The best books that give new life to old fairy tales

Why am I passionate about this?

My debut novel is a Beauty and the Beast retelling because I’ve been obsessed with fairy tales all my life, and I’m thrilled to share some of my favorite retellings with you! When I was a child, my grandma gave me an illustrated collection of fairy tales. She had grown up reading stories from Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers, and she wanted to share that with me. It was an interest I gladly adopted. I love seeing my favorite fairy tales told with new twists and elements that bring the stories to life all over again and let me fall in love with them one more time.

I wrote...

Beauty Reborn

By Elizabeth Lowham,

Book cover of Beauty Reborn

What is my book about?

When Beauty catches the attention of the lord baron’s heir, she is swept away by his charm, his wit, and his passionate declarations of love. But she doesn’t see the truth of Stephan’s intentions until it is too late. She locks away the secret of Stephan's abuse, and when her father emerges from the enchanted forest with a stolen rose in his hand and the tale of a vicious beast on his breath, Beauty seizes the chance to run as far from Stephan as possible.

She has some experience with beasts, after all. Certainly the one in the forest couldn’t be any worse than the one she’s already encountered.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Spinning Silver

Elizabeth Lowham Why did I love this book?

This is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling! When a friend recommended it to me, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t imagine Rumpelstiltskin ever being an interesting story to me, but Naomi Novik proved me wrong.

This book’s writing style is lyrical and vibrant, with a stunning world of magic and misery that will make you root for characters and keep you on the edge of your seat concerning their fates. (Did I mention the wide cast of characters that all have heartbreaking depth?)

In particular, I loved the Tsar’s story so much. This book surprised me in a hundred delicious ways.

By Naomi Novik,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Spinning Silver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Following her award-winning novel Uprooted, Naomi Novik has once again been influenced by classic folktales. Taking Rumpelstiltskin as her starting point, Spinning Silver is rich, original and a joy to read.

Will dark magic claim their home?
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's too kind-hearted to collect his debts. They face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge - and if she fails,…

Book cover of Beastly

Elizabeth Lowham Why did I love this book?

This is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

I loved that the book was from the beast’s point of view, and I loved seeing this arrogant New York high schooler undergo a transformation of both appearance and soul. The modern setting is so fun. The POV is so fun.

This is a quick, delightful read, and one I’m proud to have on my shelf. (There’s also a movie adaptation, if you’re interested.)

By Alex Flinn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beastly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

With a new Beauty and the Beast movie hitting theaters in Spring 2017, it's time to catch up on all things Beastly. Find out what it was like for the beast in Alex Flinn's contemporary retelling of the classic tale. This edition features cover art from the 2011 movie starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer. I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright-a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster. You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way.…

Book cover of Fairest

Elizabeth Lowham Why did I love this book?

Gail Carson Levine has been one of my favorite authors all my life. She and my maternal grandmother are jointly responsible for my deep obsession with fairy tales.

While Ella Enchanted is more well known, Fairest is my favorite of her fairy tale novels. It’s a Snow White retelling that made me truly fall in love with the main character. Aza’s insecurities felt real to me, and I loved the twist that she is not fairest in all the land because of looks but, rather, because of her voice.

This story breaks me down and builds me back up again. I’ve reread it many times and intend to reread it many more.

By Gail Carson Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fairest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to be pretty ...Aza's singing is the fairest in all the land, and the most unusual. She can "throw" her voice so it seems to come from anywhere. But singing is only one of the two qualities prized in the Kingdom of Ayortha. Aza doesn't possess the other: beauty. Not even close. She's hidden in the shadows in her parents' inn, but when she becomes lady-in-waiting to the new queen, she has to step into the light-especially when the queen demands a dangerous favor. A magic mirror, a charming prince,…

Book cover of The Goose Girl

Elizabeth Lowham Why did I love this book?

Sometimes you read a book that lingers with you for years—this is that book.

The Goose Girl is an enchanting, beautifully poetic read that captures the essence of everything that makes fairy tales magical. It’s a bit longer than most fairy tale retellings, but it makes the pages count, and it develops sweet relationships between the characters.

This is also the start of a series, with later books covering the side characters and giving them their own chances to shine. 10/10.

By Shannon Hale,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Goose Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

In this beloved first book in the Books of Bayern, from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale, Princess Ani must become a goose girl before she can become queen.

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life listening to her aunt's stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. As she grows up, Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but she never feels quite comfortable speaking with people.

So when Ani's mother sends her away to be married in a foreign land, she finds herself at the mercy of…

Book cover of Princess of the Midnight Ball

Elizabeth Lowham Why did I love this book?

This is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses which actually keeps all twelve princesses in the cast.

You would think so many characters would overwhelm the story (or the reader), but the author manages to balance them all gracefully and makes you hope they’ll each have their own stories in the future (two of them do).

This book made my heart pound repeatedly as I worried about the rising stakes, and the pages simply flew by. It was delightful from start to finish.

By Jessica Day George,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Princess of the Midnight Ball as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Rose is one of twelve princesses forced to dance through the night in an underground palace. The key to breaking the spell lies in magic knitting needles, an invisibility cloak, and-of course-true love. Inspired by "The Twelve Dancing Princesses,"this novel is as captivating as it is fresh. Enchanted readers are sure to clamor for the new companion, Princess of Glass, also publishing this season.

You might also like...

American Flygirl

By Susan Tate Ankeny,

Book cover of American Flygirl

Susan Tate Ankeny Author Of The Girl and the Bombardier: A True Story of Resistance and Rescue in Nazi-Occupied France

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Susan Tate Ankeny left a career in teaching to write the story of her father’s escape from Nazi-occupied France. In 2011, after being led on his path through France by the same Resistance fighters who guided him in 1944, she felt inspired to tell the story of these brave French patriots, especially the 17-year-old- girl who risked her own life to save her father’s. Susan is a member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, the Air Force Escape and Evasion Society, and the Association des Sauveteurs d’Aviateurs Alliés. 

Susan's book list on women during WW2

What is my book about?

The first and only full-length biography of Hazel Ying Lee, an unrecognized pioneer and unsung World War II hero who fought for a country that actively discriminated against her gender, race, and ambition.

This unique hidden figure defied countless stereotypes to become the first Asian American woman in United States history to earn a pilot's license, and the first female Asian American pilot to fly for the military.

Her achievements, passionate drive, and resistance in the face of oppression as a daughter of Chinese immigrants and a female aviator changed the course of history. Now the remarkable story of a fearless underdog finally surfaces to inspire anyone to reach toward the sky.

American Flygirl

By Susan Tate Ankeny,

What is this book about?

One of WWII’s most uniquely hidden figures, Hazel Ying Lee was the first Asian American woman to earn a pilot’s license, join the WASPs, and fly for the United States military amid widespread anti-Asian sentiment and policies.

Her singular story of patriotism, barrier breaking, and fearless sacrifice is told for the first time in full for readers of The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck, A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell, The Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia, Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown and all Asian American, women’s and WWII history books.…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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