The reading of fairy tales: it’s not an experience that needs to be relegated to children. There are plenty of novels for grown-ups based on fairy tale themes, stories, and concepts. But the nonfiction section of the library also has some hidden fairy-tale gems.

Don’t Bet On The Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England

By Jack Zipes

Short-story retellings of fairy tales, poems in the voices of fairy-tale characters, and essays analyzing the impact of fairy tales on individual lives and on society: this book looks at the issues and delights of tales through a feminist lens.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales From the North

By Peter Christen Asbjørnsen

The Norwegian tales in this book are full of white bears and trolls, the North Wind and warriors and magic. But what makes it even more magical are the gorgeous illustrations that bring the tales to life.

Knitted Fairy Tales: Recreate the Famous Stories with Knitted Toys

By Sarah Keen

An inventive how-to that teaches you the techniques for knitting Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and 13 other fairy-tale characters.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Woman Writers Explore their Favorite Fairy Tales

By Kate Bernheimer

In this collection of essays, contemporary writers discuss the way fairy tales have influenced their life and their writings.

More than True: The Wisdom of Fairy Tales

By Robert Bly

Focusing on six tales, the poet Robert Bly examines the psychology of fairy tales.

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales

By Kate Bernehimer

A short story collection of fairy tale retellings by contemporary authors.

The Poets Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales

By Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Categories such as “Spinning the Tales” and “The Grimm Sisterhood” shape this poetry anthology, which gathers poems from contemporary poets on all aspects of the fairy-tale realm.

Princes, Frogs, and Ugly Sisters: The Healing Power of the Grimm Brothers’

By Allan G. Hunter

Tales by Dr. Allan G. Hunter. Here is a study of the philosophy of fairy tales—the ways they can teach us how to live more happily and understand each other better.

Story Medicine: Multicultural Tales of Healing and Transformation

By Norma J. Livo

Fairy tales aren’t only magical stories. The fairy tales in this collection, gathered from cultures all across the globe, focus on stories that tell us about healing—both ourselves and our communities.


By Anne Sexton

The Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet here implodes the neat and tidy narratives we find in children’s books of Grimm’s fairy tales, sharing poems that cause readers to see Sleeping Beauty et al from an entirely different perspective, sometimes menacing, sometimes enlightening, always magical.

Recommended by Amy Sorensen, Assistant Librarian