Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Cinderella and Africa
This isn’t an anti-princess rant, honest. Been there, done that, several times.
Today, I heard an interesting perspective from a mother at my daughter’s school. She coordinates a local book drive for the African Library Project. Each year, her girl scouts collect at least 1,000 donated children’s books and raise $500 to ship them. The books eventually find their way to schools in Africa. Titles not appropriate to send remain with local charities.
Most countries in Africa teach English or French, so a language barrier isn’t an issue. Some collected books are weeded out because they are about American holidays. Other books are weeded because they convey things that are completely foreign to them, such as a board book about a fire station. But there are a lot of things the kids do relate to, such as animals, even animals not found in their native countries.
This subject caught my attention because I’m in the process of setting up a children’s used book store (a story for a future date) and routinely weed out books containing merchandised characters and Disney movie books. What Disney movies these days aren’t about girls appreciated for their pretty faces?
The Cinderella story is included in my list of yechhh! books. My family owns the anti-princess books The Paper Bag Princess and Cinder Enda. I’m not a fan of a fairy tale where a woman must be rescued by a man, a man who initially becomes interested in her because of her nice clothes — and likes her at the end of the tale because she’s beautiful.
However, this mom told the story of a girl in Botswana whose favorite book is Cinderella. She could relate to it in a most personal way.
Video embedded after the jump.