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CYNIC WARNING!  Hard Hat Area…

Jane Yolen


Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the 20th century because of her many fairy tales and strorybooks. The author of over 150 books for children, young adults and adults, and hundreds of stories and poems, she is also the editor-in-chief of the fantasy/sf imprint for Harcourt Brace’s Children’s Book Dept: Jane Yolen Books. A past president of SFWA ( the Science Fiction and Fantasy writers of America) and a member of the Board of Directors of SCBWI (Society of Chilren’s Book Writers and Illustrators) since its inception, Ms.Yolen is a much sought after teacher, lecturer, and critic.

Among her many award-winning books are Owl Moon (Caldecott, 1988), The Empereor and the Kite Caldecott Honor Book, 1968), The Devil’s Arithmetic (Jewish Book Award), The Girl Who Loved the Wind (Lewis Carrol Shelf winner), Piggins ( winner of both the Nebraska Golden Sower Award and the New York State Charlotte Award), The Seeing Stick (Christopher Medal Award), Commander Toad in Space (winner of the New Jersey Garden State Award) and others. Ms. Yolen has also been honored with three awards for her body of work: The Kerlan Award, the Regina Medal, and the Keene State Children’s Literature Award being given this year.

She has taught children’s literature at Smith College, and is the wife of Professor David W. Stemple, the mother of three children–all of whom have done books with her– and one brand new grandchild of whom she is inordinately fond. (ipl2 For Kids)

If you’ve followed me for a while now you know I have NO LOVE for anything Disney princess. I feel those movies set little girls up to expect a Prince Charming and a happy ending. Is it possible it even makes them feel entitled? We all know life is seldom like that. OUR stories usually end up somewhere in between the fairy tales and something maybe worse than The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (though I admit to being in love with Tom Mison from Sleepy Hollow on TV!).

Well, I’m in a MOOD tonight, on a TOOT as I schedule this post. Having just lived through an election where one candidate totally objectified woman (who are just grown up little girls) and one did her damnedest to lift them up, I was DESTINED to fall in love with this poem. This is MY way of screaming about one issue of the election…


Fat Is Not a Fairy Tale

I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Cinder Elephant,
Sleeping Tubby,
Snow Weight,
where the princess is not
anorexic, wasp-waisted,
flinging herself down the stairs.

I am thinking of a fairy tale,
Hansel and Great,
Bounty and the Beast,
where the beauty
has a pillowed breast,
and fingers plump as sausage.

I am thinking of a fairy tale
that is not yet written,
for a teller not yet born,
for a listener not yet conceived,
for a world not yet won,
where everything round is good:
the sun, wheels, cookies, and the princess.


Picture Credit: Author Katie Davis