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Listen Up: Guess My Name

Hi Friends,

Today's story, How Ijapa the Tortoise Tricked the Hippopotaus comes from the book Can You Guess My Name?: Folk Tales from Around the World, retold by Judy Sierra.

  1. Fairy tales, folk tales, fables, myths, legends...many stories offer the reader with morals, values or advice to consider. What lessons do you think that we couold learn from this story about Ijapa & Isantim? Remember, there might be lots of ways to interpret the story; Ijapa's (the tortoise) point of view yields different insights than Isantim's (the hippo) point of view.

2. Let's think about the word iteration. It is neat to see how characters, events & even stories themselves have been repeated across time & many cultures. It seems humans (a group which you most certainly belong to) can be connected by storytelling. Could it be that we could learn to love & respect others by sharing stories? While you watch this marionette storytelling of the fairy tale Rumplestiltskin, think about ways the story is similar to the Ijapa & Isantim story:

3. Repetition, repetition, repetition. That's how Ijapa helps himself remember the name Isantim. Repetition is a great way to memorize things, can you think of some other strategies? Check out this fun experiment & boost your memory skillz.

4. You might have heard the aphorism: Might Makes Right. What do you think that means? in the story, even though he is smaller & has less social-political-financial power, Tortoise uses his brain to get what he wants, & the animals "cheer." Why? Hippo doesn't seem like a mean bully, he is just selfish & boastful. I really like that he keeps his promise & moves the family to live on the river. That must have been difficult, especially because it might have been tempting to just stomp & snort & refuse to move, or try to find a way to weasel out of the bargain or gain revenge. It's important to notice these kinds of things in your own life; these are moments grown-ups might call character building exercises. Think about times when you are faced with a problem. Do you use your brain? Environment resources? Fists? Words? Do you gracefully accept defeat? Do you cheat & change the rules? Grab a paper & pencil or turn & talk to a buddy & let's try to describe three characters that could be fun to read about in a story. Think of a few sentences to describe each character. Feeling super inspired? Write, illustrate and/or perform a story for your characters.


Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right path, the the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands. Anne Frank

Toodleloo, Kangaroos!

Find out more about author & poet, Judy Sierra , watch Judy Sierra & illustrator Mark Brown at the 2012 National Book Festival, or follow along with another story called Everyone Counts.

Thanks to Pexels contributers for providing awesome video clips.

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