Fairy Tales with a Black Consciousness

Essays on Adaptations of Familiar Stories


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About the Book

The all new essays in this book discuss black cultural retellings of traditional, European fairy tales. The representation of black protagonists in such tales helps to shape children’s ideas about themselves and the world beyond—which can ignite a will to read books representing diverse characters. The need for a multicultural text set which includes the multiplicity of cultures within the black diaspora is discussed. The tales referenced in the text are rich in perspective: they are Aesop’s fables, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Ananse. Readers will see that stories from black perspectives adhere to the dictates of traditional literary conventions while still steeped in literary traditions traceable to Africa or the diaspora.

About the Author(s)

Vivian Yenika-Agbaw is a professor of language and literacy education at Penn State University, University Park.

Ruth McKoy Lowery is an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Laretta Henderson is an associate professor at the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, Ruth McKoy Lowery and Laretta Henderson

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7129-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1412-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: Multiculturalism and Children’s Literature (Vivian Yenika-Agbaw) 1
Constructing Race in Traditional European Tales: Pinkney’s Characters at Cross-Cultural Borders (Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, Ritam Dutta and Annette Gregerson) 13
Pinkney’s Aesop Fable: Illustrating Cultures from Outside/Inside (Joy Meness, Vivian Yenika-Agbaw and Xiru Du) 31
Old Tales in New Clothing: Isadora Peddles Exotic Africa? (Vivian Yenika-Agbaw and Laura Anne Hudock) 43
The Pied Piper of the Harlem Renaissance: Colin Bootman’s The Steel Pan Man of Harlem (Katharine Capshaw Smith) 60
Not All Cinderellas Wear Glass Slippers: A Critical Analysis of Selected Cinderella Variants from the Black Perspective (Deborah L. Thompson) 74
Told with Soul: Joyce Carol Thomas’s When the Nightingale Sings as a Revision of the Cinderella Story (Dianne Johnson) 92
Caribbean Folk Tales and African Oral Tradition (Ruth McKoy Lowery) 101
Afro-Latin Folktales and Legends (Dellita L. Martin-Ogunsola) 117
Moving West with Ananse (Nancy D. Tolson) 145
Masks in Storytelling, or How Pretty Salma Turned the “Tale” on Mr. Dog (Barbara A. Lehman) 159
Selected Black Animated Fairy Tales from Coal Black to Happily Ever After, 1943–2000 (Richard M. Breaux) 173
“Snow White in Africa”: Afrocentric Ideology in Marilyn Shearer’s Tale (Tyler Scott Smith) 186
Black Aesthetics in Revised African American Fairy Tales (Laretta Henderson) 201
Conclusion: Traditional Tales and Children—Nurturing Competent, Imaginative, Cultural and Critical Readers (Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, Ruth McKoy Lowery and Laretta Henderson) 222
About the Contributors 227
Index 231

Book Reviews & Awards

“The essays in this book show teachers and educators the many possibilities that these retellings can bring to ethnically diverse classrooms”—International Research in Children’s Literature.