Children’s Diverse Fairy Tales

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The Little Mermaid is pretty familiar, no big changes from what you would expect from a telling of The Little Mermaid, but it is set in the Carribean with vibrant island colors and a notably dark-haired and darker-skinned Little Mermaid. I love the illustrations by Nivea Ortiz, they are vibrant and keep little ones who aren’t reading independently yet enthralled.


The Princesa and the Pea is a funny re-telling of the classic fairy tale Princess and the Pea. Set in Peru and with a dash of Spanish words throughout the rhyming text tells the story of a prince who is being prepped for marriage and his mother who is making sure that only a real princess makes the cut. The queen is absolutely a monster-in-law, but the sweet prince makes up for her and then some. This book is a fantastic read-aloud, and I can’t give it away, but there might be a funny twist at the end too.

The Princess and the Pea by Rachel Isadora by Rachel Isadora is stunning, the illustrations will transport readers to Africa. There are no twists or changes made to the classic tale and the text is short enough for a circle time read. Children adore the rich colors used in the illustrations and I love that there are no big changes to the story, simply a different lens and location.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas  is a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears that takes place during Chinese New Year. Goldy Luck is asked to take some food over to her neighbors but when they aren’t home curiosity gets the better of her and she gets into all kinds of trouble.
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that has a sick Auntie with spots and it’s up to Little Red to get her what she needs. Instead of a wolf, there is a Hungry Lion who has no clue what he’s getting himself into!  Kids love this book, the illustrations are hilarious and the story is fun. I don’t think it’s particularly African, in the way that Rachel Isadora’s books successfully incorporate cultural references in a much deeper way, but this is a fun read that has a brave little heroine and is definitely worth reading and finding a place for it on your bookshelf.
The Ghanaian Goldilocks This is a story about respect and how there is a difference between being comfortable in other people’s houses and crossing lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Beautiful book that celebrates these lessons and the West African culture of Ghana.
The Real Story of Stone Soup In this version of Stone Soup a fisherman gets tricked into helping to make soup. This book is told from the point of view of the fisherman but the illustrations show a different point of view. (China)

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I retired from Elementary Education and now teach an online Masters Degree course in Literacy for pre-credential teacher candidates. I also supervise teacher candidates for two universities. I am a teacher, a mentor, and a writer. I collect resources from various sites and articles to assist my teacher candidates. I am happy to share them with teachers, students, homeschool parents. I will add to them routinely.

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