Category Archives: fairy tale

Tell A Fairy Tale Day

For centuries fairy tales have captivated readers with their magic and mystery.   If pressed, nearly early everyone could share at least one traditional story from memory.  They are part of cultural heritage, tradition and identity.  However, what is so fascinating about fairy tales is their universality.  The number of tellings and re-tellings of traditional stories across the ages have transcended physical and cultural boundaries.  In honor of “Tell A Fairy Tale Day”, take time to discover new interpretations of old tales from cultures across the globe or read a new fairy tale from a culture that isn’t familiar to you.  This is a great opportunity to compare and contrast versions.   “Once upon a time…” is the gateway for travel to far away lands, without having to stray too far from what you already know.


The Princess and the Peaprincess and pea by Rachel Isadora.   The traditional story of a prince in search of a wife is brought to East Africa with vibrant illustrations that place the classic tale in a new location.  Isadora, a Caldecott award winner, also re-imagines the classic stories of The Twelve Dancing PrincessesRapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel in an African setting.  PB

cendrillionCendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci.  The enduring tale of Cinderella as told through the eyes of a West Indian washerwoman who discovers she possesses a magic wand that can grant her goddaughter happiness.  Other wonderful interpretations of the classic Cinderella story include Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from ChinaThe Egyptian CinderellaAdelitaThe Rough-Face GirlThe Irish Cinderlad The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella StoryThe Korean Cinderella , and The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece.   Enjoy them all!  PB

red riding hoodLittle Red Riding Hood Stories Around the World: 3 Beloved Tales (Multicultural Fairy Tales) by Jessica Gunderson.   There isn’t just one story about a little girl and her sick grandmother – discover how the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood plays out in Germany, Italy and Taiwan.   Finding all three stories in one book is perfect for young readers to investigate the similarities and differences between re-tellings.  Recommended as a read-aloud with a grown-up for younger readers-  some versions are a little intense.   Available in the series is Snow White Stories Around the World: 4 Beloved Tales, also by Gunderson, and Cinderella Stories Around the World: 4 Beloved Tales and Rapunzel Stories Around the World: 3 Beloved Tales, both by Cari Meister.  RA/ER-1/2

russianRussian Fairy Tales  compiled by Aleksandr Afanasev.  The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore library has a large collection of classic tales from around the world.  These editions contain traditional cultural stories known for generations, filled with witches, princes, and other unique characters.  Reading these stories, originally from the oral storytelling tradition, provides a window into the beautiful culture of Russia.  Also recommended are the other editions in the extensive Pantheon library, including Folktales from India Japanese Tales Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies African Folktales Latin American Folktales: Stories from Hispanic and Indian Traditions Norwegian Folktales Yiddish Folktales African American Folktales: Stories from Black Traditions in the New World American Indian Myths and Legends  and their compilation book Favorite Folktales from Around the World , edited by renowned author Jane Yolen.  RA/MR- 5/ YA

blue fairy bookThe Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.  The first of Lang’s fairy books contains 37 enduring classic fairy tales.  A staple for generations, this is a good start for anyone looking to revisit the stories as they were originally compiled into an English language collection.  Lang pulled from a variety of sources including the Grimm brothers and Charles Perrault, as well as from the oral storytelling tradition.  The fairy tales continue in his many additional volumes.  MR-5   

hcandersenHans Christian Andersen’s Complete Fairy Tales translated by Jean P. Hersholt.   Recommended reading for those older readers who are looking for the most recognized versions of classic fairly tales like “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Mermaid”.   The bulk of Andersen’s work is from the mid-1800’s and his stories can be more intense than the well-known, softer versions we are familiar with today.  MR/YA

brothers grimmThe Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.  Containing all 156 tales from the 1812 and 1815 original publications of the Grimm brothers stories, this is where you’ll find the dark and gritty fairy tales when magic isn’t always nice and happy endings aren’t guaranteed.  Without doubt it is a classic, but also not necessarily the best place to start with young children.   Another recommendation to broaden your knowledge of the where the modern day re-tellings got their start.  MR/YA 

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