Why Monkeys Live in Trees and Other Stories from Benin

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-1-931896-21-4
Publication Date
September 2006
Page Count
90 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Why Monkeys Live in Trees and Other Stories from Benin

Raouf Mama

This is a book for both young and old lovers of folklore. Why Monkeys Live in Trees and Other Stories from Benin is a rich tapestry of oral tales that come from a wide range of Beninese ethnic groups. They include trickster tales and sacred tales involving the greatest and meanest of mankind, as well as nature and the world of spirits. These ageless tales remind us of the power of love, the perils of greed and pride, and the redemptive virtues of courage, humility, and kindness.

The Western African Republic of Benin (formerly Dahomey) is gifted with a great folktale tradition, one of the richest in the world. As pieces of oral literature and cultural history, these tales shed light on some of the values and beliefs as well as the customs and traditions of the people of Benin.

About the Author

Raouf Mama is a Distinguished Professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University. His books include Why Monkeys Live in Trees and Other Stories from Benin (2006), winner of the 2008 National Multicultural Children’s Publication Award; The Barefoot Book of Tropical Tales (2000); Pearls of Wisdom (2001, with Mary Romney); and Why Goats Smell Bad (1998). Mama regularly travels to various parts of the world to work with teachers, education professionals, and children, using storytelling as a multicultural teaching and motivational tool. He has worked in partnership with UNICEF and the School of African Heritage in promoting education and cultural awareness through storytelling.


"Read aloud, these relatively short stories from the West African republic of Benin captivate the listener." —Center for Children's Literature, Carthage College

"...the lessons learned by the characters and the audience become timeless, leaving all of us, young and old, to reflect on past experiences and bring our new-found insights into the future." —Neighbors

"These tales, which are repositories of traditional culture and history, reveal much about not only the people of Benin, but also of human nature." —Skipping Stones