November 23-24: All libraries will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
For some strange reason, it seems like every little girl's favorite Disney princess is Cinderella. (Okay, for all of you shouting at me, not every little girl. But quite a majority.) Whether it is the classic rags-to-riches story or the lovable mice, there just seems to be something timeless about Disney's Cinderella. And, I am proud to say, I hate it. Wait, wait, hang on! Put down the pitchforks and let me explain why.
First of all, most Disney movies from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves all the way to Frozen, are based off of fairy tales by either the Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Andersen. Cinderella comes from the Grimm Brothers. Now, most of the original Grimms' fairy tales share rather grotesque elements. For example, in the original "Cinderella," the stepsisters get their eyes pecked out by birds. Naturally, this would never fly in a Disney movie. Nor does Quasimodo's necrophilia in Hunchback of Notre Dame, but that's another story. While most (all) children should not be reading/watching the scene where body parts are forcibly removed by birds, as a teenager, I cannot help but lament the lack of a more severe, more vivid punishment for the stepsisters. So, even if you are a diehard fan of Disney's Cinderella, I would recommend reading some of the original tales, be the Grimms or Hans Christian Andersen.
Now, my biggest, and longest lasting problem with Disney's Cinderella is the characters. Don't get me wrong, the mice are adorable, and I have been known to sing "Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" on occasion, and Lady Tremaine can give me the shivers. But Cinderella and Prince Charming, you know, the two main characters of the story, are two of the most boring, unappealing characters that I have ever come across. First of all, Prince Charming. He doesn't even have A NAME. He is so uninteresting that they don't even bother giving him a name. He just sits around at the ball, yawning, until Cinderella shows up, and then poof, he's in love, story over. People make fun of Bella Swan (Twilight) for not having a lot of personality, but compared to Disney's Prince Charming, she seems like a delightfully dynamic character. Then there is Cinderella. She has more personality than the prince, I'll give you that. But, what I cannot stand about her is that she will not do anything for herself. She wants to go to the ball, great. But, notice, it is the mice and the birds that band together to make her dress. Then, when her stepsisters ruin her dress, does she take the initiative to find an alternative way to get to the ball? No, she cries in the garden until the Fairy Godmother shows up to make it all better. Then, after the ball, when Cinderella finds herself locked away, she doesn't try to get out herself, rather the mice risk being boiled by hot tea and climb up stairs at least twice their height to get Cinderella the key. It's not that I don't adore the cast of supporting characters. It's that the two leads are extremely lackluster and boring, and don't really take the initiative to do anything in the story.
However, that does not mean that the Cinderella story should be ignored. The original is, of course, fantastic, and there are tons of rewrites that make Cinderella one of my favorite fairy tales. Just not the Disney version. Try reading Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Not only does Ella have no fairy godmother, so she completely takes control of her life, but it explores what happens after the happily ever after. If you like science fiction or fantasy, try Cinder by Marissa Meyer. In this one, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living in a future where there is a race of people on the moon who can control people's thoughts. And finally, though it may be a kid's book, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine was one of my favorite books growing up.
Auroara is a Belmar Teen who has served on the library's Teen Advisory Board for several years. This is her first Teen Page submission.
Mackenzi knew that she was in for it when she saw the gum in the piano. She also had a bad feeling that Petra would get angry at her, so she had to do something to make Petra look bad.
Petra is a very good piano player, her music sounds like birds chirping, and she’s been playing for eleven years. Petra was at church practicing classical music on the piano when Mackenzi pushed Petra off. Everyone though that Mackenzi put the gum in the piano, but it was really Petra. Petra was pretending that she knew nothing about it.
“I don’t think you are allowed to play on the church piano,’’ Mackenzi said. Then suddenly, Mackenzi's face was turning red. Mackenzi hated Petra, she thought that Petra was a terrible teenager who was selfish. “I hate you, why do you always have to think only about yourself, why can’t you think about other people?"
As a result, Mackenzi started to put gum inside the piano because she thought that Petra played horrible, like someone who digs their nails on a chalkboard. “What are you doing? I have a concert tonight. How am I going to play now?” asked Petra.
“Well you are going to have to deal with it,” Mackenzi said.
A light went on, and Petra said, “if you want to work together I can help you practice for the concert.”
“I would like to help you with the concert. Can we become friends?” Mackenzi asked.
“Yes we may,” Petra said.
They worked together to get the gum out. Mackenzie helped Petra practice for the concert and they became best friends and the concert went very well.
Kenzie is a Belmar teen who is working hard on developing her writing skills by attending Write Club and looking to teen librarians for feedback. This is her second blog submission, and this time around she wanted to explore mystery writing techniques.
*photo by Craig Clough, Rock Island, IL
Moving Away to College to Find Yourself...
As a child my family visited San Francisco, and I can’t remember anything but the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was a foggy day, a misty magical day. Nothing had ever felt so majestic, and I had never felt so sure. I willed myself to return. I listened repeatedly to the song, “I Left my Heart in San Francisco” that squeaked out of an airport snow globe grabbed at the very last minute. I hadn’t quite left my heart there, but a number of my dreams, free to roll about in those thick clouds and burn bright against the day like the red of the wires.
My heart now has a reservation. This fall I’ll be reunited with those dreams, stuffed in the dorm room of a university in the middle of San Francisco. Part of me is ecstatic—I want to scream to myself as a little girl “You did it!!! You made it back!!!” Ever since my campus visit last spring, I’ve pictured myself in a million different ways. I imagine myself running up the 142 steps to get to the hilltop campus, late to class (yes, even this is idealized in my mind). I can’t wait to sleep on the huge green lawn, awakening to foggy skies and a thousand colorful rooftops. I dream of jumping on the bus to the bay and walking slowly in the ocean-licked sand. Located in a historic hippie neighborhood of the city, my friends joke I’ll return to Colorado with waist long hair and far too many bandanas for my own good.
Memories of the city and perceptions of college have always been fantasies, and have created idealistic images of myself, usually as the hippie-adventurer-city dweller-California girl. We all picture ourselves in a different way, in the peak of all we could be in the future. But parts of my upcoming experience are as foggy as my first day on the bridge. There are neighborhoods of reasoning through which I am just now embarking. Maybe my hair will grow longer. No doubt the city will become my home and my footprints will mark the beaches. But I am also preparing to move away from the home I have always known. I must not only give attention to the hellos, but the goodbyes. Not just the beginnings, but the endings. And this is the place, after my hair growing and sleeping on lawns and excursions into my dreams, from which I will launch my life.
Middle school is middle school. High school is high school. They’re pretty much mass delivered. They are the first struggle for identity—to see how well we can fend for ourselves and grow within the confines of sticky classrooms and packed cafeterias amongst people who try to make us forget who we are. So, we emerge from both with slightly shaky legs and wide smiles and the world we have known patting us on the back. Then what? Colleges with clean classrooms and vast campuses and enough room for a million dreams to float in the air. A city of new cuisine and new mentalities that thrive. People that don’t challenge who you are, but ask who you are (and truly want to know). So what I now search for is what to tell them. More than what clothes to bring and what bedspread to choose, more so even than selecting a major and classes, I am packing in my suitcase the memories and in my heart pieces of who I am.
My advice is to remember your dreams as a child, and to believe in yourself as you did then. Find your own San Francisco, the place where the person you become will truly begin life. Find whichever bridge will get you there. Your dreams are more than a song or a snow globe. Maybe it’s already the cheesy hippie in me talking, but your heart reservation is waiting somewhere. Wish me luck in fulfilling mine.
Hannah was the first teen contributor to our Teen Page. She is an amazing library volunteer and TAB member. We wish her much happiness as she moves on to her new adventure!
In three words...Who, Are, You?
geeky, childish, and level-headed
What's awesome about the town you live in?
I really like it, especially the part of town I live in. It's not in what you might call the 'hood'.
What sucks about it?
Ugh...it's just too big, honestly, there are a lot of strangers. You can't just go out and ride your bike or something. And you always have to be watched, especially if you have my mom. (She said with a smile)
What are you obsessed with right now, why?
Minecraft, it's an awesome game. It seems pretty ridiculous, but I love it. (whispers) It's awesome, I'm obsessed with it.
What's the most ridiculous thing you can think of to say right now...now!?!
Pink Toaster Waffles!!!
Got anything to say about the library?
I really like the library. I spend a lot of time here. I like helping it improve, helping out with stuff and volunteering.
Each month we feature an awesome member of our Teen Advisory Board (TAB). You might be wondering, "What is TAB and how can I become one of these AMAZING people?!?!" TAB is a group of teens who meet monthly to discuss how the library can best serve teens, to plan events, and most importantly hang out and have a good time. Talk with the Teen Librarian at your location to get invovlved.