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Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys
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Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  82 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
From China to Burma, Afghanistan to America, this collection of fourteen familiar and little-known stories tells the tales of sons, brothers, kings, and trolls--men and boys united by a common heroism that comes from strength of character, wisdom, and compassion. These stories show that brains trump brawn every time.
Renowned storyteller Jane Yolen has created an exciting
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Jerri Miller
Sep 26, 2011 Jerri Miller rated it it was amazing
1. Genre: Traditional Literature

2. This book is a collection of tales regarding boys being heroes in ways other than strength and have been taken from many different parts of the world.

3. a. Organization

b. Because this particular book is a collection, I chose to focus on the organization. I feel that when reading a book that has multiple stories in it that it is important to be organized. After reading the book I feel very satisfied that the collector of these tales succeeded in this aspect. Th
Aug 08, 2011 Leigh rated it it was amazing
I’ve been reading this to the kids (boys, ages 7 and 3.5) off and on all summer. I pack it our suitcases when we travel and read it when Hubby is away at bedtime (otherwise the kids each get their own story read to them).

I really like this book. First of I love the premise--it is a tales of boys/men from around the world who win the day using their wits rather than their physical strength. This is not to say it is non-violent. There is some gore and some of the heros have to endure some pretty
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A very enjoyable collection of folktales from around the world. I especially liked the Finnish version of "Puss in Boots," called "Mighty Mikko." A few I had heard before. In fact, I had just read a picture book entitled Juan Verdades, about a Southwestern rancher whose foreman always tells the truth, when in this book I read "The Truthful Shepherd," a Hungarian tale, apparently quite old, with the same theme. One had to have influenced the other, as there were too many specific story elements i ...more
Jessica Davis
May 01, 2015 Jessica Davis rated it liked it
The book "Mightier than the Sword" by Jane Yolen a Folk Lore is intended for grades 3-5 It was a Aesop Prize Winner, The Sibert Medal and a Caldecott honor.

It tells about 14 folk tales of boys regarding courage, honor, bravery, etc. The tales are about sons, brothers, kings and trolls. I rated this book with 3 stars because it had a little illustrations in book. It tells of value and strength and victory without picking up the sword (using violence). I think children would like this book because
Mar 16, 2015 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Jane Yolen is one of my favorites. She is so very prolific in so many ways...

This collection of folktales for strong (smart) boys is awesome. Although it is intended to show boys that "hero is a word for winner, not whipper; for smarty, not smarty pants; for holding on, not holding back" it is also worthwhile to show to girls for all the same reasons.

The stories are interesting in their portrayal of what smart is in different countries. The trope of being tricked and then tricking the trickster
Scott Houston
This is a great source for classrooms because it is anthology of fourteen short stories from around the world. It can be used to explore other cultures outside our own, but it is most important because it shows boys that there is great strength without force or violence. Movies and American culture are obsessed with violence, but I enjoy this book for its craft of showing virtue without resorting to punching and kicking! I would love to show this book to my future male students because it shows ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Kami rated it it was ok
To be honest, I only read a few of the stories. But I wasn't all that impressed by the ones I did read. I think the Childcraft books Tales of Freedom and the like are much better. The pictures left a lot to be desired too.
Rebecca Ann
This was a nice little book with some short folk tales encouraging young boys to be a different kind of hero. I liked how each story came from a different location, and how each had parable beneath the title. The notes in the back on where each tale came from were great. As for the tales themselves, I knew the eating contest from The Troll With No Heart in His Body and other Tales of Trolls, from Norway. The only other story I really enjoyed was the Magic brocade. I could see myself telling that ...more
Apr 05, 2014 Emily added it
Shelves: z-gslis-804-01
Read: Knee-High Man, Thick-Head, Mighty Mikko
Annmarie Wise
Feb 26, 2016 Annmarie Wise rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-grandkids
Great book for young boys; showcases creativity and integrity and intelligence as a means to being a hero.
Feb 08, 2014 Logan rated it it was amazing
Logan, who is almost 6, could not get enough of this book! The stories come from many different cultures and I particularly like the ones with some humor for the grown-ups (The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs and Mighty Mikko come to mind). The only story that was totally obscure for Logan (and not to my mind a great retelling) was The False Night on the Road. We are not religious and it eluded L that the knight was the Devil. Small complaint though for such a winner. We plan to try the tales ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-reads
I read this book with my two boys ages 5 and 3. It is a collection of folktales from around the world. In all of the stories the people use clever solutions to get out of tricky situations instead of the sword. We all enjoyed the stories, although some of them were a little over the heads of my boys and I had to do some explaining. I think it is one that I will get again in a few years to read again with them.
Jan Duncan-O'Neal
Jan 23, 2008 Jan Duncan-O'Neal rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers, librarians, parents, children's literature students
This is a "break through" book for me. The author's purpose in redefining "strong boys" and finding good folktales for them helps teachers, librarians, and parents search for better role models. Too many bullies and macho men influence kids in all media. The wise words of Yolen's book should be spread across our country and world!
Feb 07, 2013 Josephine rated it liked it
This anthology really highlights the power and worth of fairy and folk tales. They can be so much more than just a good story. In a few short pages, they can illustrate an idea or ideal that can shape young (and not so young) minds.
Feb 24, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
This book was very interesting. It has folktales in it from all around the world. Each folktale is roughly 4-5 pages so you could pick one to read at a time. I also liked how you get to read other cultures tales.
Jordan Smith
Oct 29, 2013 Jordan Smith rated it liked it
Very Nice. Had read most of the folktales before,but they did a good job reaching out to a younger audience rather than having a lot of the more frightning tales like the ones from the color fairy books.
Erin Sterling
Nov 23, 2009 Erin Sterling rated it really liked it
What a great collection of stories from around the world about clever heroes that rely on their wit rather than brawn. Everything from eating with trolls to a truthful shepherd.
Sep 10, 2014 Bree rated it really liked it
most stories were adventurous and exciting
some were too scary or gross for my sensitive boy
Mar 26, 2009 Kathryn marked it as to-read
Recommended to Kathryn by: Abigail
moving beyond the usual "brawn over brains" for hero tales.
Rebecca marked it as to-read
May 18, 2016
Emily added it
May 17, 2016
A. Dawes
A. Dawes marked it as to-read
May 07, 2016
Melissa Cline
Melissa Cline marked it as to-read
May 04, 2016
Cristy J
Cristy J marked it as to-read
Apr 08, 2016
Efreak marked it as to-read
Apr 05, 2016
Sean Andersson
Sean Andersson marked it as to-read
Apr 02, 2016
Ann marked it as to-read
Feb 24, 2016
Lesley Burnap
Lesley Burnap marked it as to-read
Feb 23, 2016
Jill added it
May 17, 2016
Max Fliegler
Max Fliegler rated it did not like it
Feb 18, 2016
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Mightier Than the Sword 2 1 Jan 07, 2016 06:54PM  
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
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