The other night I picked up a book to read to my daughter.  It happened to be “The Classic Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales” retold by Sheila Black.  It’s a book that I will never pick up again.  A book that tells little girls that good things happen only if you’re beautiful.

First, I’ll admit this book is older.  It was written in a different time.  But to me, that doesn’t much matter. It doesn’t convey a message that I want to share with my daughter.

We were doing just fine.  My 5 month old captivated by the sound of my voice and the pictures in the book.  We got through the first story, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and while I thought it was a little off (I don’t think Mr. Andersen ever used the word “stuff”) my daughter isn’t really listening to the words as much as I am so I just went with it.

We got to the next story, Thumbelina, and that’s where it ended.  Here is a direct quote from the book:

Some fish swimming in the stream heard her sob, and when they saw how beautiful she was, they decided to help her.

What the hell?

I can’t be the only one who wonders why someone in their right mind would write this.  Even if it was in the 90’s.

I just have a huge problem with this.  We shouldn’t be teaching our daughters that in order to get ahead in life, or to have people be kind to you that you have to be beautiful.

We need to teach our daughters that beauty is more than skin deep.  It’s not about how we look but about how we act and treat one another.  To teach our daughters that good things happen not if we are beautiful, but if we work hard and are kind.

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I’m Catrina. I’m a mom of 2 under 2 and founder of Chocolate & Chaos. On top of being a mom and blogger, I'm a Digital Content Manager for a publisher. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with her family and friends, photography, wine and good coffee. So basically, I'm just trying to make it through the day just like you. :) It's a bumpy ride sometimes, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I can totally understand your frustration with the book. Teaching children that physical “beauty,” is the only aspect of person that matters, is unhealthy. As a mom an intelligent, talented, and beautiful little brown girl, my struggle was in teaching my daughter that her natural traits are not less beautiful than those of Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, etc. She loves all those movies and looks nothing like them, an that was beginning to skew her perception of her own beauty. I began to teach her, as she watched those shows, about her own gifts, and to point out the non-physical characteristics that made each princess special. http://improudtobenaturalme.com

    • Marlene, I can only imagine. I can only imagine what comes to mind when she see’s that. For her to think that way because of what she sees in movies and on TV.

      That’s a great way to do it! Pointing it out as she goes through them. I will keep that in mind for my daughter! (P.S. If you have any interest in writing a guest post about that, I think that would be an awesome topic!)

      • It helps a lot. I also use those opportunities to point out good and not so good choices that the characters make (e.g. Snow White talking to a stranger, letting her in her house, and eating from her.)

        I would love to do a guest post! Let me know what you need me to do. 🙂

        • All really great points! (I hope I remember them when my daughter is old enough to understand!)

          If you want to put something together and email it, ([email protected]) that would be great, otherwise there is a form on the site here –

          Definitely looking forward to it! Email me for anything else! Thanks again, Catrina

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