No, this is not a travelogue of Cinderella on a Grand Tour adventure! Instead, think of this as a way to explore other cultures through a certain type of story. Cinderella stories usually have these features in common: an evil stepmother and stepsisters, a father who fails to stop Cinderella’s mistreatment, a mutual attraction with a person of a higher social status, a ball or other community gathering, and a lost object. The Cinderella-type story has been traced back to Yeh Shen, the heroine of a ninth century Chinese tale.
Part of the fun of reading these stories comes from noticing the way the details vary based on the setting. Our print collection of books includes Cinderella stories from Egypt, Korea, Persia, Ireland, Africa and more. The main character is usually female, but there are exceptions such as The Irish CinderLad by Shirley Climo.
I like to check in the back of the book or on the dust jacket to find out if the author is retelling a traditional tale. Authors have also written original Cinderella tales, placing the same plot elements in new cultures. For example, Robert San Souci wrote a Caribbean version and Alan Schroeder placed Cinderella in the middle of Appalachia.
Those just begin to the scratch the surface! There are many Cinderellas that fall into the “fractured fairy-tale” category, featuring diverse casts of characters like cowgirls, penguins, or skeletons. Maybe you already have a favorite!
If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella by Laura Whipple presents the familiar story from different perspectives in 33 poems. How can you resist a book like this? Haven’t you ever wondered what the glass slipper thought as so many maidens struggled to squeeze their feet into place?
Cinderella stories are not just for children! You can find similar stories for all ages up through adults. Just ask and we’ll find you one that is perfect for your reading tastes. You can find much more information online about Cinderellas stories, including on the American Library association website: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/resources/multicultural