Fairy tales, not necessarily in their scholarly definition, but allowing for a few other folktales and the occasional legend or myth, are the life's blood of childhood. Fairy tales give us a map for the journey of life, and if parents can see through the time-bound elements of societal values and lessons, they can help children to navigate the treacherous waters of learning to live as a human being with wisdom and courage.
That's a bit of a weighty introduction. Still with me? Of course you are. Here, then, are five of my favorite fairy tales to share with children who are stepping through the doorway from early childhood dreaminess into the open-eyed world of learning to know things for oneself. These stories are perfect for older five-year-olds right up to middle school, but six and seven might be the ultimate age for enjoyment.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorites. The websites these links take you to are worth exploring -- so many great stories to share with the kids in your life! Read aloud, or learn to tell them yourself in my upcoming Be a Storyteller ecourse! (details coming soon!)
And remember, when you come to something that makes you unsure about telling a particular story, whether it's a turn of phrase that rings false in your ear, or a character who meets an end that seems too harsh, take your time. If it's not the right story for you or for your listener, then just let it go, and find the story that's your Goldilocks moment -- Just Right!
Sara Renee Logan has been telling stories to everyone who would listen since she was seven. She organized storytimes for her college roommates, and spent a year at Oxford studying folklore and folktales. Many years as a Waldorf teacher allowed her to tell stories about everything from Baba Yaga's hut on chicken legs to the water cycle to the life of Joan of Arc. Sara shares her life with her partner, Melanie, their son, and an unreasonable family of pets. She continues to share her love of storytelling and stories with audiences of all ages, specializing in bringing the wild beauty of folktales to young and old. Sara writes about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.