The tale of Cinderella spans time and place. While many readers are probably familiar with Walt Disney’s version of the story as told through film, there are as many different versions of Cinderella as there are cultures and times. Popular culture is, unfortunately, perhaps more aware of different versions of Cinderella movies (think Ever After, A Cinderella Story, Into the Woods, etc.) than they are of different versions of Cinderella books. We’ve created this ultimate list of the best Cinderella books for kids to include Cinderella adaptations from a host of cultures as well as fractured fairy tales of this beloved tale from the modern era. Some Cinderella stories enchant with their stunning illustrations as in the version by Kinuko Y. Craft. Other Cinderella adaptations nudge open the door to understanding another culture, like “Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story”. Still other Cinderella fractured fairy tales, such as “Seriously, Cinderella is SO Annoying!: The Story of Cinderella as Told by the Wicked Stepmother,” remind us to see things from other perspectives.
This list includes books to appeal to readers ages 0 to 10 and beyond, from board to picture to chapter books. Board books are best for the littlest readers ages 0 to 3. Picture books are intriguing for all ages, but geared towards ages 2 to 6. Chapter books are generally for readers ages 6 to 12 and will include middle-grade fairy tale retellings such as “Ella Enchanted”.
Without further ado, dig in and enjoy this collection of Cinderella stories sure to make your heart sing! Are there other books you think we should consider including? Tell us!
Cinderella and Cinder Edna, who live with cruel stepmothers and stepsisters, have different approaches to life; and, although each ends up with the prince of her dreams, one is a great deal happier than the others.
This brilliant edition of a timeless story is sure to become the favorite of a generation. Readers young and old will be enchanted by the vision and mastery of Kinuko Y. Craft’s luminous paintings, inspired by the lavish artwork of late seventeenth-century France and embellished with extraordinary borders and ornamentation. Rich with radiant color and astonishing detail, here is a dream come true for anyone who has ever believed in living happily ever after.
Rhyming text accompanies this brightly colored Cinderella riff for the modern girl. This version set in space updates some aspects of the classic story modern readers may find incongruous (the prince not being able to recognize Cinderella by just looking at her, a shoe fitting only one person, etc.) and ends on a note independent women will adore: “I’m far too young for marriage, but I’ll be your chief mechanic”.
Once upon a planetoid, amid her tools and sprockets, a girl named Cinderella dreamed of fixing fancy rockets. With a little help from her fairy godrobot, Cinderella is going to the ball. But when the prince’s ship has mechanical trouble, someone will have to zoom to the rescue! Readers will thank their lucky stars for this irrepressible fairy tale retelling, its independent heroine, and its stellar happy ending.
Fanny Agnes is a sturdy farm girl who dreams of marrying a prince, but when her fairy godmother doesn’t show up, she decides on a local farmer instead. Reprint.
This was an absolute favorite in my house growing up and is one I’ll always want in my home library. Gail Carson Levine does a fantastic job weaving a beautiful tale of a girl who was given a gift at birth to always obey, but the gift has turned more into an imprisonment that Ella tries to break the curse and be herself. There’s so much magic, adventure, and heart in this fun book.
In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her. At birth, Ella of Frell was given the gift of obedience by a fairy. Ella soon realizes that this gift is little better than a curse, for how can she truly be herself if at any time anyone can order her to hop on one foot, or cut off her hand, or betray her kingdom—and she’ll have to obey? Ella’s quest to break the curse and discover who she really is, is both funny and poignant.
The Talking Eggs - The author of such delights as The Christmas Ark and The Enchanted Tapestry joins forces with illustrator Pinkney to resurrect a colorful folktale that captures the unique flavor of the American South. A 1989 Caldecott Honor Book.
Adelita - Hace mucho tiempo—a long time ago—there lived a beautiful young woman named Adelita. So begins the age-old tale of a kindhearted young woman, her jealous stepmother, two hateful stepsisters, and a young man in search of a wife. The young man, Javier, falls madly in love with beautiful Adelita, but she disappears from his fiesta at midnight, leaving him with only one clue to her hidden identity: a beautiful rebozo—shawl. With the rebozo in place of a glass slipper, this favorite fairy tale takes a delightful twist. Tomie dePaola’s exquisite paintings, filled with the folk art of Mexico, make this a Cinderella story like no other.
The Rough-Face Girl - From Algonquin Indian folklore comes one of the most haunting, powerful versions of the Cinderella tale ever told. In a village by the shores of Lake Ontario lived an invisible being. All the young women wanted to marry him because he was rich, powerful, and supposedly very handsome. But to marry the invisible being the women had to prove to his sister that they had seen him. And none had been able to get past the sister’s stern, all-knowing gaze. Then came the Rough-Face girl, scarred from working by the fire. Could she succeed where her beautiful, cruel sisters had failed?
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China - The Book Snob Mom - A beautifully told Cinderella story from China. The very sensitive reader may be alarmed by the stabbing of Cinderella’s beloved fish and how the stepmother and stepsister are crushed by rocks in the final line, but these are the only two gruesome incidents. The illustrations are lovely and the recurring pattern of the fish is original.
I reckon ye heard o’ Cinderella, but lemme tell you a story ‘bout a sweet li’l thing named Rose? Set in the Appalachian Mountains and told in a lilting dialect that just begs to be read aloud, this is a unique and lively adaptation of the traditional Cinderella story. Complete with an enchanting protagonist, a glass slipper, and a fairy godmother who just happens to be a hog, Smoky Mountain Rose is a joy to read again and again.
Think Cinderella was the sweetest belle of the ball? Think again! In this fun, quirky picture book, discover another perspective of this popular fairy tale. Along with bright, bold illustrations, the bestselling OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY series gives young children a fresh perspective on familiar tales. Read others in this series by acclaimed author Trisha Speed Shaskan, including TRULY, WE BOTH LOVE BEAUTY DEARLY! and HONESTLY, RED RIDING HOOD WAS ROTTEN!
A Caldecott Honor author/illustrator team brings us a Caribbean Cinderella story, told from the perspective of the magical godmother. You may think you already know this story about a beautiful servant girl, a cruel stepmother, a magnificent ball, and a lost slipper. But you’ve never heard it for true. Now you can hear the tale from someone who was there: a poor washerwoman from the island of Martinique. She has just one thing in the world to love, her goddaughter Cendrillon. When she finds Cendrillon heartsick over a rich man’s son, at first she doesn’t know what to do. But she has sharp wits, a strong will, and the magic wand her mother left her—and soon she has a plan to give her dear Cendrillon the gift of a love that will change her life. Adapted from a traditional Creole story, this fresh retelling captures all the age-old romance and magic of Cinderella, melding it with the vivid beauty of the Caribbean and the musical language of the islands.
Once upon a time, there was a sweet cowgirl named Cindy Ellen, who lived with the orneriest stepmother west of the Mississippi and two stepsisters who were so nasty, they made rattlesnakes look nice! But when a fast-talkin’ fairy godmother teaches Cindy Ellen a little lesson about gumption, Cindy lassos first place at the rodeo and the heart of Joe Prince…. You may think you’ve heard the story before—but you’ll get a side-splittin’ bellyache after you’re through with this hilarious rendition told Wild West-style!
This says it’s “Walt Disney’s Cinderella,” which in many ways, it is, but it has more depth than you might expect and is definitely not just a mindless character spin-off. It’s beautifully written and illustrated.
Cinderella’s story has been told over and over, but never has it been touched by the kind of magic created by the contributors of this book. Mary Blair painted the original pictures for Walt Disney’s incomparable animated film, and here her elegant art is gathered together as a picture book. Cynthia Rylant’s stories about hardscrabble lives have won not only awards and honors, but hearts. Who better to take a young girl from the darkness of her garret room to the light and brilliance of a ballroom? Together these two great artists have created something quite astonishing: a Cinderella that is breathtaking, heartrending, and joyous, both for those who are coming to the tale for the very first time, and for those who think they know it well.
The Persian Cinderella - In this jewel-like version of a classic story, popular folklorist Shirley Climo tells the tale of Settareh, the Persian Cinderella.
The Korean Cinderella - This is an enchanting and magical variant of the favorite fairy tale. Like the tree planted to honor her birth, Pear Blossom is beautiful, and the pride of her elderly mother and father. But then her mother dies, and her father remarries. Pear Blossom’s stepmother resents her new daughter’s beauty. Out of jealousy, she makes Pear Blossom perform impossible chores while her own daughter, Peony, watches idly. But fortunately, Pear Blossom is not alone. With the help of magical creatures—togkabis—she can accomplish each task, and triumph over her stepmother’s cruelty.
Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella - The classic story of Cinderella gains even more charm in this glamorous retelling by world-famous picture book writer and illustrator Shirley Hughes. Ella Cinders loves helping her father in his dress shop and laughing with her friend Buttons, the store’s delivery boy. Then comes the terrible day when her father remarries and everything changes. Her stepmother makes her sew in the dreary basement. Her stepsisters mock her shabby dress. And to top it off, the new Mrs. Cinders forbids Ella to attend the duke’s grand ball. Heartbroken, Ella is sure that her life will never be what she dreamed. But with the help of a fairy godmother and some sparkling courage of her own, this Cinderella discovers that dreams can come true in the most unexpected of ways. Join Ella amidst the dazzle and fashion of the roaring twenties as she takes happily ever after into her own hands!
Pigling: A Cinderella Story - From a life filled with heartache and hardship, comes an unmatched beauty destined for a fairy-tale ending: Pear Blossom, a young Korean girl, leads a happy life with her parents―until her mother dies and her father remarries. Her new wicked stepmother and stepsister make Pear Blossom the victim of their cruelty. They give her the nickname Pigling, or little pig, and do everything they can to torture her. But soon, magical creatures come to Pear Blossom’s aid―and one day, the girl meets a handsome magistrate. Will Pear Blossom’s luck change for the better? Or is she destined to suffer at her stepfamily’s hands forever?
Tortured by her stepmother and stepsisters, a kind and wishful servant girl is swept away by a fairy godmother to a fancy ball and a chance encounter with a charming prince.
By following her mother’s admonition to perform every task with care and love, a poor young Mexican girl wins the devotion of the governor’s son.
Blessed Mary rewards Teresa’s good deeds with a shining gold star. Later she punishes Teresa’s unkind stepsisters, Isabel and Inez, with hideous horns and donkey’s ears that they try to hide under heavy veils! But will Teresa outshine her stepsisters at the festival? Robert D. San Souci retells this popular folktale in a lilting narrative that includes all the magic of the beloved Cinderella story and traditional elements from Spanish tales. Luminous watercolors by Sergio Martinez accentuate the beauty and goodness that radiate from Little Gold Star.
In her debut children’s book, Rebecca Solnit reimagines a classic fairytale with a fresh, feminist Cinderella and new plot twists that will inspire young readers to change the world, featuring gorgeous silhouettes from Arthur Rackham on each page.
In this modern twist on the classic story, Cinderella, who would rather just be Ella, meets her fairy godmother, goes to a ball, and makes friends with a prince. But that is where the familiar story ends. Instead of waiting to be rescued, Cinderella learns that she can save herself and those around her by being true to herself and standing up for what she believes.
I love the premise of this series—traditional fairy tales represented in various artistic styles from around the world—and I love the illustrations in this book, which tell the story of Cinderella using a Mexican style. It’s fun to look at and fun to read. The only downside for us is that there are kind of a lot of words per page, so it’s a bit of a slow read.
The classic story of Cinderella gets a fresh twist in this vibrant Mexican spin on the beloved fairy tale! Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a little cottage with her stepmother and two stepsisters… The classic tale of Cinderella gets a fresh twist in this debut title of a brand-new board book series, Once Upon a World. With Mexico as the backdrop, and vibrant artwork from Mexican illustrator Sandra Equihua, Cinderella is still the same girl with a fairy godmother and a glass slipper—but she’s totally reimagined. Once Upon a World offers a multicultural take on the fairy tales we all know and love. Because these tales are for everyone, everywhere.
Elly and the Smelly Sneaker - In this twist on “Cinderella,” Lefty Lou, designated fairy godfather pinch-hitting for the fairy godmother, fulfills a proper young lady’s greatest wish—to play on a baseball team.
Kao & the Golden Fish - Pictures tell the story of a beautiful young girl who suffers at the hands of her jealous stepmother and stepsister. Text appears in the back of the book.
Cinderella - A magical adaptation Charles Perrault’s French classic that has been translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown, earning her the Caldecott Medal as well as the love of children everywhere. Even in rags, Cinderella is a hundred times more beautiful than her cruel stepsisters. And how she wishes to go to the prince’s ball! But her sisters delight in telling her that people would only laugh at her at the palace. Fortunately, Cinderella is blessed with a fairy godmother who can turn pumpkins into golden coaches, lizards into footmen, and rags into riches. At the ball, Cinderella will have the most thrilling night of her life—until the stroke of midnight!
The Egyptian Cinderella - This Egyptian spin on the classic Cinderella tale was initially recorded in the first century by a Roman historian and is retold here by folklorist Shirley Climo. Poor Rhodopis! She has nothing—no mother or father, and no friends. She is a slave, from the far-off country of Greece. Only the beautiful rose-red slippers her master gives her can make Rhodopis smile. So when a falcon swoops down and snatches one of the slippers away, Rhodopis is heartbroken. For how is she to know that the slipper will land in the lap of the great Pharaoh himself? And who would ever guess that the Pharaoh has promised to find the slipper’s owner and make her queen of all Egypt?
Mufaro was a happy man. Everyone agreed that his two daughters were very beautiful. Nyasha was kind and considerate as well as beautiful, but everyone — except Mufaro — knew that Manyara was selfish, badtempered, and spoiled. When the king decided to take a wife and invited “The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land” to appear before him, Mufaro declared proudly that only the king could choose between Nyasha and Manyara. Manyara, of course, didn’t agree, and set out to make certain that she would be chosen. John Steptoe has created a memorable modem fable of pride going before a fall, in keeping with the moral of the folktale that was his inspiration. He has illustrated it with stunning paintings that glow with the beauty, warmth, and internal vision of the land and people of his ancestors.
With a single word and an accompanying illustration on each spread, the youngest readers can enjoy these classic fairy tales.
Once, an Ojibwa man whose wife had died raised three daughters alone. The two older girls were lazy and bad-tempered, and made their youngest sister do all the work. When the flames from the cooking fire singed her hair or burned her skin, they laughed and called her Sootface. While she worked, Sootface dreamed that one day she would find a husband. Then a mighty warrior with the power to make himself invisible decides to marry. Only a woman with a kind and honest heart could see him, and be his bride. Though her sisters ridicule her, Sootface sets off to try her luck, never looking back. Her courage and good nature bring her the husband she has longed for.
Poor Maha! Her jealous stepmother makes her do all the housework while her selfish stepsister lazes about. Since Maha’s father is away fishing most of the time, there is no one to help or comfort her. All that begins to change when Maha finds a magical red fish. In return for sparing his life, the fish promises to help Maha whenever she calls him. On the night Maha is forbidden to attend a grand henna to celebrate the coming wedding of a wealthy merchant’s daughter, the fish is true to his word. His magic sets in motion a chain of events that reward Maha with great happiness, and a dainty golden sandal is the key to it all. Rebecca Hickox’s eloquent retelling and Will Hillenbrand’s lush pictures offer a beguiling version of a story well-loved by many cultures the world over.
In this Cinderella retelling, Sootypaws the mouse lives with her stepmother and sisters, who are rats in all senses of the word. But with a little help from her woodland friends, Sootypaws finds her way to the ball to meet her prince—and the two decide to ditch the castle. In the end, Sootypaws and the prince kick off their shoes and run barefoot into the meadow, where all the animals welcome them and they live mousily ever after.
The Irish Cinderlad - A hero’s feats? Ever since he was a baby, Becan’s only worry has been his big feet—until his widowed father remarries. His new stepmothr and her three daughters feed him crusts of bread and banish him to work in the fields. So Becan runs away. With the help of his only friend, a magical bull, he defeats a giant, slays a dragon, and rescues a princess. But before she can thank him, Becan disappears, leaving behind him one of his enormous boots. The princess scours the kingdom for the owner of the giant boot. Will Becan’s feet give him away? And what will his fate be if they do? Folklorist Shirley Climo retells an age-old Irish tale that is an unusual twist on the popular Cinderella story. Just like his female counterpart, Becan has a mean stepmother and stepsisters. Unlike Cinderella, Becan has large feet and a magical bull for a fairy godmother. He defeats a sword-swinging giant, slays a fire-breathing dragon, and rescues a princess. But before the princess can thank him, he runs off, leaving her with only an enormous boot to aid her in the search for her rescuer. And, as in all Cinderella stories, true love prevails. Folklorist Shirley Climo retells an age-old Irish tale that is an unusual twist on the popular Cinderella story. Just like his female counterpart, Becan has a mean stepmother and stepsisters. Unlike Cinderella, Becan has large feet and a magical bull for a fairy godmother. He defeats a sword-swinging giant, slays a fire-breathing dragon, and rescues a princess. But before the princess can thank him, he runs off, leaving her with only an enormous boot to aid her in the search for her rescuer. And, as in all Cinderella stories, true love prevails.
Dinorella: A Prehistoric Fairy Tale - This dreamy, alliterative and different Cinderella story will have readers doubling over with delight. Dinorella is dying to go to the dance, but her dreadful stepsisters, Doris and Dora, declare she’s too dowdy and dull. Dinorella is stuck in the den—until Fairy-dactyl arrives and bedecks Dinorella with some dazzling diamonds, allowing her to depart for the dance. Full color.
Cinder-Elly - A lively new twist on an old familiar fairy tale Readers young and old will enjoy this fresh look at the age-old tale in which an urban-dwelling Cinder-Elly used the help of a trash can, a copy machine, and even a glass sneaker to find her Prince Charming. With a jazzily rhthmic, rhyming text and quirky, funny illustrations, this version of the familiar favorite is irresistible.
First Stories: Cinderella - “Cinderella, you shall go to the ball!” First Stories: Cinderella is a perfect introduction to this classic fairytale. Push, pull, and turn mechanisms bring the story to life and introduce all the main characters: Cinderella, her stepsisters, the handsome prince, and of course the fairy godmother. This well-loved fairytale is beautifully imagined for a new generation by children’s illustrator Dan Taylor.
Jan Brett sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don’t recognize her.
Jan travelled to Russia and readers will be in awe of the Ice Palace aglow under a deep blue moonlit sky, exquisite ball gowns on the comely pullets, uniforms with gold braids and buttons on the cockerels, striking Russian architecture transformed into ice in the borders, and a very funny flock of chickens who provide an appealing, original look at this snowy Cinderella. Readers will find these dressed up chickens comical as they pour over the extravagant setting, including a “WOW”-inducing double gatefold of chicken couples whirling around the ballroom. A feast for the eyes sure to become a perennial favorite.
Many years ago in Poland, there lived a rabbi who had a wife and three daughters. One day, the rabbi asks his children a powerful question: “How much do you love me?” His older daughters profess their love in gold and diamonds, but his youngest daughter, Mireleh, declares she loves her father the way meat loves salt. For this remark, she is banished from her father’s home. In this flavorful Jewish Cinderella tale, Mireleh’s courageous journey is peppered with a perfect blend of magic and romance, leading to a reconciliation with her beloved father. Lavishly illustrated in Louise August’s bold linocuts, The Way Meat Loves Salt will make a wonderful gift for the Jewish holidays.
In this delightful retelling of the classic fairy tale, Prince Cinders sets out on an adventure, aided by his very own fairy godmother. Great for ages 4 and up.
A southwestern Cinderella story with a twist. “Way out West, where dreams come true, lived a poor cowboy named Joe Cinders.” Joe does all the chores while his mean stepbrothers, Buck, Bart, and Butch Bronco, spend their days counting buzzards in the sky. When pretty Miss Rosalinda invites them to her fall fiesta, the Bronco boys are determined that one of them will sashay her up to the preacher. Poor Joe is left at home to watch the cattle. Suddenly a mysterious fella in baggy overalls appears, and with a few waves of his crooked stick Joe is ready to knock Miss Rosalinda off her feet—if the escaped prize bull doesn’t do it first. This hilarious southwestern Cinderella story will make every reader wish for a fairy godfella.
Fair, Brown & Trembling: An Irish Cinderella Story - In this unusual version of a folktale favorite, Jude Daly introduces readers to a beautiful young woman named Trembling, her selfish sisters Fair and Brown, and the old hen wife who changes everything.
Cinderella - Bright, cheerful colors and humorous characters bring this beloved classic back to life. The funky artwork will appeal to princesses and kids of all ages.