Our intern Joe considers the European fairytale tradition . . .
Jacob and Wilhem Grimm didn’t live in a vacuum. They were politically aware academics collecting stories (often from the upper and middle classes) in the brief decades between The Enlightenment and German unification. They lived in a unique place and time within the evolution of European society. And yet, the stories they collected have been retold and beloved at least in part because they cover subjects of such authentic humanity as to make the tales seem timeless.
In Blackberry Blue, and other fairy tales, Jamila Gavin offers six brand-new stories inspired by the tales of the Grimms as well as Hans Christian Anderson, but updates this tradition to reflect our ethnically diverse population. On the surface of it, this collection is for girls and boys who have ever fallen down and noticed the ‘flesh-coloured’ sticking plaster doesn’t quite match or wondered why Father Christmas doesn’t look like their father but, as we learn in Gavin’s tales, appearances deceive. With stunningly beautiful (truly stunning) illustrations, these tales speak to the same authentically human power as what we have from the Grimms because Gavin, like Europe itself, has invited a wider audience to join.
In the 45 years between their first and final editions, the Grimms added and edited and altered their collection. Society was changing, the Grimms were changing, and so their stories changed. They were not the first to tell most of their stories and, two centuries on, we continue to add to and edit and alter the pantheon of European faery tales. With Blackberry Blue, Gavin gives us the next incarnation of this long and ever-evolving tradition.
Are you a Foundation, Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2 teacher? Are you struggling to engage your students with creative writing? Then our joint event with theatre and education company MakeBelieve Arts is for you!
Literature Alive is being held at the Random House offices in London from 1pm-3.30pm on Friday 29th November.
The fantastic MakeBelieve Arts will be providing you with creative strategies to use in the classroom. AND we’ll be bringing our founder Verna Wilkins. Verna is one inspirational lady who has extensive experience speaking at to educators. She recently spoke to Early Years Education students in Birmingham. One student said, ‘She held my attention from start to finish, which is a hard thing to do, and left me wanting more.’
Literature Alive certainly promises to be an exciting and inspiring afternoon.
To find out more and to book your place, click here.