Cinderella Cultural Study

Join us for our Cinderella Study!

cinderella study

Long before social media there was storytelling.

Storytelling is a HUGE part of human nature and culture around the world and few stories are as famous as Cinderella.

To see good rewarded and evil punished or justice is rare. Stories, however, pass on the realities not of the everyday world but of the human heart. One way in which the universal yearning for justice is kept alive is by the many tales of Cinderella… 1,500 or so versions of the basic cinderella story-type have been recorded so far. In each the cruel and thoughtless at last get their just reward as do those who are kind and good.

Rafe Martin, The Rough Faced Girl, excerpted from Author’s Note

Set your Focus

Use focus questions to help set the focus of your cultural story study. (See samples below)

  • Why has this story be retold around the world?
  • What are the similarities of this story across cultures?
  • What are the differences?
  • Which version of the story did you appreciate that most?

Choose 2 or 3 Stories for Comparison

There are over 1,500 documented versions of Cinderella stories around the world.

This is a quick comparative list with good reviews for those ready to create their own list to check out at the library or to add to their home collection. This book list is in no particular order.

Buy The Rough-Faced Girl by Rafe Martin for your home collection. This is the Algonquin Native American tale kept in it’s traditional form. It has many great lessons. The excerpted quote above is the inspiration for this study and this post.

Domilita by Jewell Reinhart Coburn is the Mexican tale of a hard working young woman who rises above hardships.

Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella by Myrna J de La Paz.

The Korean Cinderella told by Shirley Climo, illustrated by Ruth Heller. This story is a cinderella study with Korean embellishments and culture.

Yeh-Shen a story from China by Ai-Ling Louie.

The Persian Cinderella as told by Shirley Climo is the story of Settareh (the Persian Cinderella).

The Egyptian Cinderella as told by Shirley Climo. It is the story of the Egyptian cinderella.

Pick up a copy of the The Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo. Very far from any of the versions of this classic tale this is an excellent addition to round out your cinderella study as the main character is a male.

cinderella study

Award Winning Books

Cendrillion is the Caribbean Cinderella story bought to life by San Souci. This Caldecott Honor winning author-illustrator bings us the story told by the grandmother’s point of view.

Mufarros Beautiful Daughter’s is an African Cinderella tale told by John Steptoe set in Zimbabwe. This book has many lessons and is a great addition to any home collection of books. It has won the Caldecott Honor Award, It is a Reading Rainbow Book, Boston Horn-Globe Book, and has won the Loretta Scott King award for illustration.

English version of Cinderella by Marcia Brown translated from the French Author Charles Perrault

Graphic Organizer

Create a chart to talk about and keep track of important details. (Large poster or chart size for younger kids to do together & smaller personal sized for older kids. See example below.)

Discussion & Comparison

Discuss what observations students made about the different versions you read in your cinderella study. Have students choose 2 versions and compare using a Venn diagram the similarities & differences.


Discus; why is this story important important enough for many cultures to include it in their storytelling?

  • What did you learn?
  • What is the author’s message?
  • Is this story timeless? Why or why not?
Cinderella Cultural StudyCinderella Cultural Study

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