In pursuit of the idea that queer people have always existed (and therefore will persist), Pete Jordi Wood has put together this gorgeous collection of folk and fairy tales that earlier folklorists chose to “clean up” or dismiss.
Tales From Beyond the Rainbow: Ten LGBTQ+ Fairy Tales Proudly Reclaimed is a darling little book with big important stories. While earning his folklore degree, Pete found a Danish folktale “The Dog and the Sailor” that felt undeniably queer. He self-published his translation of the tale, and thankfully Puffin Books UK saw the merit in the work, and this broader collection of tales was born.
The collection features rarely-before-seen tales like “The Girl in the Market” (a fairy tale about a trans woman of color!) and “The Tale of the Rabbit God” (boys in love!), and the aforementioned “The Dog and the Sailor,” as well as queer readings of a couple of Grimm fairy tales that have long resonated with the LGBTQ community. He provides extensive information on his sources and background on how he sought to represent a spectrum of queer experiences.
Each tale is written with great care and sensitivity. Further, since it is a collection that spans the globe, the book is illustrated by 10 artists who also span the globe, seeking to bring voices of the cultures these tales represent into the stories.
I cannot recommend this book enough. If you love fairy tales and/or if you want more queer representation on your bookshelf, this is a great pick.
FYI: A couple of the tales do have sad endings, but most of them are happy!
Disclaimer: I am working with Puffin Books UK this month to promote this book and received a small stipend in exchange for the promotional content I made on my social media channels. But this review is an authentic one – this book means a lot to me!