Monday, October 21, 2013

Fantastic school visit with Adam Gidwitz: sharing the REAL Grimm fairy tales, ages 9-12

Our school is buzzing from Adam Gidwitz's visit. Our 4th and 5th graders absolutely loved hearing his versions of the "real" Grimm fairy tales and are eating up his trilogy. I wish you could have been a fly on the wall at this author visit to see the magic that happens when an author captivates an audience of kids.

Adam started with storytelling, sharing the bloody version of Cinderella, the one that the Grimm brothers told long before Walt Disney tamed it. Clearly, there was no "bippity-boppety-boo" in this story. But did you know that there was no fairy godmother in the original Cinderella? Instead, Cinderella goes to visit her mother's grave and her ball gown springs from the tree that has grown there.

My students have been retelling Gidwitz's stories to each other all week, laughing as they recount how Cinderella had to clean out chamber pots (which, they will gleefully tell you, were toilet pots). And they still cringe as they recount how the evil stepsisters had to slice off their toes and heels to fit them in the shoe that the prince brought.

Adam Gidwitz at Emerson School, Oct. 2013

I loved how my students were able to think about why they loved Gidwitz's stories so much. He scared them, but kept adding humor all the way -- making them cringe and laugh at each turn. Even though they all knew how the story ended, he built up suspense so they felt like they were holding their breath waiting for the next part of the story. And, as you can see in the picture above, he used his whole body to dramatize his stories.

Here is our book club interviewing Gidwitz -- can you hear how excited they are?? (I'm sharing this through the free PodSnack site, so there's a quick ad to begin with):

If you're looking for a great fantasy for 4th and 5th graders, I highly recommend Gidwitz's Grimm trilogy: A Tale Dark and Grimm, In a Glass Grimmly, and The Grimm Conclusion. You can get a sense of them from the great trailers. Just see how your kids will be gripped by this:

I do want to note the way we prepared our students, laying the background for a great visit. We read aloud the beginning of his first book, hooking many students to start reading it before he came. We also read aloud several fairy tales, so they had already started thinking about how these stories were originally told for adults as well as children.

Many thanks to Adam Gidwitz, Penguin Books for Young Children and Books, Inc. for a brilliant author visit. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. Defiantly would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that one! Great interview by all the kids and happy to hear that Gidwitz will be writing more stories. What a wonderful opportunity for your students.

  2. How much fun that had to be! :) And what fantastic book trailers! I see his books on Barnes & Noble shelves all the time :)