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
Although using traditional fairy tales as the basis for teen books has been popular for a while, most of these books have used European tales as a starting point. For example, Alex Flinn has written lots of fairy tale versions, including Beastly (Beauty and the Beast), A Kiss in Time (Sleeping Beauty), and Towering (Rapunzel). That’s why I was delighted to find these two books based on the stories of One Thousand and One Nights.
One Thousand and One Nights (often known in English as The Arabian Nights) is a collection of stories by many authors and can be traced back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian and Jewish folklore. Although collections of these stories can vary in content, the tales are told within the framework of Scheherazade who soothes her evil husband with her storytelling skills.
Marie Lu, author of Legend, described The Wrath & the Dawn as “an intoxicating gem of a story,” and added, “Don’t be surprised if the pages melt away and you find yourself racing through warm, golden sands or drinking spiced wine in cool marble courtyards,” so buckle up for an exciting journey through Middle Eastern culture.
If your only connection to Arabian Nights comes from Disney’s Aladdin and the Prince of Persia movie or video game, you may want to brush up on some of the original stories. The Thousand Nights and One Night by Jan Pienkowski is a beautiful introduction to the most well-known stories. You might be surprised to learn that the stories of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor were not initially included in collections of One Thousand and One Nights. Although they are from the same geographical area, these were added later by European translators.
Why not begin a reading Grand Tour, traveling the globe in search of stories from other cultures? The Wrath & the Dawn can be your first stop along the way.
Fairy tales have been a favorite type of book for children (and adults) for hundreds of years. Hans Christian Andersen is remembered as one of the greatest of the fairy tale writers. Born in Denmark on April 2, 1805, Andersen’s tales explore timeless themes such as as virtue and perseverance. They have been translated into many languages and have been adapted in both straight-forward and humorous ways by many writers. Most of the picture books in the Library collection that are based on his stories will state on the book cover or the title page that they are adaptations, rather than Andersen’s original story.
The work of Hans Christian Andersen is often compared to the Fairy Tales of the Grimm Brothers. Although these men were living around the same time period, there is a notable difference in their works. Andersen wrote original fairy tales, but the Grimm Brothers traveled around Germany collecting stories which were already in existence. Andersen’s best-known stories include The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and Thumbelina.
Here are a few more of the Andersen Fairy Tales that are fairly true to the original version.
Now take a look at some of the silly versions! I bet you can guess which original tale these are based on.
You can learn more about Hans Christian Andersen by sharing this picture book biography by Karen Hesse. The Dillsboro Public Library has a book containing all the original fairy tales by Andersen.
The highest international book award given to authors and illustrators of children’s books is the Hans Christian Andersen Award. It is awarded every two years and countries are allowed to nominate one author or illustrator for the award. The 2016 Award will be announced on April 4, 2016. The United States nominee is Lois Lowry, author of 2 Newbery Award books: Number the Stars and The Giver. The US has not had a Hans Christian Andersen Award winner since 1998 when Katherine Paterson won the award.