Happy (almost) National Tell A Fairy Tale Day! On February 26, National Tell A Fairy Tale Day is celebrated in different settings. One way to celebrate this holiday-of-sorts is to read fairytales in your classroom, library, or home and/or showcase them to your kiddos. A fairy tale, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (such as fairies, wizards, and goblins)”. Therefore, fairy tales do not just have to come from European cultures, even though those are the ones we are most familiar with because of the dominant culture (i.e Snow White, Rapunzel, Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretal).

To help you do National Tell A Fairy Tale Day in a more equitable and diverse way, we have made a list of Five Diverse Fairy Tales. These five diverse books are either reimagined fairy tales with diverse characters and/or cultural elements or fairy tales from minoritized cultures. I tried to include diverse fairy tale books authored or illustrated by people of color. My students have really enjoyed these books because, as members of society, we have been instilled with a fascination for magic and things beyond our natural world. No child (or adult) is “too old” for a fairy tale, especially one of these picture books!

Colorful Pages - Five Diverse Fairy Tales

(1) The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale, by Ying Chang Compestine

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

the-runaway-wok

In this fairy tale, a boy from a poor family goes to the market and gets an old wok. His family is surprised when the wok turns out to be magic and tricks a rich family into sharing their wealth. This is a great picture book to talk about the element of three in fairy tales, author’s message, or the importance of being generous.

(2) The Musubi Man: Hawaii’s Gingerbread Man, by Sandi Takayama

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: mostly Exploration; a little Representation

The Musibi Man

The Musubi Man is the Hawaiian version of the gingerbread man. Chalk full of cultural elements from Hawai’i, this new gingerbread-man-esque character escapes from an old woman’s kitchen and runs around. Musubi is a very beloved food in my ohana and hale, so this is always a funny book to read!

(3) Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, by Natasha Yim

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: mostly Exploration; a little Representation

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

Yim’s picture book is another Chinese New Year tale (just like The Runaway Wok). It is a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where Goldy Luck’s mother asks her to take a plate of turnip cakes to their neighbors, the Chans. It is a very cute book that helps explore Chinese culture passively through different elements included in the book.

(4) Sleeping Cutie, by Andrea Davis Pinkey

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

Sleeping Cutie

While this picture book is just barely a fairy tale, I needed to include it because of its relatable story and characters. Sleeping Cutie is a play on the title of “Sleeping Beauty”. However, instead of her problem being too much sleeping, Cutie LaRue has a hard time falling asleep. Nothing her parents tried worked until a magic toy gets involved!

(5) Cinderella (Once Upon a World), by Chloe Perkins and illustrated by Sandra Equihua

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation

Cinderella, Once Upon a World

This diverse fairytale is one of many reimagined fairy tales in a series. Chloe Perkins has created a book series where classic fairy tales, like Cinderella and Rapunzel, feature characters of color.

Cinderella is retelling of the story of Cinderella with illustrations set in Mexico. Sandra Equihua is Mexican and adds diversity and amazing cultural elements to Chloe Perkins words through art.

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