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Cinderella Liberator

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In her debut children’s book, Rebecca Solnit reimagines a classic fairytale with a fresh, feminist Cinderella and new plot twists that will inspire young readers to change the world, featuring gorgeous silhouettes from Arthur Rackham on each page.

In this modern twist on the classic story, Cinderella, who would rather just be Ella, meets her fairy godmother, goes to a ball, and makes friends with a prince. But that is where the familiar story ends. Instead of waiting to be rescued, Cinderella learns that she can save herself and those around her by being true to herself and standing up for what she believes.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published May 7, 2019

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About the author

Rebecca Solnit

103 books6,746 followers
Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering  and walking, hope and disaster, including Call Them By Their True Names (Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction), Cinderella LiberatorMen Explain Things to Me, The Mother of All Questions, and Hope in the Dark, and co-creator of the City of Women map, all published by Haymarket Books; a trilogy of atlases of American cities, The Faraway NearbyA Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in DisasterA Field Guide to Getting LostWanderlust: A History of Walking, and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). Her forthcoming memoir, Recollections of My Nonexistence, is scheduled to release in March, 2020. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at the Guardian and a regular contributor to Literary Hub.

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Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,750 followers
February 20, 2019
I’ve been thinking about fairy tales a lot recently. Specifically feminist fairy tales. They aren’t a particularly new concept but in recent years there’s been a distinct increase in their numbers. At their best they can provide an innovative, sly commentary on everything that’s wrong with the Disney model. At their worst, they can be preachy, didactic, and not very much fun. The fun is important because that’s pretty much the only reason kids like fairy tales in the first place. What child wants to be spoonfed some moral lesson couched in fairy tale trappings? A bit ironic, I guess, since there was a period back in the day when fairy tales were separated from their semi-sociopathic, very adult, beginnings and given a quick coating of moral teachings. Now we’re doing it again and the results are decidedly mixed. Generally what happens is that you’ll get a collection of tales, and each one will be a familiar fairy tale but with a modern twist. There’s nothing particularly original or kicky about these, and half the standalone feminist fairy tales do the same thing but in picture book form. That’s what’s so interesting about Rebecca Solnit’s Cinderella Liberator. It’s a reinterpretation of Cinderella, but done in such a way that’s fairly original. Want to look at Cinderella through the mores of the 21st century? I suggest pairing yourself up with an artist that’s been dead for 80 years. Why it’s so crazy, it just might work.

We all know the classic story of Cinderella. A girl who worked while her stepsisters flounced. A young woman who grew strong from her chores, meeting people at the marketplace, understanding the logistics of keeping everyone fed. Little wonder that she’d also pine for something as fun as a great ball. Uninvited, she was clearly put out, but a fairy godmother helped her with the details and soon it was ball time. All this, we already knew. What changes is what happens when the prince, a perfectly decent guy, tracks her down afterwards. Instead of marrying him, the two start talking about what they really want. For her, to have a cake shop of her own. For him, a little more freedom and actual work. And when the good fairy tells them they have the power to take their future into their own hands, you can bet they do so and with stellar results.

The author’s name on this one caught my eye. Solnit . . . Solnit . . . why did I know that name? Well, my day job is buying adult materials for my library and you just don’t forget a book with a title like Men Explain Things to Me. She’s apparently written seventeen of the darn things, but Cinderella Liberator is the first children’s title she’s tried. This could always be considered a point of concern. Adult authors can be very touch-and-go when it comes to writing books for kids. It’s baffling to watch these exceedingly clever wordsmiths just muck up picture books left, right, and central. Solnit’s a bit different. It helps that she has a strong framework to work off of, and there are some nice moments. Lines like “She looked like a girl who was evening, and an evening that had become a girl.” Then there are the distinctly feminist touches. Solnit makes all the critters turn into footwomen and coachwomen, which wouldn’t really be a problem except that the accompanying illustrations don’t really back that change up. Other changes are a bit more surprising. In the story Cinderella’s stepmother transforms into “the roaring in the trees on stormy nights” which is one way of getting her out of the way.

And yeah, I won’t lie to you. There’s going to be a child reader out there that gets super upset that Cinderella doesn’t “get” to be a princess. You know kids. Changing the stories they know by heart isn’t always received with, uh, bliss. This begs the question of what age, precisely, you should hand this book to. I’d say that if a kid is ready for a text-heavy book and isn’t a fairy tale / Disney fanatic then feel free to read it to them if they’re anywhere between 5-7. If, however, that kid is utterly bonkers for the princessey aspects of the original, wait until they’re a little older. Say, 9 or 10 or even 11 or 12. An age when they’re a bit more intrigued by reinterpretations and stories that break down problematic texts. There’s a lot here to chew on and discuss with older kids. Great lines and the changes by and large work.

That said, one change Solnit made to the story was just baffling to me. For whatever reason, Solnit could not keep Cinderella parentless. So it is that the fairy godmother tells Cinderella at the end that, “You are the daughter of a great judge, who had to go far away to help others and thought his new wife and her daughters would be kind. You are the daughter of a great sea captain, who lost her ship at sea and will come home one day on another ship.” This just clutters up the story considerably. I mean, it’s nice to have parents and all, but at the same time it’s hard to care about this judge or sea captain, particularly when all you really want to do at this point in the text is find out what Cinderella’s going to do with her life. Additionally, Solnit follows this section up with the fairy godmother, after expounding on how marvelous Cinderella’s real parents are, saying, “nobody is good or valuable because of who their parents are, or bad because their parents are bad.” Really? Because you just made it clear that our heroine has killer cool parental units, whereas her stepsisters got stuck with a lady that ultimately dissolves into loud air due to her rotten nature. Strike this section from the book and you’d have a sleek, slim, handsome story. Which, for the most part, it really is.

A great author once told me the difference between fairies and princesses. Fairies, she pointed out, are free. They zip about on wings. They have magic. They get to have adventures. Princesses, in contrast, wear corsets. They hang out in towers. Sometimes, if they’re lucky, they get to swim, but that never really ends very well. Half the time they’re yearning for freedom, but the minute they get it (whether they’ve escaped sleep, the villain, poverty, you name it) they immediately get married and trapped in an all new way. I mean, if you had to choose, you’d go with being a fairy anytime, right? But there’s much that I can understand about the appeal of princesses. Many of the books about them show them getting wildly fancy. The food looks good, and dress-up is fun. And who doesn’t want to be gorgeous once in a while, I ask you? That’s what kids are asking for when they ask for princess books. Maybe they want the romance, but for a lot of them it’s the beauty. Therefore, if you want to do a fairy tale that keeps its heroine from ever becoming a princess, you need to appeal to the fancy and the fun, but not go so overboard that real life pales horribly in comparison. Solnit says that when she was writing her version of Cinderella she came across Rackham’s silhouette illustrations and fell in love. Not only that, he provided the perfect solution to this thorny problem.

It’s interesting to think that Arthur Rackham isn’t remembered for his silhouettes much at all, today. His paintings are always so grandly grotesque and strange that anything else he might have done could fade from memory quite easily. Looking at the art for this book, however, I was just floored by the man’s attention to detail. There’s a shot of Cinderella holding out her ragged dress, holes apparent and even her little sleeves spitting threads at the shoulders. It’s good but look at Cinderella’s feet. Rackham has taken the time to make her little toes splay out a little. The distinct gap between the big toe and the rest of the foot keeps her from looking like she’s wearing ballet slippers or something. It’s a meticulous attention to detail that stands out to this day. Solnit also points out that in selecting this particular art, “Silhouettes meant that the story might not feel so racially determined as the other images by Rackham”, a fact that I noticed as well. There’s a final shot of Cinderella speaking to some local children that felt so modern (the kids’ clothes and hair honestly feel diverse and contemporary) I more than half wondered if the image had been tweaked for a 21st century book. It hadn’t, for the record.

Author Shannon Hale tells a story that perfectly highlights the problems that come with having problems with princesses. There was a well-meaning teacher reading her Princess in Black books to his students. As part of the lesson, he made it very clear to the kids that when Magnolia was in her princess form, it was a bad thing, whereas when she was in her butt-kicking superhero form, that was a good thing. Hale protested this lesson, pointing out that there is nothing inherently wrong with one model or the other. The whole point is that Magnolia is free to CHOOSE whether or not she wants to be a princess or a superhero. Being a princess is absolutely fine if that’s what you choose. It’s having those choices taken away from you that make for big problems. Cinderella in Solnit’s book is given that choice. She’s allowed to say what her dreams are, and then she goes out and attains them. And they’re not huge ridiculous dreams but small, happy, manageable ones. Ultimately, that’s the gift Ms. Solnit is giving kids with this book. Thanks to Rackham’s art, they get the beauty of a princess story, and thanks to Solnit they get a feminist retelling that doesn’t sacrifice fun. When I read the title of this book, I assumed it would be about a Cinderella that freed everyone like some kind of 18th century Katniss Everdeen. Instead, she frees herself. And that’s pretty good too.

For all ages.
Profile Image for Whitney.
131 reviews50 followers
November 23, 2019
Overall: Meh. Cute fairytale but nothing super special about this.

The Good: Absolutely love the illustrations. Also like that Cinderella wants to open a cake shop.

The Bad: This story is nothing special. It is supposed to be a retelling of Cinderella and portray Cinderella as much stronger and liberated. It really doesn't do much and there are many other fairy tales, Disney stories too, that portray strong female leads with their own minds. This is just a simple retelling with a few differences but I didn't like much of anything about it other than the illustrations.
Profile Image for Laura y sus libros.
338 reviews140 followers
July 16, 2021
A todos de una manera u otra nos han contado el cuento de La Cenicienta o si no seguro que alguna vez hemos visto la peli popularizada por Disney. Yo por ejemplo cuando pienso en la pedli y el Hada madrina me viene a la cabeza la canción Bibidi-babidi-bu.

Si esta película es de 1950 ¿de cuando creéis que es el cuento original? Pues aunque yo pensaba que el original era de Perrault, investigando he visto que ¡no es así! Su primera versión escrita parece ser que fue en 1634 en una recolección de cuentos populares pero que para encontrar su origen podemos irnos a la civilización griega (info de la Wikipedia así que ya sabéis que no tienen por qué ser datos contrastados pero os recomiendo leerlo porque es super curioso todo lo que pone sobre este cuento) . ¿Y por qué os cuento todo esto? Pues bueno lo primero porque me ha parecido interesante y lo segundo porque está muy relacionado con este retelling que vengo hoy a reseñar. Y es que los cuentos a lo largo del tiempo se deben ir adaptando al mundo en que vivimos para que los niñ@s obtengan sus enseñanzas y moralejas acorde con las realidades que ell@s viven.

Una vez puesto en contexto, puedo pasar a reseñar en sí mismo esta delicia de libro. Lo primero decir que la edición es una maravilla, la portada invita muy mucho a tocarlo y a querer leerlo. De primeras me recordó a Mary Poppins pero si te fijas lo que lleva la chica de la portada ¡es una tarta!
Aparte de la cubierta, el contenido del libro es fantástico, sin perder la esencia de la historia original nos va presentando a una Cenicienta fuerte, trabajadora, empática, con sus deseos e inquietudes más allá de conocer al príncipe azul. Y es que Cenicienta de sus “desgracias” extrae lo mejor y lo convierte en oportunidades.

Es una historia llena de enseñanzas a lo largo de todo el cuento, de forma natural va introduciendo pequeños mensajes de gran contenido y nos habla de cuidado a la naturaleza, de respeto, de aceptación, de amistad, de superación y perdón. De que no siempre lo que parece lo mejor es lo que uno quiere, que cada uno tenemos nuestros deseos y circunstancias y la importancia de respetarlos. No quiero hacer spoiler pero me parece importante reseñar que en este caso Cenicienta no es huérfana e introduce así la autora parte de la realidad de las familias actuales. Ahh y también decir que me gusta el final de las hermanastras Paloma y Perlita (no recuerdo si siempre se han llamado así pero me chocaron los nombres).

En definitiva me ha parecido muy interesante esta vuelta de tuerca al cuento, esta liberación no sólo de nuestra protagonista y la verdad es que me gusta muchísimo más el final que el que nos han contado siempre. Representa una Cenicienta mucho más acorde con el siglo XXI y cuya moraleja va mucho más allá de hacer que las niñas quieran convertirse en princesas.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
425 reviews182 followers
May 20, 2019
2.5 stars. This is an odd little book that defies any number of easy categories. It's a picture book, but the pictures are recycled Arthur Rackham silhouettes from a much earlier, less liberated Cinderella, and the proportion of text to image is rather high. It's a fairy tale retelling, but an openly political one that is more concerned about its messaging than engaging with any mythopoeic canon. I don't know that it would have gotten published at all without Rebecca Solnit's existing name recognition. However, despite the fact it occasionally annoys me in its didacticism, I don't disagree with any of Solnit's major points and enjoy her writing. I gave it an extra half a star because oddity interests me.

In this version, Cinderella is a cheerful girl who finds some pleasure in her duties - baking for her family, going to the marketplace, and generally being active and useful - and is simply unaware that she has options besides being a servant for her unkind stepmother and oblivious stepsisters. She expresses a wistful wish for help on the night of a big party she wasn't invited to, and poof! Fairy godmother, transformations, new realizations - and of course, a pleasant evening at a party with nice food and a friendly prince.

No huge changes there or elsewhere until perhaps the end, but gender stereotypes are consistently flouted, sometimes more obviously, sometimes fairly subtly:

"No, said the dancing teacher in their house full of music, and
No, said the blacksmith as she worked iron at her forge"

Did you catch those pronouns? Good job, you suitably enlightened person! There's also some upfront messaging, which I think I actually prefer:

"Paloma was sewing extra bows onto her dress, because she thought that, surely, having the fanciest dress in the world would make you the most beautiful woman in the world, and being the most beautiful would make you the happiest. They weren't very happy, because they were worried that someone might have higher hair or more bows than they did. Which, probably, someone did. Usually someone does. But there isn't actually a most beautiful person in the world, because there are so many kinds of beauty."


"Sometimes that roaring is inside your own heart and head, and then it dies down there, too, the wind in all our heads that says we need more, we need to grab what someone else has and steal it away like the hungry wind. Everyone can be a fairy godmother if they help someone who needs help, and anyone can be a wicked stepmother. Most of us have some of that hunger in our hearts, but we can still try to be someone who says, I have plenty, or even Here, have this and How are you?"

I don't know that I would have enjoyed this as a child (where are all pretty pictures?) or a teen (hypersensitive to and easily insulted by didactic books), but I've mellowed out enough to enjoy Cinderella Liberator. Perhaps it belongs in that slim category of picture books for adults.
Profile Image for Emi.acg.
461 reviews134 followers
January 22, 2023

Me gustó, al principio es bien parecido al cuento que todos conocemos. Una madrastra malvada, sus dos hijas (salvó que acá se llaman Perlita y Paloma) y Cenicienta a quien la tienen haciendo todo. No muestra tanto la maldad con la que la tratan, está centrado en ella y posteriormente su encuentro con el hada madrina, dónde a partir de este momento empieza a cambiar la historia.

Me gustó, es como debería ser este cuento. Quizás la versión antigua aplicaba en su tiempo pero ya no actualmente, el sueño de las chicas ya no es ser una princesa, al menos de una buena parte. Me gustó que hablara del cuidado de los animales, del perdón y de los sueños de las personas, entre otras cosas.

Si siento que le falta algo, especialmente en términos de redacción. Cosa que no sé si es culpa de mi edición. Pero por lo demás yo feliz de algún día leerselo a mis hijos o sobrinos, si es que llegan xd

"Además —prosiguió el hada madrina—, nadie es bueno o valioso porque sus padres son quienes son, ni malo porque sus padres son malos . Las personas son buenas y valiosas por sus palabras y sus actos,... "

"Cualquiera puede ser un hada madrina si ayuda a quien necesita ayuda y cualquiera puede ser una madrastra malvada. La mayoría de nosotros albergamos parte de esa avidez en el corazón, pero podemos tratar de ser alguien que diga: «Tengo mucho», o incluso: «Toma, te doy esto» y: «¿ Cómo estás?»."

"Ahora son demasiado jóvenes para contraer matrimonio, de modo que no hace falta que nos preocupemos por esa parte de la historia."
Profile Image for Emma.
693 reviews
June 13, 2019
Oh my god this book is perfect! First off, it has the classic Arthur Rackham illustrations, which are perfect and beautiful, and the only recognizably classic thing about this book. There's no blaming of the stepsisters, who were raised to think and behave as they do, and they get a happy ending, being productive and happy. The Prince and Cinderella become friends (as neither has has a true friend before) but they don't get married, because they're far too young for that, and they don't grow up to get married, either. Cinderella has learned to dance with the boy who delivers the mail and the girl who delivers the newspaper. At the ball there are "people" in beautiful gowns and there are "people" in satin jackets and velvet breeches. The clothes may be traditionally gendered but the wearers are not. The coachman and footmen have become a coachwoman and footwomen and the fairy godmother makes sure to ask them and the horses if they would like to stay as they are or if they would like to be returned to their former states as mice, lizards and rats. Cinderella's mother hasn't died but is a Sea Captain who's been lost at sea, but returns. Cinderella later takes care of refugee children, too. But the details don't feel shoe-horned in, they feel natural, and nothing feels preachy, just beautiful and natural and kind. God I love this book!
Profile Image for Flybyreader.
644 reviews154 followers
September 25, 2021
“But her friends don’t call her Cinderella, because she doesn’t wear a dress with holes burned by cinders and ashes on it anymore.
They call her by her real name, which is

From the author of Men Explain Things to Me, comes a beautiful retelling of our favorite childhood story: Cinderella. In this feminist version Cinderella liberates herself from her evil step-mother and siblings by asking for help and following her dreams of becoming a baker. The prince becomes a dear friend, not a hero, who saves her from a life of misery. The glass slippers sit at the windowsill of her shop, she wears boots made for a more practical life and creates her own path to be happy. I love Solnit’s style and narration, her non-hostile simple feminist approach. A must-read bedtime story for little girls and everyone who want to read this ancient fairy tale from a different perspective.
198 reviews2 followers
July 30, 2019
Best freakin' Cinderella ever.
One of my favourite parts was the description of the people twirling in dresses and the people in satin suits. Not women twirling in dresses, not men in satin suits. People. Such a small change but a world of difference. :)
Profile Image for Mariota.
577 reviews28 followers
February 23, 2023
Un 10. No conozco a la autora, es el primer libro que leo de ella, pero vamos, que voy a anotar el resto. El libro es una joya, la escritora es otra joya y la historia de sus abuelas es la historia de tantas niñas y tantos niños explotados. Todos queremos una vida mejor y podríamos tenerla si las personas hiciéramos algo por ello.
Un 10. Un relato para releer. Me ha encantado cómo está escrito.
Profile Image for Tonstant Weader.
1,185 reviews66 followers
May 15, 2019
Cinderella Liberator reimagines the classic story with a feminist and egalitarian twist. Cinderella still is forced to work while her stepsisters laze about adorning themselves. Her stepmother is still evil and a fairy godmother intervenes. The bones of the story remain the same.

But Solnit adds a fresh perspective, not just liberating Cinderella, but nearly everyone from the strictures of custom and the false narrative of scarcity.

Cinderella Liberator is excellent proof that a feminist and egalitarian fairy tale need not be pedantic. Solnit not only offers agency to Cinderella, but to the prince, the stepsisters, and the animals. The story is full of humor and lesson that scarcity is the result of greed is clear, but not preachy. Choosing Arthur Rackham’s work to illustrate the story gives it a connection to the past, to the world of fairy stories. This is a wee book and can be read in one wee bite, but it is a delicious bite.

I received an e-galley of Cinderella Liberator from the publisher through Edelweiss.

Cinderella Liberator at Haymarket Books
Rebecca Solnit author site
Arthur Rackham at Wikipedia

Profile Image for Christine.
6,611 reviews478 followers
December 31, 2019
Cinderella is not a sisterhood friendly story. After all, the title character is in direct competition with her sisters (step or blood) to marry a man. It’s really not a sisterhood story. It might be a mother or daughter because both groups of girls are helped either by a mother or mother figure. Solnit’s retelling corrects this.
The marriage of a more modern Cinderella with the older illustrations by Rackham is strange but it does actually work. The language is wonderful, and the book should be read aloud. There are nice additions, like about the animals that get transformed, as well as more information about the fairy godmother.
It was nice.
Profile Image for Sara Dahaabović .
243 reviews91 followers
November 21, 2020
Recently there has been a move where authors rewrite old bedtime stories and they change the events to make the whole story more feminist .. I really like that, but I felt this one took it a bit too far. For example, why would the prince and Cinderella end up being friends? I don't see anything wrong with Cinderella falling in love with the prince. I am a feminist but I honestly don't like when feminists say they don't want to be in any relationships, because it doesn't make sense... nobody wants to be alone and we shouldn't be telling girl this message. I attended a musical a while ago where they did a similar thing (but better), they changed the story to make sure that cinderella and the prince spent more time talking and they eventually fell in love, which was really smart. One thing that I really liked in this story is the part where the Godmother told cinderella that you never asked for help and that's why she never intervened.

Profile Image for Ylenia.
132 reviews13 followers
October 19, 2020
Letta tutta d'un fiato questa breve rivisitazione della favola di Cenerentola, che mi ha lasciato una sensazione piacevole devo ammettere.
Qui Cenerentola non si sposa con il principe e i due non vivono per sempre felici e contenti nel loro castello, dopo essersi conosciuti al ballo e dopo essersi ritrovati durante la ricerca della misteriosa proprietaria della scarpetta di cristallo (tra l'altro per niente comoda). Qui i due rimangono amici, ma ognuno impronta la sua vita all'insegna della libertà personale, fare finalmente nella propria vita quello che hanno sempre sognato ed aiutare gli altri a liberare e stessi e poter vivere nello stesso modo.. Vedremo quindi un principe-contadino che è stufo di far niente nel castello e vuole vivere a contatto con la natura, le sue sorellastre che diventeranno una grande sarta e una grande parrucchiera e resteranno sempre grandi amiche di Cenerentola, la quale continuerà a fare la vita semplice che faceva sotto gli ordini della sua matrigna (l'unica figura che si mantiene negativa fino in fondo come vuole la tradizione della fiaba) a contatto con le persone e dandosi da fare, ma all'interno della propria pasticceria, dove accoglierà bambini bisognosi e li aiuterà a trovare una nuova famiglia e una sistemazione a scuola.
Non c'è che dire ho trovato un sacco di messaggi positivi in questo breve libretto, un'ottima storia che consiglio di leggere ai bambini, ma anche agli adulti! Consigliato.
Profile Image for Kitty.
1,130 reviews76 followers
May 3, 2021
minu meelest väga armas muinasjutu uusversioon, kus Tuhkatriinu lugu ei lõppe balli ega abieluga, vaid - nagu Solnit järelsõnas ka üle seletab - väljapääs mõttetust orjusest on sisuline ja tähendusega töö (mitte printsi-printsessi jõudeelu). tähtis on olla loomade vastu hea ja leida sõpru ja kõiki maailma asju ei pea endale ahnitsema, jagub kõigile. abiellumisega pole kiiret, kunagi jõuab ja eks siis näe, kellega üldse. ja kooki olgu ohtralt!

eriti südamlik oli mu. meelest see osa, kus kõik hobusteks ja teenindavaks personaliks moondatud hiired-rotid-sisalikud said pärast ise valida, kas tahavad hobuseks jne jääda või eelmiseks loomaks tagasi. kedagi ei sunnitud millekski! (noh, tõld-kõrvitsalt vist küll tõesti ei küsitud arvamust.)

illustratsioonideks on igiammused Arthur Rackhami siluetid ja need sobivad siia loo juurde nii kenasti.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,345 reviews526 followers
April 23, 2019
The familiar fairy tale is given a fresh twist or two by Solnit. I found that this new version filled in some blanks and read between the lines in a way that will encourage modern readers to embrace the story without compromising their girl power. The ARC I read did not include the Arthur Rankin illustrations which was quite a disappointment.

Thank you to Haymarket Books and Edelweiss for a digital ARC of this new release.
Profile Image for Constance.
601 reviews3 followers
June 24, 2019
Enlightened. Buy this for all the little girls in your life.
Profile Image for Katie.
675 reviews65 followers
May 5, 2021
This is a retelling of Cinderella that shifts the focus away from romance and marriage and onto women working for themselves and communities helping each other.

I really enjoyed Solnit’s fairy tale style at the beginning of Call Them By Their True Names, so I was surprised to find her retelling here so dry. It’s very matter of fact, and the language doesn’t have any real poetry about it, unlike other writing I've read by her. I actually liked her afterword, where she talks about why she wrote the story, better than the story itself.

Some of the messages here were great, but rather obvious, even for children. Glad I read it, but found it quite dull. Rating: 4/10

Blog: awonderfulbook.com | Instagram: katiemotenbooks | Twitter: katiemotenbooks
Profile Image for Irene Alva.
165 reviews296 followers
September 17, 2021
“Las personas son buenas y valiosas por sus palabras y sus actos.”

Cuando era pequeña podía pasarme horas y horas viendo películas de princesas. Creyendo en esas historias, imaginando a la Irene del futuro convertida en una princesa.

Pero tuve la suerte de que me crió una mujer realista, independiente y feminista, y siempre supo educarme en la independencia, en la autonomía, en entender que yo por mi sola valía más que nada, que no necesitaba a nadie a mi lado y que sí, los cuentos de princesas estaban muy bien, pero que solo eran ficción.

Pero entiendo que no a todxs nos criaron igual. Porque entiendo que hay mujeres que sigan pensando que necesitan un hombre para ser más mujeres, para ser felices o que son una pareja a su lado la vida no vale la pena.

Está en nuestra mano educar a las nuevas generaciones en la autonomía y la independencia y el feminismo. Porque ser feminista no es odiar a los hombres, no es creer que las mujeres somos mejores que ellos o que merecemos más derechos. Es la igualdad. Es entender que da igual el género, todos somos iguales y todos merecemos los mismos derechos.

Así que que Cenicienta sea independiente y decida que ella no necesita un principe en su vida, pero sí un amigo que este hombro con hombro, es el mejor mensaje que le podemos dar a los niños y niñas que empiezan a leer.

Porque gracias a la vida los libros nos educan, y gracias a ellos muchas veces somos capaces de cambiar nuestra forma de ver la vida, de abrir los ojos, y de entender que no todo es blanco o negro, que no estamos en una sociedad machista o heteronormativa. Entender que el mundo está cambiando, y que nosotros lo vamos a seguir cambiando.

Y que esos niños que hoy cogen este tipo de lecturas, cuando crezcan entiendan la vida como debe ser entendida: de manera igualitaria.
Profile Image for Anmiryam.
776 reviews132 followers
March 6, 2019
I love fairy tale retellings -- they can be extraordinary, but Rebecca Solnit's first foray into writing for children appeal more in concept than in the actual reading. I felt it is too heavy handed and too lacking in originality to work for all but the smallest children. This close rework of the Cinderella story is both transparently didactic and lacking in the imaginative reach into children's emotional truths that makes the original tale work so well. It may be best to introduce this 21st savvy retelling to tots who aren't yet familiar with the original since they will be the most open to it, not having preconceptions about what this fairy tale is supposed to be. Solnit's heart is in the right place, I'm certainly supportive of the economic and emotional messages she embeds into this classic, but think they would be better served by original stories.
Profile Image for Kate.
981 reviews6 followers
June 29, 2019
A brilliantly rendered retelling of Cinderella in which Solnit accurately portrays the wicked stepmother as one who believed there wasn’t enough for everyone and she wanted her own two daughters to have more. In the afterword Solnit writes, “. . . The prince also seems to need liberation. In the end, even the stepsisters needed to be set free, and if the stepmother was irredeemable, it’s because she’s all of us: insatiable craving and its underbelly, selfishness incarnate. She’s who we all are when we feel poor amid plenty.”
Profile Image for Rachel Jorgensen.
131 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2019
I may be in the minority in that I don’t hate Cinderella. Do I think it’s dated? Yes, but it was written in the 1600s and the popular Disney movie was made in 1950. Some things won’t feel fresh. At it’s core the story is a fairy tale with magic and fantasy for children. And a great opportunity to talk to kids about some ways we can be better. Stories like this one are great ways to introduce a modern twist and even start that message. Will I read this to my children, yes.
Profile Image for Nora.
219 reviews6 followers
November 18, 2020
This is a wonderful retelling. It is about empowerment, not the in-your-face kind, but for respect and acceptance of choices made and about kindness and sharing and excess not only for the humans in this tale but also for the transformed small animals that helped to get their friend, Cinderella, to the ball 🐭✨
(Teen fiction)
82 reviews3 followers
November 26, 2019
May this version replace the classical one under the Christmas tree for every little boys and girls!
Profile Image for Amélie Dupuy-Seltmann.
3 reviews2 followers
May 1, 2020
Cleary a must read ! You do not always have to be more than friends. Thanks Rebecca Solnit for adding on to all alternative and inspiring stories.
Profile Image for Susanna Neri.
607 reviews17 followers
July 18, 2020
Bello ed istruttivo, unico neo troppo breve, ci sono tematiche che meritano tante pagine in più, soprattutto se la scrittura è lieve e intensa come questa
Profile Image for SRUTHI VIGNESHIKA.
135 reviews15 followers
September 27, 2021
"𝕄𝕒𝕣𝕣𝕚𝕒𝕘𝕖 𝕚𝕤 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕙𝕠𝕨 𝕨𝕠𝕞𝕖𝕟 𝕕𝕖𝕥𝕖𝕣𝕞𝕚𝕟𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕚𝕣 𝕖𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕠𝕞𝕚𝕔 𝕗𝕦𝕥𝕦𝕣𝕖 𝕠𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕚𝕣 𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕟𝕥𝕚𝕥𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕤𝕠 ℙ𝕣𝕚𝕟𝕔𝕖𝕤 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕟𝕖𝕖𝕕𝕖𝕕 𝕒𝕟𝕪𝕞𝕠𝕣𝕖"
Cinderella liberator is a re-imagination of age old fairytale - with feminist Cinderella. In this story, Cinderella meets her fairy god mother, attends the ball and befriends the prince. The normal one ends here but in this story she doesn't wait for the Prince charming to save her. She follows her passion to save herself.

This story even though being a children fic, it had so many things to say for adults too. I got motivated after reading this. I loved the feminist Cinderella. In childhood we were taught to believe in love, that the man will come to help us and Prince charming, but this book says to believe in yourself 😍. We all need this. Trust me and just read this book. It will hardly take 1 hour of your time. Such a short story with great insight. If I haven't convinced you much to pick this book, then read the quotes I mentioned here.
One thing I learnt from this book and believe strongly is - You need not be a fairy god mother or a witch to perform magic and help others. You need not require magic to liberate pain from someone in need. "There is always enough for everyone in this world, only if you share it properly"

"We can still try to be someone who says "I have plenty" or even "Here, Have this" and "How are you?"

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