When my daughter Alice asked for a Cinderella book not too long ago, I knew without her saying so that she meant the glass-slippered Walt Disney version.
And I understand the appeal, for sure.
But I also think it’s remarkably fascinating how so many cultures across so many eras have claimed a “Cinderella,” from the Greek-Egyptian Rhodopis, to the Chinese Yeh-Shen, to the Irish Fair, Brown and Trembling. How each story speaks to a universal ache to be finally recognized as one’s true, so-much-more-than-they-took-you-for self. And, in the best versions, a will to fight for a happy ending. To get to that ball.
(The American Library Association has a very cool list of multicultural Cinderellas, and Lee & Low sells a great collection, including stories from Filipino, Hmong, Mexican, Indian and Cambodian culture).
Anyway, I found Alice a Little Golden Book edition of Disney’s Cinderella because I’m for letting her decide what she reads. She got Tomie dePaola’s Mexican-inspired Adelita too, though. Because I’m also for making her world as big a place as I can.