Friday, March 24, 2017

ReFoReMo Day 23: Editor Yolanda Scott talks Fairy Tales with Diversity Twists

By Yolanda Scott



My local school district is 24% Asian, 22% Hispanic, 21% Black, and 29% White. So why are the vast majority of fairy tales offered to these students presenting white, European characters? The origins of the most common fairy tales are often the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, but surely we can do better with our Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall. Children today deserve many more options for what it means to be a hero, a princess, or a little girl visiting her grandma. And even in school districts less diverse than mine, students need windows into other cultures. Here are a few picture books that tell a slightly different tale.






1. Snow White, by Chloe Perkins, Illustrated by Misa Saburi 

2. Little Roja Riding Hood, by Susan Middleton Elye, Illustrated by Susan Guevara

3. Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Grace Zong

4. Beauty and the Beast, by H. Chuku Lee, Illustrated  by Pat Cummings

5. Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion, by Alex T. Smith



Yolanda is giving away a copy of Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See, by Megan Dowd Lambert. With chapters on topics like trim size and orientation, jackets and covers, endpapers, typography, and more, this book is a must-have for anyone who wants to enhance their understanding of the picture book form and appreciate its visual components. To be eligible, please comment on this post and make efforts to read mentor text regularly.
Thank you Yolanda!


Yolanda Scott is the associate publisher and editorial director at Charlesbridge, where she has edited nearly 200 titles since 1995. She has worked with authors and illustrators such as Eve Bunting, Tony Johnston, Kathryn Lasky, Rafael López, David McPhail, Wendell Minor, Linda Sue Park, Duncan Tonatiuh, and Jane Yolen. She is a co-founder of Children’s Books Boston and a board member of the Children’s Book Council, where she has also served on the CBC Diversity Committee. www.charlesbridge.com Twitter: @yoscottbooks

135 comments:

  1. Reiterations of familiar fairy tales are quite popular. It is always good to see different cultures represented in fun books - you picked out some great ones! Thank you for putting them on my reading list.

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  2. Great question. I love Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas. But I would also love to see more traditional fairy tales or folktales from other cultures. Like The Crane Girl by Curtis Manley.

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  3. Fabulous selection of diversity, Yolander! 'Snow White' by Chloe Perkins is on order at my local library here in Australia. This recommendation reminds me of 'Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China' by Ed Young. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lon_Po_Po Unlike the regular version, the protagonist rescues herself and her siblings rather than having to rely on male intervention to do so.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Lon Po Po -- I'm intrigued!

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  4. So great to see diversity in fairy tales! I wish these books had been available when I was teaching a class of only 5% white children. Thanks for bringing them to my attention!

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  5. We are in the midst of learning about fairy tales with my kindergarteners- this is a great list. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. I love "Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas". Thanks for introducing me to some other diverse fairy tales.

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  7. Thanks for this list. I was only able to find one, but I loved LITTLE RED AND THE VERY HUNGRY LION. So clever!

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  8. All children deserve to see themselves in the books they read. Thank you for these mentor text suggestions!

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  9. VERY INTERESTING!
    maria johnson

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  10. Thanks for sharing, Yolanda. I agree that children's books need to reflect our country's diversity. I'll add "Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas" to my TBR list.

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  11. Thank you for your recommendations. Look forward to reading these.

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  12. When my kids were little they used to love making up fairy tales and then read them to me. I may have to go in search of some of those stories! Yolanda, Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  13. Thanks for the suggestions. I love Little Red & the Very Hungry Lion. Can't wait to read the others!

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  14. This is great to see. Thanks Yolanda!

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  15. Hi Yolanda. Fairy tales and cultural tales foremother countries can open the for more diversity. Ty of this list. I already own Megan's READING PICTURE BOOKS WITH KIDS and highly recommend it all all educators and PB writers.

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  16. Since I teach at an international school, I love finding all kinds of fractured fairy tales and those with diverse characters. Thank you for these titles to add to my list!

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  17. Great suggestions! I recently read LITTLE RED AND THE VERY HUNGRY LION and I just loved it. I will be keeping my eyes open for more stories that provide windows into other cultures.

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  18. Thank you for the suggestions. My kids and I enjoy fairy tales with a new twist to them.

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  19. Definitely important to include all readers in today's books. Thank you for these wonderful recommendations.

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  20. Reminds me of a unit I used to teach about fairytales! Love how story is universal. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  21. Terrific suggestions, thank you. I so agree!

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  22. Great examples . Diversity in all stories is a goal for writers. Children deserve no less. Many thanks.

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  23. Yolanda, thank you for your list on diversity in fairy tales. I will add these to my must-read list:>

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  24. We are enriched by the stories of other cultures. I look forward to reading these great selections.

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  25. Thank you for the post! I look forward to reading these retellings with diverse characters. I just received a copy of READING PICTURE BOOKS WITH CHILDREN from the Eric Carle Museum when I attended a workshop. If I win the prize, I'll donate the book to the preschool where I work! Thank you!

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  26. Thanks for these great suggestions.

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  27. I agree: there's a whole world on wonderful stories, so why is there so little diversity? Thank you for sharing these!

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  28. I agree fairy tales from different nations and cultures can only enhance education for our children. Thanks for your post.

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  29. Yes, your post and call for fairy tales that reflect, embrace and include characters that reference our non-fictional worlds and communities is essential.
    Thank you.
    -Jenna Feldman

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  30. Great recommendations! My elementary does a 6 week 2nd grade unit on fairy tales from around the world, retellings and fractured fairy tales. Several of these titles have made their way into the classes, and I'll certainly be recommending the others! Thank you, Yolanda!

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  31. Diverse fairy tales are fun and kids love them. Thanks for sharing. Carole Calladine

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  32. Great way to introduce new words and cultures. Thanks.

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  33. I love twists on fairy tales. And I agree all kids should be represented by these stories. Thanks for the list of books and your inspiring message, Yolanda!

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  34. Fairy tales are such a great way to introduce worlds and cultures. Thanks Yolanda.

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  35. It is fun to see different tellings on familiar tales. And the artwork helps open the gate to a different world for these stories.

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  36. Love your list of fairy tales that crack open the text and allow every child in every school to see themselves in picture books.

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  37. I think it's wonderful that we now have to ability to tell fairytales from other cultures than the usual European white. Some of my favorite tales come from Japan.

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  38. Great list to add diversity to any reading list.

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  39. Thank you for bringing these titles to my attention. I am looking forward to reading them. I agree they are much needed additions to every classroom library.

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  40. I'm so glad to see all of these--thank you for the suggestions. I would also love to see more folk and fairy tales from a range of cultures!

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  41. Having been a Boston Public School teacher, I agree that more of a selection of diverse books are needed I the Kid's Lit market. I've read your choices & I enjoyed all of them. - Alice Fulgione

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  42. These are all fabulous! I loved the pictures in Beauty and the Beast, and the story of Little Red is great! Liz Tipping

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  43. I've been helping with a school book fair this week and was pleased to see the greater diversity in books. We're getting there!

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  44. Fabulous suggestions for bringing diversity to fairy tales. I included Beauty & the Beast in my review of Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella (Paul Fleischman/Julie Paschkis, Henry Holt, 2007) last week & hope to read & review more books like those you feature in the future.

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  45. All are great upcycled fairy tales showing different ethnic cultures which are a joy to read. Good choices Yolanda! Let's keep the trend going turning it into the norm.

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  46. The retelling of these classics are so fun. I also really enjoy reading PBs about other cultures' folktales. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and these great mentor texts, Yolanda.

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  47. It's good to see the availability of diverse fairy tales. We need more!

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  48. Just wonderful! Twenty years ago my Chinese daughter had no fairy tale picture books with characters who looked like her, but we took her to see Disney's Mulan when she was three. She stood through the entire film, riveted to the screen.

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  49. Thanks for the suggestions Yolanda - great choices.

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  50. I LOVE Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas! Thanks for these books.

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  51. Thank you for these suggestions. I'm a big fan of the fractured fairy tale myself - particularly those that look at the story from different cultures.

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  52. Thank you, Yolanda, for sharing these amazing titles showing the diversity needed in children's literature.

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  53. These are all new titles to me. I love fairy tales that offer a twist on the familiar and/or offer a window into a different culture/tradition. I'm looking forward to reading these with my kids this weekend!

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  54. I haven't read any of these. Great suggestions. On the way to the library now. Thank you.

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  55. More books to put on reserve at the library....!!!

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  56. Yolanda,
    I read all of your recommended books and found them fascinating. I liked them all-the recipe in Goldy Luck, the colors in Red and the Very Hungry Lion, African royalty inBeauty and the Beast, the Asian dwarfs in Snow White, th rhyming in Little Roja RedRiding Hood. i'm inspired to do a PB of my own located in another culture. Thank you for your thoughtful selections.

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  57. This is so important, and I've always wondered what authors can do to push this agenda.

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  58. Thank you for suggesting such terrific titles!

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  59. Thank you Yolanda. Fabulous selection of diversity on traditional stories.

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  60. Can't wait to check out these titles! I love to read fairytales from other parts of the world!

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  61. Thanks Yolanda for sharing a good selection of diverse fairy tales. I will be checking out and reading these books from local library.

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  62. Thanks Yolanda for sharing a good selection of diverse fairy tales. I will be checking out and reading these books from local library.

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  63. I haven't seen any of those titles before, thank you for sharing!

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  64. Thanks Yolanda, these look like great titles!

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  65. Great post, Yolanda! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on diversity in fairytales. These are great mentor texts... I can’t wait to read Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, as well as Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion.

    I have always been drawn to folklore and fairy tales which I studied in depth at Norwich University. My appreciation for this form of storytelling has grown and deepened over the years to where I am now an avid collector of older tales that are not your standard fare.

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  66. Thanks for sharing these titles Yolanda. It is so important to have diverse books in all genres.

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  67. My district is the same as yours, and it's a little distressing to not see this reflected in picture books. I wonder if there's an acceptable way to encourage, or even 'mandate' that my unnamed MC, having a universal experience, reflect that without being pedantic.

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  68. With all the princess movies out there, you'd think we'd have a better representation of all cultures from Hollywood. But since Hollywood gets all it's ideas from books, I guess it's up to us to lead the way!

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  69. Great mentor texts for the discussi9n on diverse books. Thanks for the post.

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  70. Thanks for the book recommendations. I haven't read all of these yet but intent to. I love fractured fairy tales, stories set in different cultures, and diverse characters. And if there is a bit of humor in them, all the better.

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  71. Yes! Thank you for putting together a list that celebrates diversity. I like that these books each have a familiar thread running through them while honoring culture, making them both inclusive and approachable. Thank you!

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  72. Hi Yolanda, I had no idea these diverse titles existed. Thanks for sharing!

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  73. YOLANDA: THANK YOU for the inspiration and call to create windows into other cultures. It is SO IMPORTANT to help kids see themselves - and others! - in our books! I recently read "Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion," by Alex T. Smith, and FELL IN LOVE WITH IT! I can't wait to check out the other books you've recommended. THANK YOU!!!

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  74. Thank you, Yolanda, for featuring these excellent titles. Celebrate diversity.
    ~Suzy Leopold

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  75. I adore this version of Snow White, and I really, really liked this Beauty and The Beast, too. I haven't gotten to read the others yet, though I will soon. I'm with you: there's plenty of room for diversifying these tales with illustrations. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, as I begin queries: how could this book be illustrated in a way that celebrates diversity? How can my writing set a stage to allow that to shine through? It's a great challenge that we can set for ourselves. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for making these recommendations!

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  76. I didn't know any of these titles. Thank you so much for bringing them to my attention!

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  77. Thanks for adding these to the list. I've already ordered them from the library. Can hardly wait to read them!

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  78. Thank you for addressing this important topic of mirrors and windows. I also really enjoyed the books on your list, especially Little Roja Riding Hood

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  79. I loved the subtle twists on each of these stories. Thank you for this list and your insight.

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  80. Enjoyed your post on the importance of diversity in Fairy Tales for children. Some interesting mentor texts to explore!

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  81. Great picks, Yolanda! I crave diversity in children's books and am always looking for more options. Wonderful to have soe recommended--and our library has all but one! Good for them!

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  82. Thank you for the recommendations. I especially love Little Roja Riding Hood. Children are so talented and delighted by language, rhythm, and rhyme--what a brilliant idea to bring the Spanish words into that excellent, modern version of the story. The rhythm and rhyme make them all the more accessible.

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  83. I have not read these yet, but the cover illustrations are captivating. Looking forward to the read. Thank you for presenting this selection.

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  84. It's wonderful to see these diverse versions of tales. I also like Rachel Isadora's versions of Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, The Twelve Dancing Princesses...I hope we will continue to see new versions of these tales that are windows/mirrors for our children.

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  85. So enjoyed these! I'm sorry to say I had never read them. I'm hooked! Thanks for the great post!

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  86. I love fractured fairy tales that's why I self-published,
    Amber's Fair-y Tale in 2011. Amber is a cow.

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  87. Loved these recommendations! After reading Little Roja Riding Hood, I had to immediately email my son's Spanish teacher to encourage her to read and share it to delight her classes. Thank you for your post.

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  88. love all the diversity coming into kid lit! great list :)

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  89. I love each of those titles, Yolanda...and I appreciate that you point out how biased most fairy tales are...word to the wise of those writers who do fairy and folktales well...START WRITING with DIVERSITY. :)

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  90. I love fairy tales! Thanks for sharing these titles with us!

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  91. Yolanda thanks for these mentor texts looks like there's room in the PB market for more diverse fairy-tales.

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  92. Thanks for this list of mentor texts.

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  93. Great mentor texts. Thank you Yolanda!

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  94. It's very interesting to read these stories with such twists and diversity in classic fairy tales. Maybe interesting isn't the correct word. Refreshing. Satisfying. Promising. Maybe those are better words. Because, it's about time, right?!
    And on a similar note, I particularly love the modern takes on classic stories where the female is kicking butt and coming away as our hero. Now, that's refreshing!
    Thanks for being here, Yolanda, and bringing these modern fairy tales to our diverse world!

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  95. I can't wait to read these! Thanks for the list, Yolanda!

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  96. These were fun to read! As someone who's not super big on fairy tales, it was fun to read these fractured and/or diverse ones to expand the way I think of them.

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  97. So important to diversify. Thanks for sharing these additions.

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  98. Thanks for these diverse fairy tale pics!

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  99. Yolanda, thanks for your post. These are all new titles for me to explore.

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  100. Thanks for your list of diverse fractured fairy tales. I loved LITTLE RED AND THE VERY HUNGRY LION--the illustrations are amazing and the story retelling seems very fresh.

    I noticed that some of the comments assumed that these were stories from other cultures. They are not. They are familiar European fairy tales retold with a diversity twist. This kind of story works well to blend American traditions with traditions of other cultures. I would also like to see more fairy tales that originated in other cultures.

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  101. An interesting twist to writing fairy tales.

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  102. Thank you, Yolanda for your suggested texts. All of these titles are new to me and I've just requested them at our local library.

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  103. Diversity is a beautiful thing! I love the diverse twists on these traditional tales. Thank you, Yolanda.

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  104. Wonderful PB picks! Thank you!

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  105. I love this list of books! You are right that we can, and should, do better with our Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall. Thanks for the important reminder.

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  106. Thanks for such an important reminder. What a great list of books!

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  107. Thanks for your post. I enjoyed Little Red and Little Roja. I'm especially looking forward to Goldy Luck. I love what you said about our needing a more diverse "Mirror, Mirror on the wall."

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  108. Fantastic picture book list, thank you!

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  109. Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion is one of my favorites. I'll have to check out the other titles. Thanks for the list.

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  110. Thank you for the wonderful list of suggestions, looking forward to reading these.

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  111. More books to read now added to my list!

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  112. Thank you for this informative list of picture books with diversity flair!

    Susan

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  113. Thanks for highlighting these diverse tales.

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  114. Thanks for the list. I love Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion and it's a favorite with the children. Our school district is one-third Native American. Glad to see more diversity in picture books!

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  115. Thanks for sharing these multicultural titles. Each culture has a array of myths, leyends and local stories to share that will enrich any child's life.

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  116. I'm not fond of the standard fairy tales but these mentor texts were enjoyable and laugh-out-loud funny. I would also like to see more folktales from other cultures in PB's.

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  117. Yolanda – thanks for these excellent fairy tale mentor texts and for reminding us to keep searching for diverse tales to tell and to read.

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  118. Great list! It's so important for kids to see and hear these classic tales through different eyes and voices. Little Red is genius. I can't wait for the rest of these titles to arrive in my library request pile. Thanks for posting, Yolanda!

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  119. Thank you Yolanda for these mentor PBs and the inspiration to embrace diversity in our writing.

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  120. Completely agree-such a need for more PB's representing different cultures! Thanks for adding several to my reading list.

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  121. Some the the most well-liked stories I've read are fairy tales from around the world. I need to try my own version someday. Thanks!

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  122. I really enjoyed Little Roja Riding Hood. The illustrations especially. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  123. This is a great list of titles. Everyone needs more diverse titles - especially our youngest readers. Thanks Yolanda!

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  124. These recommendations are excellent additions to my reading list! I am so grateful these books exist to expand the spectrum of fairy tales to help ensure wider diversity is promoted. Thanks for sharing!

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  125. Love love love all these books.
    Great learning exercise studying the unique ways in which each tale is told.
    Thank you for your post.

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  126. I am wondering how to be culturally sensitive about writing from the POV of a culture or race that is not my own. Do you have any advice? I lived in Asia for three years and would like to make my main character Asian but I don't want to blur the lines of cultural appropriation.

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  127. I hadn't heard of several of these books. Thank you for reminding us to consider diversity and for some great inspiration to get us started!

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  128. Thank you for recommending more books with non-white characters in them, and showing us more ways that old favorites can be retold in new and refreshing ways.

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  129. I agree, so thanks, Yolanda! Hmmm. I'd never considered writing one myself.

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  130. Thanks for this great post and recommendations. It's fun to read diverse fairy tales. Some tales were present in different cultures - for example there is a hare and tortoise race story that Native American Indians told that is similar to the European story, except that there are multiple hares involved.

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