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Thursday, September 28, 2017


Bethan Woollvin's Rapunzel was high on my "get" list for Book Expo this year because it was such an empowering children's book. I knew that I needed to get it not just for myself, but for you all, dear readers.

We are all familiar with the traditional Rapunzel tale, but what would happen if we took away her reliance on a man (the infamous handsome prince) and just had a girl who was tired of being bossed around by the evil witch? We would have this Rapunzel, a new type of heroine who leaves the castle all the time to do her own thing and one day, when confronted by the witch who found a leaf in her hair, convinces her the wind blew it in to the castle, then leaves the tower. She cuts her hair off behind her and leaves for good, scaring witches henceforth. Now that's a strong female lead.

I was particularly drawn do this story because I want my child to see portrayals of girls that don't necessarily do things for males or because of males; I want him to see girls that are strong in their own right. Don't you think this Rapunzel is a more fun girl to hang out with? I sure do, and not just as a friend, either. I want my child to think of all people as those who make choices for themselves and don't stand by while people don't ask for their consent. Believe it or not, that's an issue in this book. The witch never asks Rapunzel if she can snip off some of her hair to sell it; she just does it without permission. It's a hell of a signal, then, when Rapunzel just whacks off all of her golden, luscious hair and walks away from it for good.

I'm excited to have this book on my son's bookshelf, and I'm looking forward to reading it and talking to him about it. It's really amazing to see old stories that don't exactly work for our family retold in ways that do. 

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