Albanian fairy tales

Book: Albanian Folk Tales and Legends by Robert Elsie 

Relationship to country: This book has folk tales and fairy tales that originated in Albania

Book in a nutshell: A amazing folk tale about the mysterious Earthly Beauty and a boy that has formed a group of brothers.

Ages: 10+ (We skipped some stories because, 1. Mom made me, 2. Mom made me, 3. Mom made me etc.)

For the country of Albania, we read a few folk tales from a book on Kindle, Albanian Folk Tales and Legends. We read two stories about the Earthly Beauty, a very beautiful woman living in a palace who is not very nice to the men who try to marry her. One of the folk tales starts out with a young boy who's father had died. The only thing his father left behind was a sabre (a sword). He takes his sabre and leaves home to go find adventure. When he is travelling, he meets another boy and they decide to be brothers (as in, BFFs). They meet another boy, and the three of them decide to be brothers together forever.

They came upon a moat, and if they could jump over it, they would get to marry a princess. If they could not jump over it, they would get their heads chopped off. One of the friends, Ylli, is kind of a magical jumper because he is able to jump over the moat and carry the other two brothers with him. He marries the princess. Kordha, the boy with the sabre, decides to keep going without his brothers, but he leaves a feather behind. He tells them if there is ever blood on the feather, then he is in danger and to come save him. Kordha goes on to find the Earthly Beauty. In another story that we read, the Earthly Beauty made people pay just to look at her hand, and she was kind of stealing their money. Kordha kills a magical dragon creature to get to the Earthly Beauty. After he wins, an army comes to try to fight him and they lose. But then Kordha makes the mistake of telling the Earthly Beauty that he is getting all of his strength from his sabre. Now I am thinking that is why Kordha's father died, because his magical sabre was taken away from him. 

The feather gets covered in blood when the sabre is taken away from him, and he gets very sick and is about to die. His brothers make it just in time and return the sabre. They fight off the army and all go back to live with Kordha's mother. They stay friends and brothers forever. I liked the parts of this story about friendship and brotherhood. 

History of Cyprus

Book: The Island Everyone Wanted 

Ages: 9+ 

Relationship to country: This book tells the history of Cyprus

Book in a nutshell: (same)

First off, where is Cyprus? Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is in the middle of everything, like: Asia, Europe, Africa and last but not least the Middle East! This book tells about the history of Cyprus. They are literally the island everyone wanted! They were invaded by: (Take a deep breath) Greece, Rome, Persia, Egypt, Byzantine Empire, The Arab Empire, and that was just the Middle Ages. England came during the Crusades, and Richard the Lionheart got married on Cyprus. Then he sold the island to an assortment of people. After, the French took over for a whole 300 years! Later the Ottomans came and ruled Cyprus for another 300 years. 

This book tells you about the history of Cyprus all the way from olden times, to the middle ages, to modern times. You start reading about Cyprus but you don't even realize that you are also reading about different international events, like world war one. This book would be interesting for people who like reading about historical events in different countries.

My FAVORITE kind of book... drum roll please... GREEK MYTHS!!!

Book: D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

Ages: 9+

Relationship to country: This book tells you all about Greek gods and Greek mythology

Book in a nutshell: This book is a great way to tour ancient Greek beliefs and myths 

We are still trying to move around the world by geography. So, we were last in Turkey and now in Greece. In this book, there are about 50 myths. Each one tells you stories of mischief, lessons, and wisdom. I've read this book at least 5 times. This book got me interested in different Greek-based books and other mythology, like Roman, Norse, and Egyptian mythology. This book is an awesome way to get to know great stories and exciting tales. This book inspired me to read different books like the Percy Jackson series, Heroes of Olympus, and Trials of Apollo, and that's just a few of things that I've read that are inspired by Greek mythology.

For this post, I wanted to tell you about one myth that I really enjoy, but I think anyone would enjoy the entire book. Artemis is the goddess of hunting with a beautiful bow and arrow. When it strikes its victim, it is painless. It feels like moonlight. The king of the Greek gods, Zeus, vowed that he would never make Artemis marry. She is his daughter. I really like Artemis because she is a fearless hunter, and I've always wanted to shoot a bow and arrow. There are many delightful stories about her in this book. One of the best in my opinion is the one where she sees a mortal from above, he is a hunter as good as Artemis herself. She becomes almost friends with him. He was very modest even though he was a gifted hunter. 

Since Artemis had promised to never marry, she had never allowed a man to hunt with her before. Apollo, her twin brother and also a hunter, grew jealous of Orion's (the mortal hunter) talent and the fact that the gods were favoring him. So, Apollo sends a giant scorpion after Orion. Orion couldn't fight him because he had scales like metal and his poisonous stinger was deadly. Orion turned to run away, but the scorpion stung him in the ankle as he was turning. Orion died. Artemis was mad at her brother, but twins can't stay mad at each other for long. Apollo soon helped Artemis to hang him in the stars so that he would be remembered, as the constellation of Orion.

This book introduces all of the Greek gods and most of their famous stories. The pictures are also very good to help your imagination. 

Really back after a long break now

I have been really busy for the last 6 months, getting busy with 3rd grade, being on a new swim team, and keeping up with my reading schedule of course. For my birthday this year, my mom got me a bunch of chapter books from the Balkans for me to start up my book posts again. I'm excited to read these books and write about them. It might take me a while because every book is really long. But first, I'm going to post about Greece!

Back after a long break!

Hello! I'm back after taking a break from my book project for a few months. I missed doing this, but I really enjoyed my vacation. I went to Texas, and caught 8 fish, then 10 more a couple days later! I ALSO went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and I saw cousins and aunts, it was really fun seeing them. Even though I wasn't writing this, I DID A LOT READING!!! I'll be posting more books here soon, watch out!

Code breaking in Turkey

Book: The Beyoglu Adventure by Sara Sahinkanat and Ayse Inan

Ages: 8+

Relationship to country: This book was written in Turkish and translated into English

Book in a nutshell: Have an exciting adventure while decoding with Sinan

Sinan hears a knock on the door. When he opens the door, he finds a map and a letter. The letter has a coded message in it that Sinan has to figure out. The book comes with a special code key that you can use yourself to solve the code with Sinan!

Sinan goes all around Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, following codes and maps and codes and maps. Every new letter than Sinan finds has a code that you can use your decoder ring to solve. But there are Code Pirates following Sinan, and he has to find the next clue before the Code Pirates can catch up with him. One time he drops a fake letter to trick the Code Pirate and get them off his trail.

This was a very fun book. I liked using the decoder key to follow along with the story. I thought the author and the illustrator did a very good job with this book!


Under the Light of the Moon: A Story about Armenia


Book: Under the Light of the Moon by Laura Michael

Ages: 7+

Relationship to country: A book about Armenian orphans living in Greece 

Book in a nutshell: A story about Jackie, an American child actor who wants to help Armenian orphans, and Lucine, an Armenian orphan wondering if she will find her family again

This is a very encouraging story for children. It really encourages children to help people and to appreciate what they've got. The reason I say it was encouraging is because the main character, Jackie, is a kid, and he really helps a lot of people. And I learned that he was a real person who really did these things. So this is a good reason for kids to read this book.

Specifically, Jackie wants to help orphans from Armenia who had escaped from Armenia by walking through the desert. Their parents got captured by soldiers in Armenia. I got the impression there was more to the story about what was happening in Armenia, so you might want to have a parent search for you if you aren't allowed to Google by yourself. My mom and I did read about the Armenian genocide, and it is pretty difficult history to read about.

Jackie was a famous child actor in the United States. Some of the ways that he helped were to make a movie and instead of selling tickets, people could come to see the movie by bringing clothes and canned food. 

Jackie also went to Greece where many of the Armenian orphans were staying so that he could meet the children that he was trying to help. He especially wanted to meet Lucine because he had seen her photo. Lucine was an orphan living in Greece, and she had lost hope that she would ever find her family again. I think you'll enjoy reading this book and learning more about this history and hearing about how a kid can help someone across the world.

Azerbaijan: Folklore podcast

Book: "The Trickster Goat", as told on the podcast Folklore of the Universe 

Ages: 8+

Relationship to the country: A folktale from Azerbaijan 

Book in a nutshell: This podcast talked about "trickster" monsters in Turkish and Azerbaijani folklore

We had a hard time finding a children's book from Azerbaijan, but we did find a podcast that tells folktales and fairytales from around the world! We listened to an episode about "trickster" monsters in Turkish and Azerbaijani folklore. The story from Azerbaijan was called "The Trickster Goat." You can find the podcast here if you are interested. We liked this podcast and plan to listen to it again, because they tell you the story then talk about what the story means.

The story starts off with a a goat, a calf, and a sheep. But the humans that used to watch them go away. The people are moving away from the mountains, and now the goat, the calf, and the sheep are all exposed to predators. Their plan to keep safe is to wear the pelt--the fur--of the bear, the fox, and the wolf and go find a hut to live in. But then when they found a hut, there were a real bear, wolf, and fox already inside! They are able to trick their predators by pretending that they ate a wolf, a fox, and a bear and that that was how they got those pelts. The trick works, and the predators run away screaming.

The goat, the calf, and the sheep leave the hut because they are worried the predators will discover their trick. They climb a rock. One of them falls down, and the goat yells down to the predators, "The cow is coming for the bear, and we'll get the wolf and the fox!" The predators got really scared then, and the goat, the sheep, and the calf were able to rejoin their herds where they belonged.

Georgian Folk Tales

Book: Georgian Folk Tales by Marjory Wardrop

Ages: 10+

Relationship to country: This book translates stories and folk tales from Georgia into English

Book in a nutshell: A book of folk tales from Georgia

We read two stories from this book, "Master and Pupil" and "The Three Sisters and Their Stepmother." I am going to write about the story "Master and Pupil." In this story, a master is a teacher, and a pupil is a student. In the beginning of the story, the mom insisted that her son needed to know things because she didn't want him to grow up poor like they were. So, the boy and his father went out to look for a teacher. They were drinking from a stream, and a teacher appeared. What they didn't know is that he was an evil spirit.

The evil spirit says he will teach the boy for one year, and the father can have him back if he can recognize him. After a year, the father goes back, and he does not recognize his boy! But his boy does recognize him, and he warns his father that all of the boys will be turned into birds. The boy tells his father that he will be the bird flying in last place. The evil spirit comes and turns all of the boys into birds, and asks the father to point to his son. He points to the last bird, his son. The evil spirit is very upset about having to return the boy.

On the way home, the boy and his father use magical powers to trick people into giving them money. On the last trick, they get too greedy. One moral of the story would be not to give your son away to an evil spirit. And definitely not for a whole year. And if you do give your son away to an evil spirit, don't be greedy afterward. 

The Little Black Fish

Book: The Little Black Fish by Samad Behrangi, translated by Azita Rassi

Ages: 7+

Relationship to country: This book is a classic Iranian children's book, translated into English

Book in a nutshell: A little black fish wants to explore where the river ends

 Today we read another book from Iran. The Little Black Fish was so special to his mother. Thousands of her baby fish and eggs had not survived, and Little Black Fish was her only baby. Every day, Little Black Fish and his mom would swim up, down, and around their little stream, going to the same places and seeing the same fish over and over. Little Black Fish wants to explore. He wants to know what is beyond his stream.

Little Black Fish jumps down a waterfall and escapes his stream. He sees so many different things once he leaves his stream, but many of the things that he sees are not safe. He meets a swordfish, seabirds, a pelican, a lizard, a crab, and more. Many of those creatures want to eat him. Little Black Fish was brave meeting all of those dangers. He never stopped wanting to keep going and to keep seeing new things. 

I think the lesson of the story is to explore and be brave and face dangers. We read that this book was banned in Iran. I thought that was strange. Why would a book about a fish be banned? At the back of the book, they explained that the book was banned because in Iran they didn't want people to go past their borders and to explore new countries and meet new people.

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