The “Coloured” Fairy Books

Andrew Lang was born in Selkirk, Scotland in 1844, educated at Oxford and later settled in London to become one of the greatest journalists of his day.  He did lots of writing in many forms of literature but is best known as a translator and editor of folk and fairy tales.  He collected the tales and published them in a different “colour book” almost every year for 25 years!

Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books and are a series of 12 collections of fairy tales.  These are also know an Andrew Lang’s “Coloured” Fairy Books or Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books of Many Colors.  The collections were published between 1889 and 1910.  There are 437 tales, in all, and they come from a wide range of cultures and countries.  You can find many of these “coloured” collections in the Special Collections section in the Children’s Department.

The first book, published in 1889, is The Blue Fairy Book.  It contains stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltzkin, Beauty and the Beast, and Hansel and Gretel just to name a few.  Andrew has said, “These are the stories every child should have in his library.  These are the ‘story people’ the child should know best.  Their names and their sayings have passed on into the language.  Think of not knowing the Cinderella story!”

You may hear some of these and others at our Storytelling Around the World program on Saturday, May 3 at 2:30pm.

About Kathy

Senior Librarian, Children's Dept, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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