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Love is a fairy tale...

Posted on February 14 2021

Love is a fairy tale...

Dear Educators,

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Fairy tales are our first exposure to the narratives in our particular culture, which is why it can be so interesting to explore traditional tales from other cultures. Without even knowing, we ingrain these narratives, and our expectations, behaviors, and beliefs often take root in them. Stories are powerful. This week we are bringing you content about the impact of those stories and how they can shape our culture. 

Geography News Network

This GNN Jr. article (for grades 3-6) introduces students to the world of Tiana, the first Black Disney Princess. While there is a growing trend for Disney to change its traditional “Prince rescues helpless Princess” narrative, we can all agree that it’s important to make sure every girl in America can look up to the Princesses and see themselves reflected. Princess Tiana was a historic character who changed the narrative our children are exposed to through Disney fairy tales. 

Fairy Tales Around the World

As with language, our stories are created by our ancestors and passed down. Storytelling is intrinsically human and shapes our identities considerably. There is a growing movement to acknowledge this and change the stories we are presenting, to provide a healthier mindset to our developing citizens. A society’s narratives can provide deep insight into the culture of its people, and this map shows fairy tales from around the world! What can we learn from the stories that others tell?

Interactive Lesson

Many of our fairy tales include magic and witchcraft, and these stories have been around for centuries. The tales of witches became shockingly real in Salem, Massachusetts, in the Salem Witch Trials. Witchcraft and superstition were points of fascination originating in Southern France and Switzerland in the early 1300s, and they came to America, hitting Salem in the 1600s. Follow the story of witchcraft and devil worship around the world in this interactive field trip.


Art done well tells a story, sometimes with nothing more than a single image. One of the reasons we love maps so much is their ability to tell a deep and detailed story in just one picture! It’s an art form when done correctly. This artist creates stories of the loves of his life with his unique roadside art. What stories could your students tell in just an image?

The Moral of the Story

If you’re interested in learning more about the origins of some of our favorite fairy tales, this article is full of fascinating examples.  Our stories shape us—we tell our own all the time. As educators, it’s fun to think about how we are seeing our students in their first full chapters, and every day we strive to prepare them with everything they need to write their own happy endings.

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