Thursday, December 8, 2016

Queen Girls - The Fairy Tales I've Been Waiting For

Growing up, we each had our favorite fairy tales and disney princesses. I adored Pocahontas and would run around in the woods behind my house, trying to find my solace in sync with the natural world and my independence from all others around me. I adored Belle because she was an avid reader and I wanted a library like hers one day. But all fairy tales in the end led down the same shallow path. They ended happily ever after with the man and the sunset. Not that those aren't nice things if that's what you want - but that certainly is not all there is to life. 

The stories we read are the stories that shape us. Clearly, as this terribly 90s photo shows - I had no interest in boys. I had no interest in dresses. I just wanted to be done with my graduation ceremony and get back to I'm sure whatever book I was reading. 

Sorry Man, you probably were a good person.
 I just wanted #QueenGirls Books instead. 
Why were all fairy tales about finding love? And not about finding passions, careers, personal achievements? Why not about the incredible things women had achieved aside from the stereotypical, one-angled roles, as Queen Girls summarizes in their mission "the mother figure, the homemaker, the exotic beauty, the love seeker. We believe that we should be telling different stories to our children. Let's encourage girls to find their happiness, passions, drive, and self-confidence from within."

Thank goodness for a renewed wave of focus on feminism, diversity in publishing, and continual movements towards justice. Did you know that only 31% of children's books have female protagonists? I knew it was pretty low, but that statistic is shocking. Diversity in children's literature (well, all literature), is a similarly ridiculous underrepresented arena. We need to tell stories, all stories, to encourage empathy, understanding, and multiple points of views and experiences.

Queen Girls Publishing is on a mission to "Inspire Girls to follow their dreams and envision them as possible. This is the reason why the Queen Girl's fairy tales are based on the stories of real women stories." #Yes #Yes #Yes Also super cool, they have a one for one model - so they'll be donating books to local and international organizations focused on fighting illiteracy and empowering girls. 

Have I dated myself yet? This was the first computer we had at home.
 I remember getting it at the Gateway Store!
 Just imagining if I had stories about Ada Lovelace instead of Belle.
So, why am I so excited? Because these stories, all of them, need to be told. Imagine, just imagine, if it's no longer just disney princess and fairy tale queens, but truly the #QueenGirls this world already has been graced with! 

Good news - Queen Girls Publishing already has their first three pieces in the works! Their first is about Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman in the world to hold a pilot's license. The next two are based on Isadora Duncan and Savitribhai Phule. Considering I only knew one of those three people until I read more from #QueenGirls (and I'm hoping I'm not the only one so ill-informed), we all could use some more #QueenGirls in our lives!

Also good news - you can play an integral part of helping Queen Girls' mission and dream come to life. They're running a Kickstarter to collect necessary funds to print their first book, Bessie, Queen of the Sky. I'm thrilled to be supporting them - and if you also believe in a different find of fairy tale - you can donate and receive one of the first limited copies here! For more information, visit Queen Girls to learn more.

Happy reading my friends!