If you're sick of bombarding your children with the message that the boy always has to come to the girl's rescue, you may want to consider "Once Upon a Story You've Always Been Told." Free on iBooks, the heartwarming tale shares the plight of a princess whom a witch has trapped in a cold, lonely tower, guarded by dragons, a haunted forest, and a giant. However, when a friend brings news of a prince who plans on coming to the princess' rescue (and asking for her hand in marriage), she scoffs at the idea, announcing that it isn't a male savior she wants — it's freedom! And besides, she doesn't care for princes. She "just likes girls better, they're simply more fun." What ensues is a sweet, empowering journey about liberation, openheartedness, and overcoming fear.
Now, before you start thinking, "This seems like a niche piece of literature," I assure you, it isn't. As the dedication at the beginning of the book reads, this is a story not just for LGBTQ individuals, but for everyone. It hits all the major fairytale notes — magic, danger, hope, whimsy, independence, love — but the girl isn't a damsel in distress helplessly awaiting a prince. Instead, she's a damsel who desires a different destiny. What's more, it's high time that we realize that fairytale structures need redefining in some cases, and that the "prince charming" narrative, while fantastic for some, shouldn't be the only narrative around. All kinds of little princesses deserve to hear stories that ring true for them, and that show them that they, too, can have a magical happily ever after just like everyone else. (Especially if that happily ever after includes a kind, shiny-haired maiden.)
"Once Upon a Story You've Always Been Told" encourages readers to renovate their thoughts, just as one would renovate a dreary, isolated castle. Make them warm. Make them welcoming. Fill them with love as Julie Sype beautifully described it in a conversation with the Toronto Guardian:
It's easy to see that love is not hate. Love is not persecution. Love is not segregation. Love is not jealousy or bigotry or sexism or fascism or racism or homophobia or xenophobia or anything that attempts to separate us from uniting as one heart.
Love is radically inclusive and empathetic and considerate of the entire human experience as a whole. It's a force that lives within us all that allows us to see what unites us not what divides us. It's a divine right to love and be loved and we should encourage everyone to explore the boundaries of their own heart. It's only by pushing ourselves to the limits of what we can understand in one another, that we are drawn together as a whole.
Love is the only resource on the planet that is available in infinite supply and yet we are constantly trying to control it. Love is not control over another person.
In order to love each other and ourselves we must first be willing to allow everyone to be themselves. That's the freedom we allude to through our little princess's tale. That's the love we hope to share.
To read "Once Upon a Story You've Almost Been Told" for free, check it out on iBooks by tapping the link below.
Seriously, though, how cute is this story? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
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