Tell a Fairy Tale Day: February 26, 2021

February 22, 2021 | Katherine McG

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Once upon a time...

February 26 to be exact, there began a celebration called Tell a Fairy Tale Day where the telling of tales brought a special kind of magic that delighted both young and old alike.

The best way to celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day is to do some storytelling of your own! Whether you gather the family around in a circle or sit quietly one on one, fairy tales are great for sharing aloud. Caregivers can retell their childhood favourites. Children can see how much of a story that they can recall. And everyone can take turns making up a new tale of their very own.

If you're looking for storytelling inspiration, check out some of Margaret Read MacDonald's books. This "grand dame of storytelling" has retold folk and fairy tales in individual picture books and prepared compilations of stories from around the world.

The Squeaky Door

The Squeaky Door retold by Margaret Read MacDonald

Mabela the Clever

Mabela the Clever retold by Margaret Read MacDonald

Three Minute Tales

Three Minute Tales: Stories from Around the World to Tell or Read when Time Is Short by Margaret Read MacDonald

Fairy tales are a great way to learn about a culture that may be different from your own. You can learn a lot about other people’s traditions, food and celebrations by listening to their stories. And by sharing your own traditional tales, you can help to teach your children about their roots as well as share a part of your culture with others.

Fairy tales also present an opportunity for language learning. Caregivers can use their telling as a teaching moment. A tale can be told in the teller's native language. Or, as a family, you could try to learn some new words from the language that your favourite story was originally told in.

Too Many Fairies

Too Many Fairies: A Celtic Tale retold by Margaret Read MacDonald

If you don't want to be the storyteller yourself, why not borrow an audiobook or download an eAudiobook and listen to someone else tell a tale? Or if you prefer your fairy tales with accompanying illustrations, you could borrow a picture book retelling of a classic fairy tale.

Since most fairy tale picture books are a reimagined version of their original story, try looking for different versions of the same tale. Discover how various authors and illustrators have reinterpreted the same classic. Or see how they might have used them as inspiration for a totally new variation on the story. And look for books with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) representation in their inspirations and illustrations. Rachel Isadora, for example, has reimagined several tales, such as The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Hansel and Gretel, depicting Black characters and African influences in her picture book retellings.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

The Twelve Dancing Princesses retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora


Rapunzel retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora

A search for different versions of a single fairy tale might lead you to discover that there are variations of the same classic fairy tales found in many different countries and languages. The story of Cinderella, for example, can find its beginnings in many cultures: Indigenous peoples such as the Algonquin and Ojibwa, from Persian roots, in Korea, and of course from France, as in Charles Perrault's well-known fairy tale or its famous Disney remake.

Walt Disney's Cinderella

Walt Disney's Cinderella retold by Cynthia Rylant

Of course, the ways to celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day are as vast as the number of stories that you can tell. Grab a cloak or a crown and dress up like your favourite character. Design and build your own fairy tale setting like an enchanted forest or protected castle. Or make up your own quiz and test your family on some fairy tale trivia.

Share how you're celebrating Tell a Fairy Tale Day or your favourite fairy tale in the comments below!

Whatever you do on this special occasion, when the day ends and the tales have all been told, I hope that you can dreamily proclaim…

And they all lived happily ever after.