No Hidden Agenda in Black Fairy Book
By Paul G Day
I just read an article about why parents are not buying children’s books with black characters and I have to say I am shocked and appalled. It appears that we in Western society are still governed by old prejudices and children’s literature is not immune. When I wrote The Black Fairy & The Dragonfly, I did not set out with an agenda other than to write a fantastic tale. I chose a black fairy because I wanted to make my character different, unusual and as most children’s books have fairies with light skin, I decided to do something readers would not expect.
I was not motivated by politics, nor a sense righteous indignation. I just had a simple idea to make my character shine and grow to become the hero she was always meant to be. She neither asks for, nor receives special treatment. She forgives as easily as a child has faith, in parents, in friends and in the whole world. Yet she is different, if only because she looks different. But even the other fairies come to not only accept her despite her differences, they come to love her for not what she looks like but because of the person (fairy) she is and becomes. They respect her for precisely the same reason they abandoned her out of ignorance. They even celebrate her differences, in the end not expecting or demanding she change to fit their society. Instead, they change from fearful superstition, to joyful acceptance. That’s what is central to my story, even if at the beginning I did not set out for it to happen.
I believe a story has its own life and soul and when I set out to write it, I often let it tell itself. I have an idea, a direction I want to go, but I change, I adjust as the story evolves. My only agenda is to put beautiful stories with meaning and purpose into the hands of children and young adults.
So, if you have any preconceived notion that my book is simply a PC piece of contrived nonsense, get it out of your head. Instead, accept that it will be a journey you may be apprehensive about undertaking and have faith that in the end it is quite familiar, but at the same time unique. Like the little black fairy herself, this book, my book, just wants to be loved and accepted for what it is; a simple fairy tale, beautifully told.