Thank You For The Soapbox: Guest Blogs & More

What an interesting week! Aside from personal ickiness (like getting my car broken into), it’s been pretty amazing.

I was invited to speak to two undergraduate classes in the College of Education at Texas State University by Professor Dianne Pape. Her classes were attentive, curious, and willing to believe almost anything I told them about fairy tales and how best to brainwash kids with them. I mean, how best to keep the cultural tradition alive.

(On a side note, Dianne introduced me as an “expert in fairy tales.” Which made me laugh so hard! And then, about twenty questions into the Q&A, I realized – I may not be an expert yet… but I’m getting there.)

It was fun to have a soapbox so readily provided, in such an amazing forum, to share my (extremely fervently held) beliefs that fairy tales – especially the original, un-sanitized ones- are truly valuable for children.

And then, today, the illustrious  Association for Library Service to Children handed me another soapbox, on an even larger stage, to say some of those same things. So, what do you think? Have you noticed kids are less and less exposed to fairy tales? Why do you think that might be?

I’d love to hear from you, in their comments section or mine.

And – while you’re at it – what is your favorite obscure fairy tale? I’m trying to become an expert, you see, and I’d love to see which classic tales resonated with my writer friends/blog readers. And if you can tell me WHY you love a fairy tale, I’ll send you a bookmark and stickers in the mail!




Posted in Essays, Miscellaneous on 11/16/2012 08:01 am


  1. Great post on fairy tales! Robert Bly once cited a study that showed that kids exposed to the older tales (as opposed to watered-down or mashup versions) do better in life.

    My favorite tale right now is The Little Mermaid, for the purity of the heroine’s spirit.

    But I also love Bly’s coverage of Iron Hans (in the bestselling book Iron John) and his lesser-known fairy tale treatments (available on audible now for 1.39 to non-members) Into the Deep: Male Mysteries (The Elves) and Male Naivete and Giving the Gold Away (The Devil’s Sooty Brother). So much wisdom there, for men and women.



    • Nikki Loftin

      Thank you so much! I’m going to hunt down the Sooty Brother one you mentioned – I’m about to read a book by the amazing Donna Jo Napoli with that story in it. Creepy…
      Oh, If you email me your address, I’ll send you some book swag!


  2. I think that children are exposed to the original fairy tales much, much less. Anyone with the young girl, however, can attest to how the Disney princesses are practically forced upon them at every turn, so they are familiar with those versions of the story. As a Kindergarten teacher, I’ve noticed that the children in my past few classes are much less familiar with nursery rhymes. I suspect it is because they are such an American thing and my classes have been fabulously multicultural. Many of the parents were not born in America and would not think to seek out and share the rhymes with their kids.


    • Nikki Loftin

      Jessica – thanks for the insightful comment! Yes, I wondered if it was an issue of having different fairy/folktales, not just fewer of them. I think that is the case with some – for instance, lots of kids knew the story of La Llorona (which I also reference in my book), but those kids also knew Hansel and Gretel! Maybe they had phenomenal teachers? Or well-read parents? Or they loved fairy tales so much they’d sought them out on their own? I hope all three.
      What concerns me more is that parents and teachers are opting away from the old fairy tales to new, more sanitized versions. I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention to this, but the stories themselves have been altered – even the classics like The 3 Little Pigs – to take out any “violence” (aka consequences). So they’ve been reduced from foundational, ancient teaching stories to… sweet, meaningless stories about animals and magic.
      All I can say about the Disney versions, is that I hope they steer kids back to the originals… but it’s a faint hope. 😉
      If you send me your address, I’ll send you some swag!


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