Tour the World in 30 Books: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and the Power of Storytelling

Tour the World in 30 Books Tour

Tour the World in 30 Books is a blog tour focused on introducing readers to our favorite diverse books. It’s in conjunction with a Diverse Book Drive hosted by the CCPL—a small, rural library in an area with a high poverty rate and a very homogeneous population, where people rarely have the means to travel or experience new perspectives. However, the library doesn’t believe that should stop people from learning more about the world around them, so they’re running a Diverse Book Drive through the month of September in an attempt to bring the rest of the world to the county instead. With a focus on MG and YA books, the CCPL aims to expose especially its young patrons to new and diverse perspectives and cultures.

I joined the fantastic group of bloggers helping out Sammie with her mission to foster inclusivity at the CCPL.

As someone who understands lack of access to books via local means very well, I was honored to join this blog tour. Not to mention I got to get a little creative in talking about one of my favorite books!

Scroll further down for my post, but first, stop by the other bloggers who paved the way it through the entire month of September and find out how you can contribute yourself!

If you want to help out this amazing initiative, consider donating. If you don’t have the means to donate, that’s perfectly understandable.

I hope you’ll enjoy the post and the many others that made this blog tour such an incredible initiative.

I was taken captive by the overwhelming creativity we have on the tour! And maybe a bit intimidated as well :p

Support by donating

The CCPL is accepting monetary donations sent via PayPal to

For donations of new or gently used books, send them to:

Sammie Betler
Casey County Public Library
238 Middleburg St.
Liberty, KY 42539

I’ve also put together a wish list of all the books that will be featured on this blog tour. Hardbacks are preferred but not required.

(If you order something from the Book Shop wishlist, please DM @srbetler on Twitter or email, because I don’t believe that site automatically removes books from the wish list.)

Need more ideas? The library has a general Amazon wish list with suggestions, too.

Donations are used at the discretion of the library.

ASOWAR and storytelling

In Roseanne A. Brown’s A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, the first scene you read immediately introduces the two most potent themes of the story: family and tradition.

These two themes are explored in a myriad of distinct ways throughout the book, creating a tapestry aglow with emotion and choices.

To me, opening up to a griot’s call was one of the most impactful ways to transport the reader into a story as well as an act of love and a demonstration power. This scene centers some of Malik’s traditions and agency and it ties in with the end in a very significant way.

I first wanted to write an omen to that power and make up my own folktale within the world of the book, inspired by its events and Rosie’s fascinating worldbuilding.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin cover

Alas, I’ve been struggling with my mental health these past months, and September has proved to be the most challenging month so far, so I found my creativity gauge was running too low for such an ambitious venture.

Nevertheless, there are so many possible honors I could do this amazing book that I had a lot of ideas to choose from.

Ultimately, I decided to keep my focus on mythology and folktales, so I thought it would be fun to share with you two of my favorite West African folktales. Granted, I’d only ever heard them being told orally (you may find this ironic in a post about books…), and so had no written record of them to pick up on.

Fortunately, the internet is a resourceful, if terrifying, place. I found a version of one of them perfectly written, although slightly differing from the way it was told to me (as is natural). The other I tried my best to replicate, so no mocking the writing :p

My favorite aspect of these particular folktales is that they mean to impart wisdom, moral and not, and share and explain the world around us.

As all myths, and as ASOWAR was to me, they try to make sense of the mysterious, explore a world full of wonders, and change something inside us that makes us see that world differently.

They also seemed to fit this tour very well, as they make for excellent bed time stories for children 🙂

Ananse and the Pot of Wisdom

An Ashanti story retold by Jessica York

Anansi, the spider, loves to spin a tale! He can regale you for hours with stories full of wonder, stories full of fun, and stories full of facts, too. Because he is so nosy, Anansi knows almost everything about almost everybody. Almost.

But Anansi wants to know everything! So, one day, he goes to the house of the Sun God. “Oh, mighty Sun God! You see everything and everyone! Won’t you share your great wisdom with me? I’ll use it wisely to spin tales of wonder and fun for everyone.”

The Sun God says, “Anansi, I will put all the wisdom in the world here in this clay pot. You must share this wisdom with everyone.” Anansi promises to do so.

Anansi takes the pot home. He looks deep into the clay pot and sure enough, he sees sights he has never seen before. He hears sounds he did not know existed. “This is too good to give away. I will keep this great wisdom for myself,” thinks Anansi. “I must hide it!” he says, and he looks around for a good hiding place.

Photo of a clay pot by Anne Nygård on Unsplash
Photo of a clay pot by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Anansi decides to climb to the top of the tallest tree. There he will tie up the clay pot and the leafy branches will hide it. He starts climbing the tree, holding the pot in front of him. The climbing is hard! Have you ever climbed a tree while holding a pot? Anansi wishes he had nine limbs!

His youngest daughter is outside and sees what a hard time Anansi is having. “Father, it would be easier if you tied the pot to your back. Then all your limbs would be free for climbing.”

Do you think Anansi is happy to get good advice from his daughter? Think again! “She is right—that would be easier! Why is it some young pup thinks of this when I who possess all the wisdom of the world did not?” Anansi gets so angry that he throws the pot to the ground.

All the wisdom of the world comes flowing out of the pot. Some falls here, some falls there. No one gets all the wisdom, but everyone gets some wisdom. This is why, even today, wisdom is everywhere. If you listen to the stories—stories spun from storytellers all around the world—you will hear it.

Jessica York author photo
Jessica York author photo

Jessica York is the Director of Congregational Life. Congregational Life Staff Group is made up of the field staff of the UUA’s 5 regions. Previously, she was the Co-director of Ministries and Faith Development and the Director of the Faith Development office of the Unitarian Universalist…

King Chameleon and his Animals

In ancient days, all animals of the world lived together in friendship.

No animal judged over another. The animals had no one to rule them. Because of that, many wicked deeds were constantly being done, for no one feared any punishment.

One day, they all met together to discuss the bad state of affairs of the land. In this reunion, they decided to choose a king. But the great difficulty was in choosing the right animal.

Lion was the first to volunteer, but the other animals refused him because, they said, he was too fierce. Wolf was next, but the sheep and the goats, fearing their foe, refused to have him as king. They knew, if he was chosen, they would not be treated fairly.

Long hours passed, and it soon became clear to the animals that it was impossible to please everyone with a single choice. So they decided to find their king another way.

Farther away, sitting below a very ancient tree presiding over the land, was a seat. The animals believed this tree to be the dwelling of the gods.

And so it was decided that they would have a great race. Whichever animal reached the tree and sat on the seat first would be their chosen ruler.

The day of the race arrived. All animals, great and small, readying themselves to run. When the signal was given, the race began.

The hare, a swift runner, quickly outran every other animal. He reached the seat before any of them had even completed half the race.

Now, you might think that this was a sure win. So you may imagine how surprised the hare was when, just as he was about to sit down, a voice stopped him saying “A moment, Mr. Hare. I was here first.”

This voice was the chameleon.

Photo of a chameleon by David Clode on Unsplash
Photo of a chameleon by David Clode on Unsplash

Being able to change colors and blend in with the world around him, the chameleon had grasped Mr. Hare’s tail just as the race began. He had made his skin the same as his surroundings, so no one, not even Mr. Hare, would notice him.

As he held on very tightly, Mr. Hare had reached the seat. And just as the hare turned around and prepared to sit down, the chameleon had taken his chance, and very fast, sat in the seat himself.

Mr. Hare had been tricked and he was very angry for it! But the other animals arrived at the tree before he could do anything.

They were not happy with what Mr. Hare told them, but the agreement was made. The chameleon had to become the king of the animals.

The animals, however, did not wish a king who was not honest. And so, when the meeting was over, they all went away and scattered in all directions, leaving the chameleon alone.

In his shame, the chameleon climbed to the highest mountain, and there he walked to the top of a very high tree. There he lived his nights, calling to his subjects to return.

For a king without subjects is no king.

If you liked these stories, the Anike Foundation is a fantastic resource to read similar folktales!

Tour Schedule

Visit the other stops on the tour hosts, they’ve brought together amazing content and not fail to lengthen your tbr.

✦ September 1 ✦
Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den – Introduction, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears
Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Dating Makes Perfect

✦ September 2 ✦
Lauren @ Always Me – The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

✦ September 3 ✦
Toya @ The Reading Chemist – Felix Ever After

✦ September 4 ✦
Michelle @ Carry A Big Book – Sharks in the Time of Saviors

✦ September 5 ✦
Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA – The Astonishing Color of After

✦ September 6 ✦
Maria @ A Daughter of Parchment and Paper – Patron Saints of Nothing

✦ September 7 ✦
Bri @ Bri’s Book Nook – True Friends (Carmen Browne)

✦ September 8 ✦
Bec @ bec&books – Lobizona
Jorie @ Jorie Loves A Story – diverse TTT

✦ September 9 ✦
Sienna @ Daydreaming Book Lover – Loveless

✦ September 10 ✦
Kerri @ Kerri McBookNerd – Raybearer

✦ September 11 ✦
Noly @ The Artsy Reader – The Name Jar

✦ September 12 ✦
Jacob @ The Writer’s Alley – Forest of Souls

 September 13 ✦
Keri @ Are You My Book – The Tea Dragon Society

✦ September 14 ✦
Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight – The Space Between Worlds

✦ September 15 ✦
Melissa @ Ramblings of a Jedi Librarian – Girl in Translation

✦ September 16 ✦
Livy @ Shelves of Starlight – Clap When You Land

✦ September 17 ✦
Crystal @ Lost in Storyland – American Born Chinese

✦ September 18 ✦
Lili @ Lili’s Blissful Pages – A Wish in the Dark

✦ September 19 ✦
Leslie @ Books Are The New Black – The Poppy War

✦ September 20 ✦
Noura @ The Perks of Being Noura – Love From A to Z

✦ September 21 ✦
Crini @ Crini’s – A Pale Light in the Black

✦ September 22 ✦
Rachelle @ Rae’s Reads and Reviews – Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

✦ September 23 ✦
Dini @ DiniPandaReads – Wicked As You Wish

✦ September 24 ✦
Madeline @ Mad’s Books – Spin the Dawn

✦ September 25 ✦
Tessa @ Narratess – Brace Yourself

✦ September 26 ✦
Kimberly @ My Bookish Bliss – Truly Madly Royally

✦ September 27 ✦
Rena @ Bookflirting 101 – Anna K: A Love Story

✦ September 28 ✦
Susan @ Novel Lives – Burn the Dark

✦ September 29 ✦
Arina @ The Bookwyrm’s Guide to the Galaxy – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

✦ September 30 ✦
Maya @ Awesome Reads – Jackpot

4 thoughts on “Tour the World in 30 Books: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and the Power of Storytelling

  1. I loved this post! I read ASOWAR recently and I loved the focus it had on oral storytelling and folklore, I remember reading about Anansi in a book I had when I was young so it was good to hear about him again. Also the story about King Chameleon was really cool, the last line was amazing. Thanks for this!


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