Best Fairy Tale Books

In my opinion, many fairy tales are incredibly violent and I would not recommend reading them to children under eight years old. However, once kids understand the difference between fantasy and reality without question, I think they are ready for for these fantasy worlds, that entertain and often teach valuable life lessons.

I often begin a new history unit by reading the fairy tales from that region. The kids pick up on how the people dressed, the types of houses they lived in, their beliefs and some of their daily life routines. Here are some of our favorite fairy tale books.

Grimm's Fairy Tales

Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Frog King are some of the most well known tales. They have been translated into many languages, written and rewritten. Along with the well know tales, the Brother's Grimm wrote many more lesser known stories which are fun to read aloud.

Andersen's Fairy Tales (Illustrated Junior Library)
Like the Brother's Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen wrote many fairy tales which are widely read today. The Ugly Ducklings, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and the Princess and the Pea are loved by children the world round. 

D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
Rather than jumping into to tales filled with unfamiliar characters, the D'Aulaire myth books take the time to explain a bit about each god before the story. The illustrations and stories have lead my daughter to read and reread these myth books several times.

American Tall Tales
Mary Pope Osborn's character descriptions make children and adults laugh they are so outrageous. This book explains the formation of the Grand Canyon and tells us about Paul Bunyan and other American folk heroes.

Of Swords and Sorcerers
King Arthur came into being during the time the Romans conquered the Celtic lands of the north. This mythical king encompasses beliefs of two cultures and brings history into the middle ages. Pulling the sword from the stone among others, this collection of King Arthur tales is a fun introduction to the world of the past.

Counting spoonfuls of food is very offensive in one of the Nigerian tales in Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum (Aladdin Books). I laughed so hard reading this tale as it reminded me of my son who is impossible to fill up. This collection of tales is a fun introduction to a Central African Unit study.

To see our other favorite books and activities to go with them please visit our Reading and Arts Page.

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  1. My daughter is using D'Aulaires Greek Mythology this year. She really enjoys it, and the pictures are stunning!

  2. I still have the big book of Grimm's Fairy tales that I read to my sons when they were growing up...over 40 years ago.

  3. My older kids are just big enough to start being into fairy tales. They're so much fun to read :-)

  4. I sometimes tell my son some of the Grimm's tales at night time, but I edit them in my head as a I go along!

    1. It's really neat you're able to do that. You must know them well.

  5. I have to admit there is a lot of violence in many folk tales. I agree with you that 8 is a good age to begin most of them.

    Thank you for helping to bring a spoonful of reading fun to the Poppins Book Nook this month!


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