Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Soltan, R. (2007). Fairy Tale Characters Breathe New Life: A Fantasy Book Club Approach for Tweens. Children and Libraries, 5(2), 34-39. Retrieved November 23, 2010, from Library Literature and Information Science Full Text

Before reading this article, I never really understood while 'Tweens go bananas over Fantasy books. I was always under the impression that dragons, pirates, fairies, and magical adventure was just fun. However, according Soltan, this love of Fantasy is a lot deeper than I thought: " As children enter the tween and early teens years, their imaginative consciousnesses overcome their need to socialize, strive for independence, and cope in a realistic world. However, the fantasy in traditional literature serves as a vehicle for young people's growing awareness and a way to communicate some of life's deepest truths"(p. 34). After processing this genius notion, I thought about the Young Merlin series written by TA Barron. In these stories, we have the traditional hero archetype and journey. Whether it's old time literary theory, or great writing, these stories always manage to strike a chord in whoever is reading them. For 'tweens, Fantasy is not just another literary genre, but a unassuming tool that will help them deal with their demons (so to speak).

In this article, Stoltan provides a lot of great ideas on how to conduct a Fantasy book club that will engage readers and build critical thinking skills. Moreover, there are great analysis' on classic fairy tales, which compare and contrast the different version/interpretations and how these variations affect the overall tale. The discussion of  "Rumpelstiltskin" is incredibly intriguing because all of the versions of the tale are completely opposite; there seems to be no similarities whatsoever so 'tweens can have a great time talking about these differences and why authors did what they did. Lastly, Stoltan also discusses why novels based on fairy tales have become so popular simply because they provide a nee interpretation of the classic "good and evil" story. "Beast" by Alex Flinn is a great story based off "Beauty and the Beast," that puts a whole new spin on the Beast's character other than being a spoiled prince. These re-tellings have a lot to offer 'tweens audiences, especially when their problems resemble those of King Arthur and Ariel, but, in reality, ruling a kingdom and turning to sea foam are not as appealing as being a 12-year-old.

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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