Kid Lit Frenzy is excited to be a part of the One Witch At a Time Blog Tour and for getting to welcome author, Stacy DeKeyser the blog. Thank you Stacy for the great guest post.
Making Stuff Up in Order to Tell the Truth
When I was about eight years old, some dear relative gave me a two-volume set of fairy tales: one volume for the brothers Grimm (bound in red cloth), and another for Hans Christian Andersen (bound in blue).
These stories were not the Disneyfied versions, mind you. They were the real deal: gruesome, horrifying, and upsetting. I adored them. (I wonder if that dear relative had any idea??) I read them, one after another, returning to the most horrifying parts over and over again: The little match girl freezing to death. Cinderella’s stepsisters cutting off their own toes to fit into the glass slipper. Hansel and Gretel’s parents leaving them in the forest to die. To die! I couldn’t get to sleep.
The next night, I read them all over again.
When I had read them so many times that I became numb to their tragedy, I noticed something else: fairy tales were full of unanswered questions. Why do the townspeople refuse to pay the piper for getting rid of the rats? If Jack is brave enough to climb a beanstalk and smart enough to outwit a giant, why would he be dumb enough to trade an entire cow for a handful of dried beans? I want to believe that, despite all the magic swirling around them, the characters in fairy tales are real people, who have good reasons (at least in their own minds) for doing what they do. And so I write my own versions, to try answer those questions, while remaining true to the originals in all their gruesome glory.
Disneyfied fairy tales have their place. But I still prefer the original, gruesome versions, I think because they acknowledge that life is fragile. Kids know that no one is immune to sorrow; not even princesses or those who have friends with magical powers. And so young readers don’t necessarily want stories that provide reassurance and “happily ever after.” They want stories that help them make sense of the world, good and bad, happy and sad. In other words, they want the truth. The best stories make stuff up in order to tell the truth. I think that’s why fairy tales have endured. I know that’s why I want to tell them all over again.
Check out the official Book Trailer:
About the author:
Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, which received two starred reviews and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Pick, and its sequel, One Witch at a Time, as well as the young adult novel, Jump the Cracks and two nonfiction books for young readers. She lives in Connecticut with her family. To learn more and to download a free, CCSS-aligned discussion guide, visit StacyDeKeyser.com.
Check out the other stops for the One Witch at a Time Blog Tour:
Mon, Feb 9 Cracking the Cover
Tues, Feb 10 Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Wed, Feb 11 Mother Daughter Book Club
Thurs, Feb 12 GreenBeanTeenQueen
Fri, Feb 13 The Book Monsters
Mon, Feb 16 Word Spelunking
Tues, Feb 17 Read Now, Sleep Later
Wed, Feb 18 Small Review
Thurs, Feb 19 Kid Lit Frenzy
Fri, Feb 20 The Flashlight Reader
One lucky winner will receive a set of Stacy DeKeyser’s bewitching reads for middle grades---ONE WITCH AT A TIME in hardcover and THE BRIXEN WITCH in paperback. (U.S. addresses only.)