La Princesa and the Pea is a retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, from Peru. In it, a princess's authenticity is tested by her ability to feel the presence of a single pea under the pile of mattresses she is instructed to sleep on. There are lots of stories like The Princess and the Pea that kids can rattle off without even thinking very much - The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, Cinderella, etc. Some of these stories are so commonly told that children all over the world know them. When the stories are told in different places, they take on interesting differences that reflect the land and culture where the story is being told.
The illustrator of La Princesa and the Pea, Juana Martinez-Neal, won the 2018 Pura Belpre Award for doing an outstanding job of communicating cultural identity through illustration. The award is given for the best work portraying the Latino cultural experience. In Juana's Illustrations in La Princesa and the Pea, for example, you can see authentic Peruvian weaving like the weaving you see in these Peruvian artifacts from The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
As you read the story, look closely at the illustrations to see all the steps that are required to make a weaving. As the story of the princess is revealed, so is the Peruvian setting and the experiences of a young lady living there. Classic tales told like this are wonderful opportunities for you to see your own culture reflected in a universal story or see the culture of someone different than yourself.
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Here are some favorite classic tales and traditional stories told with details from the cultural traditions of a Spanish speaking country or from the traditions of Spanish speaking people living in the United States. Often, these stories are set in the American Southwest, Mexico, Central or South America, or Spain. #indyplkids
A Mexican "Cinderella" story about Adelita, a girl mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters until she finds love at a grand fiesta.
A Southwestern United States retelling of the classic fairy tale, "Jack and the Beanstalk."
A Southwestern version of "The Gingerbread Man" in which a tortilla runs away from the woman who is about to cook him.