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fairy tales for non white children

(50 Posts)
InARut Mon 02-Jun-08 17:24:14

This is the first time I've posted here -please excuse if I use the wrong terminology, feel free to correct me. I am white, DD is not (don't want to say much more than she has brown skin and long black hair, dark brown eyes.) She adores fairy tales -snow white, sleeping beauty. The other day she was listening to sleeping beauty in the car and started talking about 2 boys she saw in a film - one with brown skin and black hair and eyes, the other with blond hair, very white skin and blue eyes - saying how she liked the boy with the blond hair best because of his 'shimmering' skin and blue eyes. Now this was obviously a phrase she heard from either her sleeping beauty cd or another such but it worries me a bit as it's not the first time she's expressed a preference for 'blondness', for want of a better term. I am not blonde btw but black haired with very white skin/green eyes and although I realise to a certain extent she wants to have skin like me and kids are allowed prefernces, the words to the fairy tales she listens to have been bothering me for a while - they do stress the beauty of white skin and I would love to find some fairy tales that talk about the beauty of skin/hair/eyes that is not white/blond/blue.

Does anybody know of any fairy type tales specifically? FWIW we have the pocahontas/esmarelda type disney things and have multicultural books which she shows little interest in. I think she loves the romance/magic and costumes of the fairy tales most

MsDemeanor Mon 02-Jun-08 17:31:15

Trouble is, our familiar fairy tales are part of an old NOrthern European tradition which is why the characters do not have dark skins. The Arabian Nights have princesses with dark hair and eyes etc
I think it's good you are so sensitive to it.

cestlavie Mon 02-Jun-08 17:33:38

I'd second Arabian Nights. They are beautiful, magical stories.

pollywobbledoodle Mon 02-Jun-08 17:38:02

i am also interested in this....my dd looks white but her grandad is african and her dad is brown skinned.....she has started to say she doesn't want brown skin as it makes her sad, but can't articulate it further

we have "handas surprise" and a couple of these but i've also drawn a bit of a blank on non-worthy (iykwim) stories with a non-white heroine/hero

InARut Mon 02-Jun-08 17:38:52

The Arabian Nights - why didn't I think of it! That sounds exactly the kind of thing. Does anyone know a good version for a 5 year old who is into princesses?

pointydog Mon 02-Jun-08 17:39:44

Do a search for 'traditional tales' rather than 'fairy tales'. Most countries have traditional tales which cover the same sort of ground - beauty, evil, bravery - and the main characters will be from that country.

harpomarx Mon 02-Jun-08 23:43:20

this book is great, dd chose it herself (for the pink cover, natch). It puts across its message really well, namely that the blonde/pink type of princess is not the only kind and definitely not the most interesting!

If she likes Disney, then don't forget Princess Jasmine from Aladdin - dd loves her 'because her skin is the same colour as mine'

I would keep looking for alternative role models, make sure she has dolls with different skin colours etc, they're not that hard to find.

harpomarx Mon 02-Jun-08 23:52:05

hey, how about this Caribbean Cinderella story?

and have just found these Jump at the Sun books that illustrate fairytale classics with black/mixed race characters.They look great!

MarsLady Tue 03-Jun-08 00:04:16

Now stop it all of you! I hadn't seen the new Grace stories (we love them here) and now I've just spent £50 on books and you're all showing me some more that I haven't seen. My poor card will go into meltdown! grin But what a way to go!

harpomarx Tue 03-Jun-08 00:06:57

i'm just about to get my debit card out myself, mars.

haven't seen the other Grace stories yet, but I love that one. Have just had to take it back to the library though [sob]

Sammy3 Tue 03-Jun-08 13:04:16

I got the whole set of Little Princess books from the Book People but I don't see them on there now. I think Amazon have them all under "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought". Thanks, harpomarx, I just have to get those Jump at the Sun ones for my DDs.

EffiePerine Tue 03-Jun-08 13:10:16

The Geraldine McCaughrean transl of Arabian Nights is really good

www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_/203-7874659-3156744?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=arabian+ nights+geraldine

the one I have (from when I was a kid) has lvoely pictures but these look a bit different.

EffiePerine Tue 03-Jun-08 13:12:11

I think I have teh Stephen Lavis illustrated one

claireybee Tue 03-Jun-08 13:31:53

OOh these would be great for DD-she has only just turned 2 but is already pointing out people as "brown like daddy" or "brownyellow like me" shock I guess I wasn't really expecting her to be so aware of her colour...

savoycabbage Tue 03-Jun-08 15:34:00

This is exactly what happened to me. We have Nick Sharratt's Goldilocks. She might be blonde but she has dreadlocks and she isn't white! Her favourite books are the 'jump at the sun' series and in particular Rapunzel by John Kurtz.

Grace Lin books are lovely too.

Cleversticks by Bernard Ashley is a multicultural dream and I also like Double the Love by him which is about a mixed race girl and her two grandmothers. One black and one white.

I would get the jump at the sun books from Amazon.

savoycabbage Tue 03-Jun-08 15:45:41

'Where's Gran' is a nice book too as it doesn't mention race. I think that books like these serve a different purpose from books like 'Handa's fruit'.

The Dora the explorer books are very multicultural and there is a fairytales one I think. We have a AWFUL twee sesame street book called 'red or blue I like you' which I hate but my dd was obsessed with when she was 3. A blue muppet goes round to Elm's house and all his family are there and she is a different colour from them and they are different from each other etc.

savoycabbage Tue 03-Jun-08 16:44:30

You can't shut me up now, I am on a roll.......

Disney are making a movie of the Frog Princess with a black princess. (And presumably a green frog). I hope she is not a cow though as the story doesn't exactly a positive one as far as I can remember. But surely they wouldn't dare make her horrible! grin

InARut Tue 03-Jun-08 19:39:27

Wow, thanks to all these marvellous suggestions, lots more than I ever expected. Have only just had a quick look at some of them and they look like the kind of thing she would like, will have a longer and better look later tonight. For myself personally, as I'm the one who will be reading them to her I would love to find an Arabian nights book that would appeal to a 5 year who is a bit of a scaredy cat (I know, probably asking too much with genies and all that). I looked on Amazon last night and they all seemed just that little bit too old for her atm.

harpomarx Tue 03-Jun-08 20:05:38

InARut - I would be interested to see how a kids' version of the Arabian Nights deals with the prologue, which is very rude, all about black slaves dressing up as girls so they can 'mount' the white slaves when no one is looking!

savoycabbage Tue 03-Jun-08 20:11:07

Get yourself down to the bookshop haropmarx and if they don;t have a suitable ehnic minority Arabian nights book..........throw a grapefruit at them. grin

harpomarx Tue 03-Jun-08 20:18:17

grin savoy

but I'm reformed these days, only throw grapefruits at extreme provocation!

savoycabbage Tue 03-Jun-08 20:32:56

Damn, I didn't know that was the rule. I have started carrying grapefruits for minor irritations and tins of grapefruit for extreme provocation. I am but an amateur.sad

harpomarx Tue 03-Jun-08 20:34:51

reckon any fruit to hand would do - or in your case, lob a handful of brussels sprouts.

savoycabbage Tue 03-Jun-08 20:38:09

I shall stick to the grapefruit I think. I am quite traditional and I have bought a crate full in preparation.

tissy Tue 03-Jun-08 20:38:38

A lot of Jane Ray's princesses have dark skin. Her illustrations are beautiful.

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