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by Mark Binder
Cinderella Spinderella is an illustrated ebook (and audio book) for families
More than the dress or the shoes, Cinderella Spinderella tells the story about a young woman powerfully asserting her identity.
"It doesn't matter what you look like… It's who you are that counts."
—The Fairy Godmother
Winner: Moonbeam Award for Best Multicultural eBook for Children!
The classic story of Cinderella has been modernized and urbanized in this beautifully illustrated edition, written with delightful humor and a surprising twist.
Cinderella Spinderella uses ebook technology to allow readers to choose how Cinderella looks. Is she Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, or from the Indian subcontinent? …You can pick!
I enjoyed this version of the Cinderella story. The evil stepsisters are super hateful and are easy to dislike. Cinderella, as in any version, is too nice to be treated as she does. In this version she is in a wheelchair, which made it even worse to read about the way she was treated.
This more modern version of Cinderella is sure to make this story seem fresh for a new generation of readers. The fact you can choose how your Cinderella looks is a fun extra. It doesn't change how the story goes, but it can add to the enjoyment of the story. I wish there were more stories out there that gave this option to children.
Stories don’t have to be “white”
Just before Christmas there was a brouhaha about the a proposal in Slate that Santa Claus might be more effective for many people if he were depicted as a penguin, rather than a jolly fat white man. (See Aisha Harris ”Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore“.)
The response from Fox News was over the top. (See Fox News video clip). Megyn Kelly declared “for all the kids watching” that not only was Santa Claus a white man, but Jesus was also a white man.
How to reinterpret a story to be inclusive without ruining a classic story
About a decade ago, I was performing stories for a racially mixed group of young people in Boston. As a white guy, I was viewed with some level of suspicion. Who was I to come into their neighborhoods and share my interpretation of the world? That same summer I was in Newport, working with youngsters with severe physical disabilities. My goal was to create a story in which any child in these hugely different groups could find himself or herself.
Cinderella Spinderella turned out to be a perfect fit because, as the Fairy Godmother declares, “You can’t dance in glass slippers, but a girl in a wheelchair can really rock those shoes.”
None of the kids in Boston had a problem with a Cinderella in a wheelchair. It became part of the story.
At the same time, I was very careful never to describe what Eleanor (as she is named in my version) looks like. I had a good guess that none of the listeners would see me (the white guy) as the embodiment of Cinderella, but I always hoped that they might see themselves.
When Steve Mardo and I sat down to create our illustrated version we had a challenge. How do we depict Cinderella? As you know, the Disney Corporations version of Cinderella is everywhere. But that wasn’t the point of my story.
Again, the Fairy Godmother speaks, “It doesn’t matter what you look like. What matters is who you are.”
So we took up the challenge, creating an ebook with five different Cinderellas and five different princes to give the readers twenty-five possible choices. Any child and any family could connect.
Interestingly enough, one of the first reviews we received, on masalamommas.com, called us out for not going far enough in creating a more diverse set of images. I wrote back and agreed. If we’d had the resources of Disney or Fox, we might have tried, but to be honest, I wrote and perform a story that’s all about someone owning her identity in a world where color isn’t supposed to matter any more. I know it does, but maybe this book, and maybe a penguin Santa can move it one step closer.
As for Cinderella Spinderella, I think it’s an excellent story about a young woman learning to own her identity. It really doesn’t matter what she looks like, what matters is who she becomes.
At the end of the clip on Fox, Megyn Kelly asks, “How do you just revise it? In the middle of the legacy, in the story, and change Santa from White to Black?”
Ms. Kelly, we simply begin to change the stories.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Mark Binder is an award-winning author and story performer and a parent. Over the past twenty years he has shared his Bed Time Story Book series with tens of thousands of readers and listeners around the world live, in print and in audio recordings. His most recent book is Cinderella Spinderella.
Detailed bio at: http://lightpublications.com/about_mark/
Kindle edition: amazon.com/Cinderella-Spinderella-ebook
iBooks Edition: http://georiot.co/2KDN
Google Play Audio: play.google.com/store/music/album/Mark_Binder_Cinderella_Spinderella
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this ebook for review purposes. Regardless, all opinions are my own. I was not required to leave a positive review.