I am the mother of a six-year-old girl. She loves fairies. I mean, what’s not to like? They’re tiny, they’re magic, they have itty-bitty clothes and furniture, they just zip right passt you when you least suspect it. They’re extremely handy, and when you’re six, they give you money for your fallen teeth to take the sting out of looking so ridiculous even though adults keep telling you that you’re cute.
On Sunday we went to a great children’s bookstore called Acorns in Tenafly where my daughter gravitated toward the fairy books. Natch. She settled on one with punch-out fairies, furniture and clothes that could fit in a fold-out fairy house. Adorable, but among the nearly dozen fairies in the book, not a single one of them was non-white.
Now that’s just aggravating.
Other than Disney’s recent re-telling of Tinker Bell, we are yet to come across a story about fairies that don’t feature exclusively European-looking creatures. Maybe I’ve gotten spoiled by American Girl with their multi-ethnic characters, but this is 2009 and we live in a global society where thanks to technology, people from all over the world interconnect on a daily basis, and around the world people look quite different. I’ve come to like having my daughter love the American Girl characters that look like she does. I didn’t have that growing up and I know it had a negative impact on my self-esteem. But mostly I like that there are a lot of different characters of different ethnicities, so that my child grows up playing with and looking up to all different kinds of people. (Granted, I think AG could still stand to diversify their main characters and pay more attention to the ones they have, but that’s just me. I mean when was the last time Addy and Josefina had new stuff?)
I mean really, there’s no author out there who thinks that fairies might be anything but white? No illustrator either?* There must be, right? I must be looking at the wrong books (and if I am, please steer me in the right direction so that I can get those books for my daughter). Because honestly it makes me sick that my kiddo doesn’t see a single fairy that may inspire her to think that perhaps she too, looking just the way that she does, might sprout wings and weave magic.
* from the authors who don’t write/illustrate different fairy ethnicities, I exclude Laini Taylor.