Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Stuff for the Teen Age

Tales With a Twist: Stories Inspired by Fairy Tales


Many authors have used fairy tales as starting points for new ideas, and some of their books explore questions based on the original tales. For example, if you're rewarded for your kindness by having gold dust fall from your hair or diamonds fall out of your mouth… isn't that reward REALLY more trouble than it's worth?

Some authors have interpreted old stories in completely new ways. Let's start by imagining the basic plot elements of Cinderella: there's a girl, her step-family, and a handsome prince whom she might dance with at the ball (even though it would be very risky). Well, Marissa Meyer wove all of those elements into her novel Cinder about a cyborg girl living in the dystopian future of New Beijing. And each of its sequels in the Lunar Chronicles series (Scarlet and Cress) introduces new characters who are based on different fairy tales.

If you're not in the mood to delve too deeply into just one story, there are several collections in which authors have written short stories that tackle different tales. In Troll's Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, several fairy tales are retold through the eyes of characters that we always thought were one-dimensional villains. And Ron Koertge's poem-format book Lies Knives and Girls in Red Dresses takes a very dark spin on different fairy tales, reimagining several classic stories from different points of view.

And then every once in a while a book comes along that doesn't exactly retell one or more fairy tales, but instead creates a new kind of fairy tale that is firmly rooted in the fairy tales of old. That book is the amazing novel Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, and it features the ghost of Jacob Grimm as a major character and driving force in the story.

Here are some more books that take the fairy tales we remember from when we were children and give them just a little twist…

And if you'd like to explore the world of fairy tales through DVDs, you can also check out the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Grimm!


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Post new comment