Growing Reader



Magical Thinking:
Folktales, Fairy Tales, and Fables
from Around the World

by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

My daughter has never had an interest in Disney princesses, but homemade Halloween “princess” costumes attest to the fact that she has always had a sense of adventure, a love of magic, a fondness for cool outfits, and the words “once upon a time.” Fairy tale audiobooks were among her first favorite stories, and I get that. One of my most cherished memories is of being confined to bed with scarlet fever. It was AWESOME. I got ice cream, and was brought tote bags filled with all sorts of enchanting tales.

biggyprintcapeletprincessFor all of us who still wish, on occasion, for a magic wand, a godmother who makes it all better, a noble quest, or a royal crown, here are a few family faves beyond Grimm, all with an international flair.

Around the world, fairy tales tell universal truths as they feed us with magic and mystery. My little princess still gets that far away look in her eyes as soon as she hears those four words: Once Upon A Time.

And so do I.


  • Thank you for reminding me of Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters! I remember being enchanted with that book as an education major in college, but I had forgotten about it. A note for people looking for the Barefoot Books you recommend (Indian Tales and Barefoot Book of Princesses) – these are generally no longer available from other retailers, but can be purchased through a Barefoot Books Ambassador (

  • Patricia Porter

    I was an elementary school librarian for 35 years. My teachers always used picture books in their classroom. I felt it was my job to introduce my students to classic
    fairy tales and folktales around the world. The titles you mentioned were a few of the ones I used and own. (I had 2 girls of my own.) I was given the honor of creating library collections for 5 schools all with different clients. These books were always included. I wish I was still working with children.

  • Tracey

    Thanks for mentioning The Jumbies! But also thanks for reminding me of Mermaid Tales from Around the World which I own, and have not read in AGES!