Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls


And they live freely, happily ever after, without restraint or narrowly defined roles...


Yes Anita! These words and this book fills me with such hope and happiness that I want to put it in the hands of every young girl and boy I meet.


This inspiring collection of 15 beautiful myths, legends and fairy tales from around the world showcases some super strong and fiercely independent girls. There are no heroines reduced to being wives and witches, no by-standers or waiters, damsels-in-distress or spectators. Instead, within these pages you'll find tricksters and thieves, noble girls and fierce queens! There's no Sleeping Beauty sleeping until a kiss, and no lovestruck Rapunzel waiting for her prince. Instead these free spirits are confident and smart, witty and independent and they couldn't care less what other people think.


And what's best, each tale is inspired from around the world, making each heroine beautifully diverse and different from each other. There’s amazing Atalanta, an expert shot with a bow and arrow, and so fast on her feet that no one could beat her fairly in a race. There’s Tokoyo, the Samurai’s daughter, who risked being drowned or devoured by a terrible sea monster to rescue her father from exile. There’s Tatterhood, who dressed in rags and rode on a goat until people accepted her for who she was. And there’s Unanana, whose children were kidnapped and eaten by a one-tusked elephant who hadn’t reckoned with their fearless mother.


Inspired by and written for fierce and fearless girls everywhere, this beautifully illustrated fairy tale collections is as equally charming as it is empowering. An absolute must read!




An Introduction from Anita Ganeri


Let’s forget lovestruck Rapunzel, who waits patiently to be helped down from a tower by a handsome prince. Let’s leave behind Snow White, who lies still in a glass box until a man comes by to rescue her. And let’s ditch Sleeping Beauty, who’s literally asleep for most of her own story. It’s time to move on from stories about women who stand by, mark time, and twiddle their thumbs until other people take action.


This book isn’t about the sort of girls that you usually find in fairy tales. These women are doers, not waiters. They have their own minds and take action. However, that’s not to say that they’re all virtuous figures. Amongst our protagonists, you’ll find tricksters and thieves as well as noble heroes, and girls driven by revenge as well as heroism. These charismatic characters are just as varied as their male counterparts, with whom you may be more familiar—because in myths and folk stories about men, there’s a Loki or Anansi for every Thor or Theseus. And it should be that way for women, too.


The fearless girls of our stories are free spirits who possess the same awe-inspiring qualities of self-confidence, strength, wit, and independence usually attributed to heroes, not heroines. In our heroines’ lives, love at first sight is a thing of myth. Love must be earned through acts of commitment and affection, and, vitally, by mutual respect. Our heroines are happy to be loved, but not at the cost of being claimed as someone else’s property.


Of course, being free-spirited and independent-minded isn’t always easy or popular. It never was. Strong women in fairy tales and folk stories are often painted in a negative light, as sinister stepmothers, evil stepsisters, wicked witches, or hideous trolls. Luckily, the girls in our stories couldn’t care less what other people think. They’ve got their lives ahead of them, and they’re going to lead them in the way they want to, whatever anyone says. After all, why shouldn’t girls be as fearless, fabulous, and free as men? Why shouldn’t girls be heroes too?


So, with all that in mind, get ready to meet some inspiring women who couldn’t give two hoots about doing what was expected of them. And just as well. Thanks to their trailblazing and derring-do, they rescued their friends, family, and society in general from many a life-threatening scrape. There’s amazing Atalanta, an expert shot with a bow and arrow, and so fast on her feet that no one could beat her fairly in a race. There’s Tokoyo, the Samurai’s daughter, who risked being drowned or devoured by a terrible sea monster to rescue her father from exile. There’s Tatterhood, who dressed in rags and rode on a goat until people accepted her for who she was. And there’s Unanana, whose children were kidnapped and eaten by a one-tusked elephant who hadn’t reckoned with their fearless mother.


All of that’s just for starters. The book is filled with tales of fearless women from all around the world. We hope that you’ll enjoy dipping into their action-packed adventures, and also that you’ll feel inspired by their examples to have some awesome adventures of your own.

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