Abulafia, Part of My Heart: DreamSongs
Cloudstone, New York City, 1991. Softbound. ISBN 1–879846–03–9.
An interweaving of stories and songs recounting the adventure of the soul.
We read, listening as one listens to fairy tales, compelled as are the protagonists of those tales to follow where they are mysteriously bidden, and because the telling is shaped, rhymed, and shared by an artist, vestiges of our own dream-history are stirred into recollection. — Denise Levertov
In this vivid and remarkable series of dreams reminiscent of the parables of Kafka and Calvino, Ablulafia [a great sage of the 13th Century] slowly reveals himself. — Howard Schwartz
Illustrated by Marc Brown. Penguin–Dial, New York City, 1984. Paperback and hardcover, out of print. ISBN 0–8037–0428–3.
A story of friendship between a small goat and a tiger in which the courage to sing the story of ones heart brings freedom. Featured on the PBS television programs Reading Rainbow and Storytime. All ages.
Also available as The Little Banjo
Illustrated by Marc Brown. Scholastic, New York City, 2000. Paperback. ISBN 0-439-18023-6.
Also on Scholastic audio cassette, ISBN 0–439–18040–6.
Excellent for sharing with groups. — School Library Journal
Bouki Dances the Kokioko
Illustrated by Jesse Sweetwater. Harcourt, San Diego, California, 1997. Hardbound. ISBN 0–15–200034–8. Aesops Accolade Book.
In this comical tale from Haiti, awkward Bouki wins the dance contest while sly Malice walks away with the prize. First through Third Grades.
Bouki Dances the Kokioko has also been published in Norwegian, in a collection by the Norwegian princess Martha Louises: Fairy Tales from the Heart of the World (Bazar Tales, Oslo, 2007). It has often been performed in school by children as a play.
The Cool Ride in the Sky
Illustrated by Paul Galdone. Random House, New York City, hardbound. Out of print.
A monkey takes a buzzard for a cool ride in the sky and protects his friends. Based on the Black American folk tale Straighten Up and Fly Right. Pre–Kindergarten through Eighth Grade.
An instant success at story hours. — Children’s Book Review Service
A parable on human nature. — The New York Times
The Day Ocean Came to Visit
Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. Harcourt–Gulliver, San Diego, California, 2001, hardbound. ISBN 0–15–201774–7.
Why are Sun and Moon in the sky?
Suns wife, Moon, suggests that Sun invite Ocean to visit, [but they] are driven out of their home and into the sky by Oceans huge, teeming presence. The shining spheres of Sun and Moon actually sit atop graceful bodies clad in long, simple robes. Ocean flows into their bamboo dwelling over peaceful, carefully kept gardens, and multiple layers of thinly-applied oil paint add richly modulated light and color to each illustration. — Kirkus Reviews
Wolksteins lilting tale explains how the sun, moon and stars came to be in the sky. She imbues the narrative with gentleness and humor. Children will anxiously anticipate Oceans entrance, and both text and illustrations may exceed their expectations… This is poetry in both words and pictures. — Publisher’s Weekly
The New York Public Librarys Anne Carroll Moore Book for 2001, and one of the NYPLs Recommended Books of 2001.
Illustrated by Juan Wijngaard. HarperCollins, New York City, 1996, paperback. ISBN 0–688–15844–7. Hardcover edition out of print.
In diary form, Esther describes how she risks her life to save her people. Jewel–like Persian miniature illustrations. Recommended for all ages and religious backgrounds. Aesops Accolade and Sydney Taylor Library Award recipient.
Wijngaards lavish illustrations and Wolksteins narration breathe new humanity this grand and glorious story, introducing to all children the power of self-sacrifice. — Publisher’s Weekly
The diary format confers immediacy; readers share the loneliness, fears, and determinations of this legendary heroine. — Kirkus Reviews
The First Love Stories:
From Isis and Osiris to Tristan and Iseult
HarperCollins, New York City, 1991, hardbound and softbound. Out of print. Japanese edition published by Iwanami Shoten.
Each of these seven stories, mysterious testaments to the passion and compassion in the human spirit, expresses a different aspect of love. For adult readers.
Isis and Osiris embodies love that is stronger than the forces of nature. Inanna and Dumuzi explores the cyclical quality of love. Shiva and Sati portrays the explosion of passion and the taming of the mind. The Song of Songs suggests the sensuous, yearning quality of love. Psyche and Eros presents the forging of the psyche. Layla and Majnun reveals the path of the soul. Tristan and Iseult expresses the struggle between personal and community loyalty.
[The First Love Stories] evoke love in its original state, as a sacred and therefore dangerous power that can never be domesticated, though it fires the hearth. Diane Wolkstein has directed her considerable talents as a storyteller to a creative rendition of the lore and literature of love. — The New York Times
In these classic stories, love is of a cosmic dimension, involving the gods and goddesses, the cycles of nature, and the forces of grief, revenge, death, forgiveness, and rebirth. — Booklist
The Glass Mountain
Illustrated by Louisa Bauer. HarperCollins, 1999, hardbound. Out of print.
The princess falls into a glass mountain, and is imprisoned by Old Rinkrank. After rescuing herself, she and her belovéd create a welcoming garden for all beings.
Wolksteins imaginative, easy–to–follow adaptation of [the Brothers Grimms tale Old Rinkrank] delivers a spunky heroine while remaining true to traditional fairy-tale hallmarks. — Publisher’s Weekly
Wolkstein makes the story her own… gearing it for modern sensibilities without diminishing it… a precise balance of economy and detail.” — School Library Journal
Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth
Her Stories & Hymns from Sumer
Co–authored by Samuel Noah Kramer. Illustrated with artwork from Sumer, with notes by Elizabeth Forte. HarperCollins, New York, 1983, softbound. ISBN 0–06090854–8.
The five thousand year–old epic of the great goddess, following her life-story — her adolescence, her courtship, her descent into the Underworld, and her rebirth.
It is Inanna, the oldest story of all we know, who alone spans the whole of the mythic life. — Scientific American
An admirable translation, a great masterpiece of universal literature. — Mircea Eliade
Inanna is the result of S.N. Kramers long work of collecting and translating Sumerian cuneiform tablets. This raw material was taken by Diane Wolkstein, who, with both knowledge and mythologist and folklorist and skill as storyteller, ordered, welded, and polished it into an understandable literary whole, giving to us the most ancient, full story cycle of any goddess… The timeless quest for god, soul, and meaning lifts this tale from the exclusive ancient possession of the Sumerians and, through Wolksteins art, makes it our own. — National Storytelling Journal
Ballet: choreographer Marsha Knight
University of Wyoming at Laramie in March and April, 2001
Opera: composer Louis Andriessen, librettists Hal Hartley and Th. J. H. Krispijn
Premiere: October, 2003 at Transformatorhuis Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam (Text available from Boosey & Hawkes)
Opera: Descent of Inanna
Composer: Marcia Burchard
Dominican University of California, Rafael, California 2005
Also published as:
Il Mito Sumero (Italian), Edizioni Jaca, 1984.
Inanna (Swedish), Trevi, 1995.
Inanna (Norwegian), Glydendahl, 2000.
De Weg van Inanna (unauthorized Dutch version), Uitgeverij van Halewyck, 1999.
Inanna, Nedstigning: Texter kring en myt (unauthorized Swedish edition), Arak, year unknown.
Illustrated by James Marshall. The Seabury Press, New York, 1976, hardbound. Out of print.
Three humorous folktales from Japan (Hiroko), Mexico (The Tatema), and Laos (The Fig-Tree Beggar and the Willful Princess) capture the essence of laziness with its problems and pleasures. Storytellers notes are included. All ages, but especially Third and Fourth Grades.
Ive always been fascinated by laziness, which we regard as a vice, but can be seen as an important time to reflect, to decide what work is really worth doing. — The Capitol Times (Madison, Wisconsin)
Little Mouse’s Painting
Illustrated by Maryjane Begin. North–South Books USA, New York, 2002, hardcover. ISBN 1–58717–124–4. Also published in paperback, ISBN 1–58717–125–2.
First published by William Morrow & Co., New York, in 1992. Afrikaans edition published by Mike Jacklin/Knowledge Unlimited.
Little Mouse paints a painting, and all her friends think they see themselves in her painting. Recommended for all ages, especially Kindergarten through Third Grade. onorable Mention Bologna — First Place Graphics.
Wolkstein offers a unique story with depth and nuance. — Booklist
Wolksteins expressive straightforward narrative and Begins beautiful, luminous illustrations produce an insightful look at friendship and creativity. — School Library Journal
The appealing story delivers its message without insistence; the imaginative paintings, burgeoning with delightful detail, are exquisite. — Kirkus Reviews
The Magic Wings
Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker. Dutton, out of print. Spanish edition published by Hyspamerica.
Longing to fly, a Chinese goose girl desires to greet the flowers of spring, provoking a chain reaction of competitors who also wish to fly. A story often told at Easter and Spring. Pre–Kindergarten through Third Grade.
It would be hard to name any folk story with richer philosophical meanings. — Wilson Library Bulletin
Adpated as a play by the Okoboji Summer Theatre of Spirit Lake, Iowa.
The Magic Orange Tree and Other Haitian Folktales
Illustrated by Elsa Henriquez. Random House-Schocken, New York, softbound. ISBN 0–8052–1077–6. First published 1978, 2nd edition published 1997. Hardcover edition out of print. Japanese edition published by Iwanami Shoten. Finnish edition published by Salainen Kirjasto.
A classic collection of twenty-seven easy to read and tell Haitian stories with illustrations, music, and introductory notes. Excellent for beginning storytellers. Recommended for families and all ages. American Library Association Notable.
This book is sheer delight. Grown-ups of all ages, as well as children of all ages, will revel in it. — Lillian Ross, The New Yorker
Wolksteins prefatory notes are so eloquent and so filled with flashes of light thrown upon the customs, beliefs, and practices of the Haitian people, that nothing more seems to be wanted.
— Katharine Briggs
It is a joy to have this book, not only to read it, but to listen to it. The Magic Orange Tree is a gift. — P.L. Travers
The story of Owl, retold as Owl in Love, was scored to music by composer Jon Deak and performed at New York Citys Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
The same story — rewritten as Owl and Nightingale — was scored to music by Australian composer Pat Rix for her 2002 opera My Life, My Love, which was premiered at the State Opera in Adelaide, Australia.
or: Go I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What
A Russian Tale
Illustrated by Dennis McDermott. HarperCollins, New York, 1991. ISBN 0-688-09416-3. Out of print.
A Russian fairy tale in which an envious King sends his archer I Know Not Where. The archer discovers the secret of his belovéds heart. Recommended for all ages. ALA Notable — Social Studies.
A plum of a Russian tale unfolds seamlessly… rich in captivating language… [illustrator Dennis] McDermott beckons readers to curl up and be transported to unexplored realms.
— Publisher’s Weekly
The Red Lion
Illustrated by Ed Young. Thomas Y. Crowell, New York, 1977. Out of print.
A Sufi tale of a Persian prince who runs away three times before finding the courage to face his own Red Lion. Recommended for all ages. ALA Notable Childrens Book — Social Studies.
In each situation, the prince finds that he has merely postponed rather than escaped the ultimate confrontation with his fears told in a flowing, rhythmic style a superb addition to the storytellers repertoire. — The Horn Book
[A] thought-provoking, teaching tale… — Booklist
A Hopi Indian Tale
Illustrated by Lillian Hoban. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1976. Out of print.
Squirrel and Chipmunk are best friends until Chipmunk makes up a song about Squirrel. Can a song catch you? Squirrel worries. Recommended for Kindergarten and First Grade.
When the Hopi actually tries to catch the capering animals, Squirrel shows his friend there are more facets to a living creature than a song can capture. — School Library Journal
Step by Step
Illustrated by Jos. A. Smith. HarperCollins, 1994. ISBN 0–688–10315–4.
A friendly, easy-to-read story of a small ant who ventures out by herself to visit her friend and returns home safely. The participatory refrain, step by step, helps children to learn to read. Recommended for Kindergarten and First Grade.
A spare, well-honed tale in an appealing setting that will make it a winner with the pre-school set. — Kirkus Reviews
Sun Mother Wakes the World
An Australian Creation Story
Illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft. HarperCollins, New York, 2004, hardbound. ISBN 0–68–813915–9.
The indigenous people of Australia believe that their first ancestors created the world and its laws. They also believe that the world is still being created in a continual process they call the Dreamtime. Diane has crafted a powerful retelling of an Australian creation story, illuminated by illustrator Bronwyn Bancrofts authentic, beautifully realized paintings.
Veteran folklorist/storyteller Wolkstein retells the tale… with strong but understated feeling and glints of humor; Bancroft… depicts Sun Mother as a graceful, golden form, bringing light to a swirling, distinctively stylized, brightly patterned world. — Kirkus Reviews
Treasures of the Heart
Holiday Stories That Reveal the Soul of Judaism
Random House–Schocken, 2003. ISBN 0–805241–44–2.
A unique rendition of stories in the Hebrew Bible that are part of the foundation of Judaism and Western literature. Biblical characters such as Moses, Ruth, Solomon and others &mndash; their passions, ethical dilemmas, and changing relationships with God — are rendered with astonishing immediacy, achieved through careful research and a storytellers grace.
Wolksteins imaginative scenarios and intimate style help readers to become listeners, as the oral rhythms of Haggadah are passed from teacher to student. — Publisher’s Weekly
Treasures of the Heart is a heart opener — authentic, current, and available to readers of all backgrounds. An inspiration!
— Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, lecturer at Naropa University and author of Wrapped in a Holy Flame
Treasures of the Heart will be treasured by all those who seek to join the temporal with the spiritual in Jewish tradition. With her bold yet deeply meditated understanding of our most compelling biblical and rabbinic stories, Wolkstein lets Jewish holy days shed a new light on how we live now — and how we can live in the future. — Alicia Ostriker
Turning and weaving are the choreographic movements that Diane Wolkstein has used in composing her extraordinary expansive book… She has turned the Torah to reveal its seventy faces interweaving, in various combinations, oral legends, Talmudic and midrashic texts, history texts, academic findings, with her own reinterpretations and reflections… This is a book that will truly give the readers an understanding heart, listening ears and vision through new eyes. — Parabola
Illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1977. ISBN 0–394–83449–6 (library-bound version: 0–394–93449–0). Out of print.
In a giant world of stones, leaves, and branches, a little ants journey to visit her friend is a big adventure — one that she does slowly, step by step. The simple, rhythmic language of the story enables the reader to come along in the same way.
A Chinese Tale
Illustrated by Ed Young. Harcourt, 1996. ISBN 0-15-200293-60. First published by Thomas Y. Crowell in 1979. Korean edition published by Better Books.
A Chinese tale of a young farmer who finds a moon snail and discovers that it houses the Moon Goddess, White Wave. When the farmer forgets what he knows, he loses the Goddess — who returns in an unexpected manner. Recommended for all ages, especially Kindergarten through Third Grade. ALA Notable.
Our favorite picture book for ages 3–7 is veteran folklorist Diane Wolksteins White Wave. Haunting and dramatic, this is a profoundly simple tale of loss, grief, and rebirth.
— The Feminist Bookstore News
A beautiful, eternal story about love in its many dimensions. — Priscilla Moulton
Featured on National Public Radio, and in both the American Storytelling video series and Jimmy Neil Smiths book Homespun: Tales from Americas Favorite Storytellers (Crown, New York, ISBN 0–517–56936–1).
White Wave has been of comfort to many children who have lost relatives, friends, and belovéd animals.