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Article: Multicultural Cinderella Stories

Northrup, Mary. "Multicultural Cinderella Stories." American Library Association, March 21, 2012, (Accessed September 7, 2023). Originally published in Book Links, vol. 9, no. 5, May 2000.


"The story of Cinderella, perhaps the best-known fairy tale, is told or read to children of very young ages. But Cinderella is not just one story; more than 500 versions have been found—just in Europe! The tale’s origins appear to date back to a Chinese story from the ninth century, “Yeh-Shen.” Almost every culture seems to have its own version, and every storyteller his or her tale. Charles Perrault is believed to be the author, in the 1690s, of our “modern” 300-year-old Cinderella, the French Cendrillon.

Famous children's writers and illustrators have interpreted Cinderella, including Arthur Rackham, Marcia Brown (her version won the Caldecott Medal in 1955), Nonny Hogrogian, Paul Galdone, and Amy Ehrlich. Most renderings of the story include an evil stepmother and stepsister(s), a dead mother, a dead or ineffective father, some sort of gathering such as a ball or festival, mutual attraction with a person of high status, a lost article, and a search that ends with success.

Male Cinderellas do appear, and not just in parodies, such as Helen Ketteman’s Bubba the Cowboy Prince and Sandi Takayama’s Sumorella, listed below. Billy Beg of Ireland is just one of many of these versions of the story.

Cinderella, despite her popularity, has developed a reputation as a simpering, whimpering girl who is helpless until the right magic comes along. But this is the Cinderella of the later twentieth century. The earlier Cinderella, in many of her original forms, was not a wishing-only kind of person. She was self-reliant, devoted to family and ancestors, and willing to make her own future."


Article: Cinderella: A Cross-Cultural Story

Kite, Patricia W. "Cinderella: A Cross-Cultural Story." Yale National Initiative, Sept 1, 2004, Accessed 7 Sept. 2023.


"What is a story? According to Bill Johnson in Understanding What a Story Is it seems to be "a vehicle that carries us on an engaging, dramatic journey to a destination of resolution we find satisfying and fulfilling. When we find a particular story or journey to be dramatically potent and pleasing (more "true" than life or life as we would like it to be) we can desire to re-experience the same story or journey over and over." "


Books About Cinderella

Cinderella Anthologies

Article: What the Cinderella Story Looks Like in 9 Countries

Mascarenhas, Hyacinth. “What the Story of Cinderella Looks Like in 9 Countries Around the World.” Mic, 9 Feb. 2020,


"You might know her better by her English name: Cinderella, a beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl tormented by her vain and calculating stepfamily. She gets the ultimate revenge by winning the love of the royal prince, whom her stepsisters were scheming to marry. 

Most of us know her story by heart: the midnight curfew, and the fairy godmother who doesn't step in until our heroine endures her scarring childhood and abandons her glass slipper, are part of the fable that has been retold and reimagined many times. These retellings include the gruesome Brothers Grimm version, Disney's well-known 1950's version and 1998's feminist Ever After, which stars Drew Barrymore.

But even though the famed tale is pieced together from its European versions, the core of the narrative — the story of a young girl who escapes unfortunate circumstances through chastity and patience, with some help from her magical friends — is actually found in countries and cultures throughout the world. 

From China to Nigeria, each Cinderella story changes to reflect the local culture, customs and values. Some are old fables, and others are more modern adaptions of the well-known story. But they are united in their shared telling of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.'


Cinderella Stories from Around the World

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