills a king's cow and knows he will be in big trouble. With the help of his wife - again - he tricks his best friend into believing he has killed the cow. Fortunately for his friend, he has a clever wife as well and manages to fool Anansi into confessing all to the king.

South America

Mole and grey Fox - Based on a Peruvian traditional story (KS1)

Mole and Grey Fox are best friends. They each live in a cave; each day mole goes into the valley to pull up worms, and fox goes off hunting. They meet one evening and wonder at the sun and where it might go. They watch the moon come up and fox wonders if mole has a dream. Mole tells his dream but is very surprised at fox's dream - to reach the moon. Neither dream seems possible. The next day, whilst collecting sticks for a fire, fox thinks she knows how to reach her dream. However, there is a major flaw in her plan. They decide to ask condor for his help. On their ascent, the forest parrots mock mole and he is only saved from certain death by condor who is still flying round and watching. Looking up at the moon, they see fox has reached her dream; the parrots continue to laugh at mole who escapes underground - only to discover his dream. A beautiful story full of different emotions.


Naranja - Spain (KS2)

The King bemoans the fact that his son is always miserable. His ministers can't help but the astrologers suggest that the prince had been bewitched when he was a baby. The only way to break the spell would be for the prince to find the golden orange. First, he would have to bake some wheat cakes, go into the mountains, face the wild dogs and discover the casket containing the orange. He does so, but when he opens the casket, the orange speaks and a princess (Naranja) emerges. She takes the prince home where they marry and a baby is born. The family now return to Spain, but while the prince goes to tell his father what has happened, the princess and her baby are approached by the wicked witch. She turns princess Naranja into a dove, whilst she becomes the princess holding the baby. Time passes and the baby - now a toddler - wants the dove that is flying around the garden. When it's caught, the bird becomes Naranja once more, and the imposter becomes the witch who is banished.

I just wanted to say thank you very much for your brilliant storytelling sessions last Friday. The children really enjoyed them and the teachers haven't stopped raving about you!

Gresham Primary, Croydon

On behalf of all the children and staff of Old Heath School (Essex) - thank you for a wonderful day during our Book Week. The children talked about you for days. You made the idea of telling stories such fun. We hope that we will soon have the opportunity to invite you back.

Sharon Sciachettano, Headteacher.