Almost three years ago, I posted about the Petition to National Book Foundation on Behalf of Fairy Tales. Then last year it was announced that the stipulation against fairy tale inspired materials had been removed.
For those of you not wanting to click around the web, I'll sum up: There was a petition sponsored by Maria Tatar and Kate Bernheimer to have this language removed from the guidelines for the National Book Award:
“collections and/or retellings of folk-tales, myths, and fairy-tales are not eligible,”
From the petition's Facebook page in September 2012 (two years after the petition was started):
Fantastic! Marvelous! News! The National Book Awards Entry Rules & Guidelines no longer exclude collections and/or retellings of fairy tales, folktales and myths.
That in itself is cause for great rejoicing.
And this week the 2013 National Book Awards Longlist For Young People’s Literature was announced. And a notable fairy tale related title is in on the list: Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. It's not a retelling of any particular tale, but the influence of the Grimms cannot be ignored--after all Jacob Grimm is a main character. And if that fills you with trepidation, don't worry, it's a fascinating book. My initial favorable reaction grew stronger the longer I was separated from it since it stayed with me longer than many other books do.
Another finalist is The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. Ursu garnered SurLaLune attention a few years ago with her release of Breadcrumbs--a book unapologetically inspired by Andersen's Snow Queen--another highly recommended fairy tale retelling. And while this title to her nominated book alludes to Pinocchio, I don't believe it references the tale too much if at all from the previews I've seen. But it hasn't even been released yet, so who knows?
There are many other wonderful looking books on the list--I've only read Far Far Away myself, but I am also thrilled with how many fantasy genre books are represented. After all, I am of the generation in which fantasy was always second class literature unless it was a rare Newbery Medal winner. I admit that I am grateful to Rowling--and so many other authors--for making fantasy so mainstream over the last decade.
Congrats to all the Longlisters--this is the first year that the list has reached 10 titles, too:
Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
Kate DiCamillo, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Candlewick Press)
Lisa Graff, A Tangle of Knots (Philomel, A division of Penguin Group USA)
Alaya Dawn Johnson, The Summer Prince (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)
Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
David Levithan, Two Boys Kissing (Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House)
Tom McNeal, Far Far Away (Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House)
Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone (Putnam Juvenile, a division of Penguin Group USA)
Anne Ursu, The Real Boy (Walden Pond Press/an Imprint HarperCollinsPublishers)
Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints Boxed Set (First Second/an imprint of Roaring Brook Press/Holtzbrinck)