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Tiny Owl’s Fairy Tale Campaign continues

Buy Cinderella of the Nile 

For thousands of years, people have been telling stories. From this rich global heritage, we can find fairy tales that are strikingly similar but also different. Each culture has their own version of these tales, and, even today, fairy tales have a lasting significance. Children from all over the world still grow-up listening to them.

Our new series, One Story, Many Voices explores well-known fairy tales told from unique perspectives from all over the world. So, with this in mind, we contacted authors, and experts, asking them the same two questions:

1) What versions of well-known tales were you told as a child? Who told them to you? And where did they come from?

2) Fairy tales often come from stories told a long time ago. Do you think these stories are still relevant today? And, if so, why?

We have a wonderful response from Jack Zipes.

Jack Zipes: 

Jack Zipes

Fairy tales deal metaphorically with our problems 

1. My mother often read the Grimm’s and Andersen’s fairy tales to me and my brother. We also loved the Disney films, though I am now very critical of them. I come from a Russian and Ukrainian Jewish background, and my father, born in America in 1910, a year after my grandparents had arrived in New York City, used to tell me tales about his days in Minsk and how he used to fight polar bears on his way to school. So, I was very familiar with all kinds of tall tales told by my father.

2.Almost all the major classical fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, etc. are deeply rooted in oral traditions throughout the world. They are hundreds of years old, and once people began to learn how to read and write, these tales were written down by various authors. Consequently, there are numerous variants of the classical tales, and the reason why we keep returning to them, no matter what form they assume, is because they deal with nitty gritty problems in all societies such as rape, child abuse, incest, sibling rivalry, racism, sexism, domination that we have not been able to resolve despite the “civilizing processes’ aimed at making humans more humane. Given the perverse transformation of civilizing processes in today’s societies, we need fairy tales more than ever! We need them because they deal metaphorically with our problems and give us hope that one day, we humans may become humane.

Jack Zipes is Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature at The University of Minnesota. His research specialises on fairy tales. 

  • Check out the first response to our fairy tale campaign by Beverley Naidoo author of Cinderella of the Nile, the first in our new One Story, Many Voices series
  • Read this introduction by Tiny Owl publisher Delaram Ghanimifard of our One Story, Many Voices series
  • Cinderella of the Nile selected as ‘One to Watch’ by The Bookseller

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