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Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved…

Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from…

by Kathleen Ragan (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Kathleen Ragan first set out to gather folktales that featured heroines rather than heroes when she realized there was a lack of female protagonists in children's literature. She first discovered the disparity when reading to her young daughter from Dr. Seuss books. Ragan searched many of his books only to find minor female characters. Further investigation revealed this was not an anomaly. 90% of the protagonists in children's fairy tales were male. The result was Ragan's tireless effort to search out traditional literature from around the world that featured heroines rather than heroes. This anthology contains over 100 different folktales. The author apologizes that many of the tales come from countries with British or American influence due to the mere fact that those stories were written down in English. However, there are tales with Native American, European, Asian, Middle Eastern and African origins as well. The language of these stories is as magical as oral tradition allows and young readers will be swept away in the fantastical lands described. There are legends of vengeful daughters, fairy tales about clever mothers and funny stories about tricky wives. Older children will love the cleverness of the tales as well as the various ways good overcomes evil. They are perfect tales for reading aloud. The variety stories means the anthology can be for a short quick read or indulgent longer sessions. Parents who wish to encourage a portrayal of girls and women as strong and powerful role models will appreciate this book.
  bfsnook | Jul 13, 2016 |
I collect books on folk and fairy tales and this book filled a large gap in collecting stories with female protagonists from around the world. Ragan did a heroic job haunting dusty libraries and obscure collections looking for folktales that showed women in a positive light. As you might expect, they were few and far between, but Ragan gives us over 100 stories from six continents. Kudos for the effort and applause for the result. Recommended for any parent of girls or boys or folks who like a good yarn. Isn't that everyone? ( )
  MarysGirl | May 18, 2016 |
"One hundred great folk tales and fairy tales from all over the world about strong, smart, brave heroines. A definitive sourcebook of folktales and fairytales and the first of its kind to feature a variety of multicultural heroines."

It took me almost two weeks to read [book:Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World|2167869] and I even skipped several tales that I'd read or heard before -- that's how chock full o' goodies it is.

In her introduction, Kathleen Ragan stated that she read over 30,000 stories and used sources that "were as close to the oral literature as possible." The tales collected in Fearless Girls were organized within six geographic locations: Europe, North and South America, Asia, the Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, and North Africa and the Middle East. Based on my personal research and reading, I felt South America and Africa may have been slightly underrepresented; the Middle East as well, but since she had limited herself to American libraries and available English translations, perhaps that pool was shallow to begin with? Ragan added her thoughts to the end of each tale -- sometimes those were interesting/ helpful/ useful, other times, meh. Each story had additional information and bibliographical details in "Notes" at the end of the book.

This anthology plus the "Notes" plus the "Further Reading" are a goldmine for those studying or researching female heroes in folklore and fairy tales. I'm definitely gonna pick up a used copy for my personal collection so I"ll have a permanent home for all the sticky notes I wrote and inserted reading the library's copy.

For the casual reader of fairy and folktales, Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters will certainly keep you busy for a few weeks.

4.5 stars

From the foreword written by Jane Yolen, "Anthologist Kathleen Ragan, has, with the publication of this book, become an important figure in the restoration of the feminine aspect of the hero. She gives us here the broadest selection of female hero stories than has been published before. Her finds come from all corners of the globe; her female heroes are all ages and in all stages of life. These women save villages, ride into battle, figure out riddles and rituals, rescue themselves from ogres, make predictions, call down storms...The stories were always there. Only we were not." ( )
  flying_monkeys | Feb 2, 2016 |
Recommended by a teacher friend on Facebook
  TeachrBkMom | Jul 23, 2015 |
Book Description: W.W. NORTON & COMPANY LTD 2000 UK. new Paperback NEW ED A multicultural collection of folktales and fairytales celebrating strong heroines. Foreword by Jane Yolen.

Book Description: New Paperback. Published by W.W. NORTON & CO. (paper). . New, not a used item. Multiple copies may be available.
  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
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Ragan, KathleenEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yolen, JaneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Hero is a masculine noun. (Foreword by Jane Yolen)
My daughter and I have been reading books together since she was about a year old. (Introduction)
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Tales from Europe
The Stolen Bairn and the Sìdh (Scotland)     p.3
The Three Sisters and Their Husbands, Three Brothers (Ireland)     p.11
The Corpse Watchers (Ireland)     p.18
The Crookened Back (Ireland)     p.21
The Horned Woman (Ireland)     p.26
Whuppity Stoorie (Scotland)     p.29
Molly Whuppie (England)     p.33
The Treasure of Downhouse (England)     p.36
The Hand of Glory (England)     p.36
Tamlane (England)     p.40
The Night Troll (Iceland)     p.43
The Grateful Elfwoman (Iceland)     p.45
"My Jon's Soul" (Iceland)     p.46
The Ghost at Fjelkinge (Sweden)     p.48
Little Red Cap (Germany)     p.50
The Wood Maiden (Czechoslovakia)     p.54
The Pigeon's Bride (Yugoslavia)     p.63
How the King Chose a Daugher-in-Law (Romania)     p.73
Marichka (Gypsy)     p.75
Davit (Georgia)     p.77
Anait (Caucasus)     p.81
The Fortune Teller (Russia)     p.92
The Tsarítsa Harpist (Russia)     p.96
Tales from North and South America
Native Americans
The Vampire Skeleton (Iroquois)     p.101
The Flying Head (Iroquois)     p.105
Where the Girl Saved her Brother (Cheyenne)     p.107
Chief Joseph's Story of Wallowa Lake (Nez Percé)     p.110
The Origin of the Potlatch (Quillayute)     p.114
The Princess and the Mountain Dweller (People of the Northwest Coast)     p.116
The Princess and the Magical Hat (People of the Northwest Coast)     p.126
The Lytton Girls Who Were Stolen by Giants (Salishan People)     p.137
The Legend of the Coppermine River (Inuit)     p.139
The Huntress (Inuit)     p.142
Story of a Female Shaman (Reindeer Chukchee)     p.147
The Magic Eagle (Timotean People, Venezuela)     p.149
New World Newcomers
"I'm Tipingee, She's Tipingee, We're Tipingee, Too" (Haiti)     p.153
The Innkeeper's Wise Daughter (Jewish-American)     p.156
Molly Cotton-Tail Steals Mr. Fox's Butter (African-American)     p. 160
Tales from Asia
A Rani's Revenge (Orissa, India) p.167
How Parvatibai Outwitted the Dacoits (Maharashtra, India) p.170
The Close Alliance: a Tale of Woe (Punjab, India) p.173
The Barber's Clever Wife (Punjab, India) p.177
A Wonderful Story (India) p.184
The Importance of Light (Tamil Nadu, India) p.189
The Child of Death (Vietnam) p. 192
The Story of Princess Amaravedi (Cambodia) p. 195
The Tale of the Oki Islands ( Japan) p.199
The Monkey Bridegroom (Japan) p.203
The Mirror of Matsuyama: a Story of Old Japan (Japan) p.206
The Tiger and the Coal Peddler's Wife (Korea) p.217
The Plucky Maiden (Korea) p. 219
The Phoneix and her City (Hui People, China) p. 222
Sailimai's Four Precious Things (Hui People, China) p.228
A Woman's Love (Uighur People, China) p.230
Maiden Liu, the Songster (Yao People, China) p.240
The Festival of Pouring Water (Yunnan, China) p.245
A Polite Idiosyncrasy (Kwangtung, China) p.247
The Young Head of the Family (Kwangtung, China) p.248
Altyn-Aryg (Altaian People, Siberia) p. 252
The Wife Who Stole a Heart (Kalmuck People, Siberia) p.254
Tales from the Pacific
Hiiaka Catching a Ghost (Hawaii) p.259
Hiiaka and the Seacoast Kupuas (Hawaii) p.263
A Calabash of Poi (Hawaii) p.267
Rau-Whato (Maori people, New Zealand) p.270
How Pulap Acquired the Art of Navigation (Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia) p.272
Rola and the Two Sisters (Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia) p.274
The Old Woman and the Giant (Philippines) p.277
The Magic Coin (Philippines) p.279
The Creation of Lake Asbold (Asmat People, Irian Jaya, Indonesia) p.282
Senan and Aping (Kenyah People, Sarawak, Malaysia) p.284
Ubong and the Head-Hunters (Kenyah People, Sarawak, Malaysia) p.290
Kumaku and the Giant (Fiji) p.294
Revival and Revenge (Kewa People, Papua, New Guinea) p.296
Uzu, the White Dogai (Torres Straits, Australia) p.299
The Black Snake Man and His Wife, the Dove (Murjkan People, Australia) p.301
The Mogwoi's Baby (Arnhem Land, Australia) p.305
Biriwilg (Told by Women) (Arnhem Land, Australia) p.307
Tales from Sub-Saharan Africa
The Woman, Her Husband, Their Children and the Dodo (Hausa People, Nigeria) p.311
Ku-Chin-Da-Gayya and Her Elder Sister and the Dodos (Hausa People, Nigeria) p.316
Moremi and the Egunguns (Yoruba People, Nigeria) p.320
The Spider, Kayi, and the Bush Fowl (Limba People, Sierra Leone) p.324
The Story of Two Women (Limba People, Sierra Leone) p.325
The Man Killed for a Spinach Leaf (Limba People, Sierra Leone) p.331
The Leopard Woman (Liberia) p.338
The Midwife of Dakar (Senegal) p.340
A Woman for a Hundred Cattle (Swahili) p.342
Wacu and the Eagle (Agikuyu People, Kenya) p.348
Elephant and Hare (Maasai People, Kenya) p.352
Nonikwe and the Great One, Marimba (Zulu) p.354
How the Milky Way Came to Be (South Africa) p.359
Nanbolele, Who Shines in the Night (Basotho People, Lesotho) p.360
Jackal and Hen (Bosotho People, Lesotho) p.366
Tales from North Africa and the Middle East
Women's Wiles (Syria) p.371
The Feslichanci Girl (Turkey) p.375
The Story of the City of Nothing-in-the-World (Persia) p.387
The "Pink Pearl" Prince (Iran) p.389
Who is Blessed with the Realm, Riches, and Honor? (Israel) p. 393
The Sotry of the King, Hamed bin Bathara, and of the Fearless Girl (Arab) p.396
The Sultan's Daughter (Sudan) p.401
Yousif Al-Saffani (Sudan) p.401
The Miser Who Married (Iraq) p.413
The Sign of the Tassel (Iraq) p.417
(pagination from the Norton trade paperback, 2000)
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Collects 100 tales from around the world, including Africa, Western Europe, Native American cultures, Asia, and the Middle East, that feature a heroine.

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