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7 Earth Tales From Around the World

These 7 Earth Tales From Around the World share the unique connection between the natural world and cultures of the past – and remind us of our important work as the caretakers of today.

A hands-on craft project for each tale provides an opportunity for further discussion and inspiration for additional activities.

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The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales

Read how different cultures live in harmony with nature, complete a creative activity that reminds us to take care of our precious Mother Earth, and identify more ways to take action in our local and global communities.

1. The Sun Mother, Australia

“If each one of us looks after that little patch of earth where we belong, between us we can care for the whole Earth.”

  • Activity: Paint an Aboriginal-style picture of a place that is special to you
  • Brainstorm more ideas to care for your little patch of earth.

2. Why the  Sky is Far Away, Nigeria

“The story is hundreds of years old,  yet it offers a timely reminder to consume less and conserve more.”

  • Activity: Make anything-goes soup with your leftovers.
  • Brainstorm additional ways to stop food waste.

3. She Who is Alone, American Southwest

From the Southern Plains of North America, land of the Comanche, this tale “shows the value of giving to, rather than taking from, the Earth.”

  • Activity: Make a cornhusk doll
  • Brainstorm other ideas that give value to our Earth.

4. Grumpy Gecko, Bali

“This tale reflects the understanding that everything in nature is connected in one way or another… And it reminds us that one person’s actions affect the whole web of life.”

  • Activity: Grow your own tomatoes
  • Brainstorm more examples that support the statement “everything in this world is connected.”

5. The Magic Garden, Kazakhstan

“This story celebrates the earthly paradise that is a garden.”

  • Activity: Make a pinecone birdfeeder


  • Brainstorm a list of items that you see as examples of nature’s beauty. Compare your list with others.

6. Amrita’s Tree, India

This folktale “inspired the Chipko (Hug the Trees) Movement, whose members embrace trees to prevent forests from being felled. Chipko activists have saved thousands of trees throughout India.”

  • Activity: Build a willow den
  • Brainstorm ways to protect forests.

7. Stink Water, Wales

This story “illustrates the impact of our waste on fragile environments, reminding us to be considerate neighbors.”

  • Activity: Make a mini water garden
  • Brainstorm additional ideas for protecting and caring for our environmental neighbors.

Retold by – Dawn Casey

Dawn Casey has always been passionate about traditional tales, believing that folklore can help answer some of the deepest questions about humankind. A primary school teacher and writer, Dawn says that passing on these stories is a great privilege, as well as a great pleasure. Dawn lives in East Sussex, England, with her husband and daughter.

Illustrated by – Anne Wilson

Anne Wilson gains much of her inspiration and use of color from her travels. She has an MA in Illustration from St. Martin’s College of Art, London, and has been illustrating children’s books for several years. She lives in Reading, England, with her husband and daughters.

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FREE DOWNLOAD  The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales Guide & Extension Activities – from Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

  • Suggestions for activating student thinking before, during, and after reading. Students will focus on the lesson each tale teaches.
  • Extension activities for educators provide STEAM-themed, project-based lessons for whole, small, or independent learning groups. Through the think-tac-toe format, students can choose one or more activities based on interest levels and learning styles.

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