YA Fairy Tales – Little Red Riding Hood

I have been wanting to do a special on YA fairy tale re-tellings for a LONG time. There are so many amazing YA re-tellings of classic fairy tales with quite a few being published in the last 5 years.

My love of fairy tales goes back a long time (traditional children’s stories, picture books, and of course Disney). Also, in addition to being a YA lit lover and librarian…I actually hold an undergraduate degree in anthropology. WEIRD, right? Well, I like to think it’s weird in a good way and led to a lot of research into fairy tales and folklore from around the world.

We will start off this theme with the classic Little Red Riding Hood!little-red-riding-hood-jessie-willcox-smith

Cool but random fact –> Red Riding Hood falls under the 333 Aarne-Thompson Classification System (really cool way to categorize folklore from around the world). The 300-series of the Aarne-Thompson System is defined as “Supernatural Opponents.”

Versions of this tale practically blanket Europe and can be found throughout East Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Most of the European versions involve a red cloak or tunic. The Brothers Grimm version mentions a red cap. The stories in Europe, the Middle East, and some of the Asian ones feature a wolf as the primary antagonist while Africa and the other Asian versions allow for local animals instead. Another variant is called “The Wolf and the Kids” which shows a wolf antagonist attacking baby goats (kids) who were left home alone.wolf and the kids

While most folklorists believe the story to be one of the most ancient that we still hear today, the earliest written proof is from the 11th century in a poem from Belgium. The poem talks about a girl wearing a red baptism tunic who wanders into the woods and has a run-in with a wolf.

Almost all the stories focus on the idea of “stranger danger” and an innate fear of the wild woods versus the safety of town. Then, the stories seem to split between the main character using cunning to get out of a sticky situation or being rescued.

The newer YA versions of the stories try to focus on “Red” saving herself. Here are some of the best (IMO) of Little Red Riding Hood’s (LRRH) YA re-tellings:

  • Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge – When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.  Good+Reckless+Girl Protagonist+Deadly Meetingcrimson bound
  • Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce – Scarlett and Rosie March are both fighters of werewolves. Scarlett is physically scarred from an attack when she placed herself between a werewolf and Rosie. While Rosie feels she owes her sister for her life, Scarlett becomes a little too fanatical about her werewolf extermination mission. Bad Wolves+Cunning Girl Protagonist+Blatant Recklessnesssisters red
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll – This graphic novel is a compilation of fairy tales that have gone seriously wrong. If you like horror with your fairy tales, this is the book for you. The tale that links to LRRH is at the conclusion and features a wolf appearing outside of a girl’s window in the creepiest way possible. Young Girl+Trickster Wolf+Major Creep Factorthrough-the-woods-253x300


Sources for the Little Red Riding Hood folklore factoids:

What Wide Origins You Have, Little Red Riding Hood! by Rachel Hartigan Shea from National Geographic

Could Little Red Riding Hood Reveal the History of Human Migration by Sarah Griffiths

Aarne-Thompson-Uther Classification of Folk Tales from the Multilingual Folk Tale Database


HISTORY! Sort Of… Frontier Crafts

0-545-03342-XThe book Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede is an alternative history based in the American frontier.

Think of it like Little House on the Prairie meets Harry Potter. It is actually the first book in the Frontier Magic Series which follows Eff (born a thirteenth child) and her family that lives in a frontier town. The local settlers may have chosen a poor location for their town though as it is close to the magical divide which separates humans from supernatural beasts.

There are tons of frontier crafts to make this story come alive while you read it:

  • Make your own hand dipped candles!
    • http://www.education.com/activity/article/dipped-candles/
    • hand dipped candlesAll you need is is a tall, skinny tin can, an old saucepan (one you don’t mind getting messy because wax can be very hard to clean up), a big chunk of wax, 15-inch lengths of candle wick, and small, straight sticks about 12 inches long.

HISTORY! Sort of…

Rewriting history is a time honored tradition. As the old saying goes, “winners write the history books.”


Some new YA authors have started to think that history can be rewritten for entertainment purposes–instead of that icky lying, vilifying people, and hiding dirty secrets by rewriting actual history books.

Most of the time these types of books are called “alternative history/histories.”

leviathanSometimes the stories run parallel to actual history like Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series, which is a steampunk twist on World War I.

Other times you get historical stories that are twisted to allow for magic or fantasy. Melissa de la Cruz came out with a book just last year with this type of alternative history. It is called The Ring and the Crown, and the book takes place in a world where the Franco-British Empire (think 1800s) is incredibly powerful due to its control over the world’s only source of magic.ring and crown

These alternative history books are great for people who enjoy history but who aren’t crazy about reading a dry and boring nonfiction book. Allowing for the history to be flexible can make the story move better for the reader with plenty of action and depth to characters.

Want something kind of historical but not boring?

Check out these awesomesauce YA alternative histories:

Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles (World War II)

Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver (Ancient Greece)

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore (1930s)

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede (American Frontier)

Drift and Dagger by Kendall Kulper (late 1800s)

The Number 7 by Jessica Lidh (World War II)

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (Early Middle Ages)

The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer (Industrial Revolution)

YA Fairies – Silent Orchids

Not all fairy-based YA literature has to be on the level of other popular YA. In fact, there are some (like the O.R. Melling books previously covered) that like to embrace a more traditional view of fairy folklore. These options normally have several links to the Celtic traditions of fairies and little people.


The book Silent Orchids by Morgan Wylie is definitely in this stream. However, it takes things in a different direction. Rather than just embracing an ancient story and modifying it for the modern world, she actually uses some elements from the fairy tradition and then just implements them in her own version of the modern world.


It follows the story of a girl named Kaeleigh who was abandoned as a child and is about to turn 18. As she reaches this age of adulthood, she feels the pull to find her family and unravel secrets of her past. She travels with her two best friends Chel and Finn as she tries to reach the fairy realm of her birth, Alandria. Also, the book looks into the Ferrishyn fairy warrior Deagan as he is on a mission that could change the fate of Alandria. The two tales intertwine beautifully as Wylie certainly has a gift for writing and for lovely yet realistic descriptions. The overall feel is very dark and adventurous, making this a great fairy book for guys and girls who prefer more beefy action.

silent orchids


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Make your own paper orchid.


The symbolism of the orchid is a very important part of this book (duh). Therefore, a paper orchid craft project can be a great way to embrace the novel.


There are actually several ways to create a paper orchid since the flower is rather unique in its appearance.


I personally like the written (with picture assistance) directions from Lia Griffith’s DIY site. My preference for this source is that there are plenty of photos of finalized paper orchids and ideas for how to use them. The step by step instructions and pictures make it easy to follow too.






Also, there is a nice YouTube video of a rather simple paper orchid. It is more along the lines of an origami orchid than the Lia Griffith cutting-craft version. This orchid is actually really quick and simple too.




paper orchid1

YA Fairies – Dark Promise

Aaaaand we’re back!


This one is definitely a good choice too. It is called Dark Promise by Julia Crane and Talia Jager. The book was just released last year and has inspired its own book series called Between Worlds. It is a classic example of YA fairy literature mixed with romance.


Basically, the story follows Rylie who feels that everything is going great as she approaches her 16th birthday. However, just before she turns 16, Rylie discovers her life is not what she thought. Her actual mother is revealed to be a fairy and she warns Rylie that on her birthday she will come into her powers. She even will have a change in appearance which she can keep hidden from humans but not from other fairies.


To make matters worse, it turns out Rylie’s birth father promised her to the prince of dark fairies named Kallan. The dark fairies are therefore after her to fulfill the deal. Buckle up for a fun adventure laced with plenty of fairy romance.

dark promise


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Fairy Make-up – Just in time for Halloween!


One of the coolest aspects of Rylie’s transformation into a fairy involves her appearance. Specifically, her facial marking seem really amazing to me. With this in mind, fairy make-up is the perfect way to honor the novel. Not being very gifted with specialty make-up tools myself (mostly because I don’t have a very steady hand which leads to problems in pretty designs or even basic things like eyeliner), I think we need to outsource to a professional for this one.


Here is a link to my personal favorite YoutTube tutorial for fairy make-up. Also, I think that the end result would be rather close to Rylie’s look.



fairy makeup


For those who are more inclined to read their instructions (this is a literary blog after all), here is a link to a step by step tutorial for fairy make-up in written form as well.



fairy makeup 2

YA Fairies – The Faerie Path

Obviously, most fairy literature is actually targeted toward teen girls. This fact means that girls are the protagonists and tend to be main characters—which is another reason why I thought it would be a good follow up on so much guy lit!


Keeping with this tradition (and more hardcore Irish mythology and folklore) is The Faery Path series by Allan Frewin Jones. The original book series was not believed to be very successful. However, it was released at just the right time to sync up with the fairy YA lit boom. Several new covers were therefore created and another book was released, dividing part of the 4th book then extending upon it. I actually bought these books while this transition was taking place and believe me it was totally confusing to grab what I assumed was a new release in the series to read the end part of what was “my fourth book.” Honestly, it was insane. HOWEVER, the story itself (especially the first book) is great with a very mystical feel embedded with real world elements.


The story begins with a girl named Anita in the modern human realm who has memories of a world she shouldn’t know about and does not seem to fit in. Later she discovers she is actually a reincarnation of a Faerie princess named Tania. Upon this discovery, she becomes torn between the world in which she was raised and the world she is supposed to belong. Also, she is in the middle of a plot that could overthrow the entire Faerie realm.





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Moon Pocket Craft


Magic, especially emphasis on the moon and stars, plays a large role in all the books of The Faery Path series—the main character is after all the daughter of King Oberon and Queen Titania.


Embracing the moon in this simple craft can link to the story in a very delicate way. It also creates a handy pocket carrier for jewelry, change, or other shiny things that seem to attract the “little people” of Celtic folklore.



2 Colors of Felt

Sequins, buttons, beads


Embroidery thread

Cotton balls or cotton stuffing



  1. Cut out two full circles from the felt from one of the colors. Then, in the other color, cut a semi-circular half moon shape.
  2. On the half moon, sew on any sequins, buttons, or beads in any design you like. Items can be glued if you want but know that you need to be extra careful with glue and felt. The glue can dry and make the felt look weird if it overflows from the bedazzled piece.
  3. Sew partially around the circular felt to hold the two circles together. Stuff the partially closed circle with the cotton to fill as much as desired.
  4. Put the decorated half moon circle against the unsewn portion of the stuffed full circle. Sew the full circle closed while attaching the half moon pocket.

moon pocket 1moon pocket 2

YA Fairies – The Hunter’s Moon

The new theme for this week and next week is….


Since the fairy theme almost won during the last poll, I thought it would be suitable for the blogs of this week and the next as I didn’t have time to arrange a poll last week. I also wanted to note that the semester has officially started—meaning the posts won’t necessarily be as frequent. Yet, I will be trying to fit two to three posts into every week.


We will start off with what is probably one of my favorite fairy authors though—O.R. Melling.

Her YA stories focus greatly on implementing modern twists within traditional Irish and Celtic folklore. Honestly, the majority of her best work is basically narrative forms of these older stories.


The notable series completed by Melling is known as The Chronicles of the Faerie. The first book, The Hunter’s Moon, starts off the series with a bang and is probably my favorite in the long run. It follows two teenage cousins as they set out to find a magic doorway to the Faraway Country (land of faeries), where humans must bow to the little people. The writing has an easy flow and is very mystical. Yet, it is best for older teens and those with elevated reading levels since the wording and vocabulary can be a bit heavy for younger and struggling readers.

hunters moon



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Make fairy wings!

Not all of the Fae throughout the literature and even the works of Melling have wings. Yet, in The Hunter’s Moon, the little people are described as having very large gossamer wings. They are even shown that way on the book’s cover.


There are actually several ways to make the wings. Therefore, I decided to simply gather the best links to the best fairy wing projects. Check them out to find one that suits your desires and skill level.

Wire Fairy Wings

Simple Fairy Wings from Old Tights

No Sew Fairy Wings (for those not craft with a needle)

fairy wings 1 fairy wings 2 fairy wings 3