Turn around, little house

Ms. Rupa invited people from around the library to record something for a special video for Día. Some people read or told stories; some sang songs. When you watch the video on Saturday, you’ll hear several different languages!

I recorded a children’s song in Italian since that’s the language I have spent the most time studying. My actual cultural background is from various other bits of Europe, largely Russia (or thereabouts– it depends on which year’s borders we’re talking about).

Lately I’ve noticed several books– mostly for older readers– featuring the Russian folk character Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga is a witch who lives in a house with chicken feet. She’s known to fly around in the same kind of mortar and pestle you might use to grind herbs in your kitchen. She also sometimes eats people, but not always.

Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola; illustrated by Emily Carroll
The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure in this graphic novel.

The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh
Happy to be adopted at last, twelve-year-old orphan Mary Hayes soon learns a terrifying secret about her new mother, the mysterious Madame Z.

Egg & Spoon: A Novel by Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked)
An impoverished Russian country girl Elena Rudina and the aristocratic Ekatrina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga.

A Question of Magic by E.D. Baker
Serafina is summoned from her village to the magical cottage of a great aunt she has never heard of and learns that she is meant to become the new Baba Yaga, whose magical role is answering the first question any stranger might ask her with the truth.

Vasilissa the Beautiful: A Russian Folktale retold by Anthea Bell; with pictures by Anna Morgunova
A retelling of the old Russian fairy tale in which beautiful Vasilissa uses the help of her doll to escape from the clutches of the witch Baba Yaga.

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