YMB #41 Why Fairy Tales are Not Optional: A Conversation with Angelina Stanford

Angelina Stanford and I started our conversation with a showdown.

“I’m going to have to limit you to an hour,” I told her.

“You’re going to have a hard time with that,” was her reply.

Boy, was she ever right! I just wanted this conversation about fairy tales to go on and on and on. Fairy tales are a staple of many a childhood — I know I spent hours as a kid reading from Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. Thanks to the influence of people like Andrew Pudewa I have been sharing original versions of fairy tales with my own kids for years.

But I have never looked at fairy tales in quite this way before — Angelina and I dig deep into the history, the objections, the importance and so much more. I have a new favorite episode of the podcast. You might too! Enjoy.


This is your morning basket, where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day. Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 41 of the your morning basket podcast, I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy that you’re joining me here today. Well, sometimes when you’re podcasting, you have a conversation that you really wish would just go on and on because it is so absolutely fascinating.

And that was exactly what happened to me. When I sat down to chat with Angelina Stanford, all about Fairy tales, it was such a good time. I learned so much and was just fascinated by what Angelina had to say. Now, in this episode of the podcast, we talk about exactly what fairy tales are, why you should be reading them to your children and the importance of fairytales to every Christian. It’s a great conversation and we’ll get on with it right after this word from our sponsor.

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Angelina. Stanford has a master's degree in English literature from the University of Louisiana, and is one of the costars of the CiRCE book club podcast close reads. In addition to homeschooling her own three children, Angelina has spent more than 20 years teaching in Christian classical education. She has a deep love for myths and fairytales, and she joins us today to chat about how fairytales can enrich morning time, Angelina, welcome to the program.
Thank you so much for having me. It's a, it's a real pleasure to be able to talk to you today.
Well, I am so happy you're here and I want to start off by kind of giving our listeners a definition of what we mean when we talk about a fairy tale, what is a fairy tale?
Okay. That's a great question. Yeah. A fairy tale is actually more properly understood as a wonder story. When the Grimm brothers sat down to do their collection, the actual German word that they used was that it was a collection of wonder stories. And even while I'm going to Nathaniel Hawthorne, when he retails some of the myths and things, he calls his book a wonder book.
So a fairy tale is really any kind of story that has a sense of wonder about it. And you know, a lot of the stories that we consider fairytales like Hansel and Gretel, a little red riding hood don't actually have fairies in them. So fairy tale has become sort of a shorthand phrase for really what is large, more largely understood to be a wonder story. And there are some specific traits of a fairy tale without which a story can not be properly considered a fairytale. And one of those traits is that it has to have a happy ending, a fairy tale by definition must have a happy ending. And if you ever read a fairy tale that does not have a happy ending, it's actually a cautionary tale and not a fairy tale. And sometimes those will all be in the same collection, but those are actually cautionary tales.
Oh, that's so interesting. And by a happy ending, is it, you know, always like the Prince marries the princess or does it sometimes just mean like redemption,
Both of those things are true. There's a couple of different story patterns in a fairy tale. One is the Prince and the princess story pattern. So those are always going to end with the Prince and the princess getting married and having, you know, the happily ever after moment.
And the other pattern is very often a child separated from their parent. And we'll go through the store with very obstacle, you know, various obstacles to overcome in order to return home. So those stories, the happy ending is usually a reconciliation between the parent and child, but it's always some kind of happy resolution, some part what we'd call in literary circles, a comic resolution. So it would absolutely be a redemption of the orphan would find the home. The child is reunited with the parents. The princess marries the Prince, that kind of thing. Sometimes a story though, won't have that resolution. And so I'll give you an example of that. If I can, a lot of the fairytales that we are more familiar with as Americans or the French fairytales, the Charles Perrow fairytales, and now he actually, so he's not like the Grimm brothers, the Grimm brothers were folklorist who went out and collected the folk tales of the German people and put them in these collections for us. Charles Perrow did not do that. He actually was a writer at the time of the court of Louis the 14th. And if you know anything about history,
this would be Versailles. This would be one of the most decadent, immoral periods of French history, terribly, terribly decadent. And so what he did is he took these folk tales that were already in existence, and he rewrote them as cautionary tales for very specific purposes, namely, to give a warning and morality to this French court that he thought didn't have any moral.
So for example, a lot of people are surprised that little red riding hood actually has a redemptive ending in the Grimm version of little red riding hood. The woodcutter comes in and he cuts open the Wolf and out pops, little red riding hood alive, out pops the grandmother alive every, you know, everybody's restored, but in the French version, the story actually ends with the death of red riding hood.
And that's because he's trying to make it a cautionary tale. And I just, I love this. This is just so hilarious to me. He actually puts a moral at the end of the story cause you have to consider what the audience was, right. He's writing to the French court at Versailles. And the moral is when a young girl gets into bed with a Wolf she's going to be eaten alive.
Oh. So that would be a cautionary tale version of little red riding hood versus the true fairy tale in the Grimm's brother where they come back, they're resurrected and you have the full redemptive ending.
Okay. This is fascinating because I've often wondered, you know, why are there different versions of the same fairytales? And it's because an author would take the story and use it to suit their purposes, you know? And in the French versions it was for morality that's so fascinating.
Oh yeah. I think it's super, I think it's super interesting too. I always find the stories are just so interesting in terms of cultural markers, because, you know, understanding the imagination of a people is in my opinion, one of the greatest ways to understand a time period.
And so it's just really it, especially we talking about the same story and how it appears in different kinds of cultures and times and the different ways that it's using it. I mean, actually it says a lot about our own time that we're fascinated in twists on fairytales where the bad guy is recast as a good guy. You know, we can, we can really get going in that. But all of that is very fascinating to me in terms of like a cultural marker. Oh, that is interesting.
Well, okay. You obviously have a great passion for fairy tales. So why do you think kids love fairytales?
Why do I think kids love it? Well, I think that kids love fairytales for probably the same reason that I love them.
There's a real sense in which a fairytale is the purest form of story. The famous child psychologist, Bruno Bettelheim wrote a book called the uses of enchantment and which he did a long-term study about fairytales and children. Because if you study the history of fairytales during the enlightenment fairytales, fell very much out of favor. It's actually a combination of enlightenment thinkers and Puritan thinkers who were very anti fairytales.
The enlightenment thinkers were like moderns, right? Children need facts, hard facts, right. You know, and why are you filling their head with nonsense? And the Puritans kind of had this same position, right? Like we should be doing real things, Bible stories and not these fanciful stories. So very tells very much fell out of favor. And then over time, a lots of arguments came around. They're too scary for kids. Kids need, you know, safer stories, quote unquote realistic stories, all the same sorts of arguments that float around today. So Bruno Bettelheim. This child psychologist did this very extensive study about children and fairytales and his insights are absolutely fascinating. He says that the inner landscape of a child is terrified already.
Like the whole world is just huge and scary to them and they have these fears, right? And they're real since abandonment by parents talking to strangers, getting lost and not being able to find your way out. Like these are deep, deep fears that kids have. And so fairytales are not scary to the kids because it is a representation of the fears that they already have.
And so what they encounter in the fairytale is not a foreign, scary thing, but their own inner landscape. And in the fairytale itself, those problems are solved. The child is reunited with the parent. The lost person can find their way out. The orphan does find their home. The child who gets into trouble with a stranger is rescued. And so their fears are actually satisfied and they get this really deep sense of safety and comfort from these stories.
I also goes on to talk about how this is something that really always kind of tickles me. He says that it's adults who have a strong sense of the need for mercy it's children who like justice. And they really like the inner justice in a fairytale where good is rewarded and evil is punished. And they need these things because of their own fears, Chesterton, Gk Chesterton has a lot to say about fairytales. He puts it this way. If you don't read your child fairytales, right? You don't take away the fear of dragons. You simply take away from them. The promise that Saint George will slay the dragon and the child, that that's what the child needs. The fear is already there.
So I think there's a lot of answers to the question, why to children love fairytales. But I think that's one of them is that the fairytale itself is deeply, deeply comforting to a child. And the older you get, I think you start to become disconnected with that part. Over and over. I get asked the question, well, what about the weird parts of fairytales?
Because yes, there are some weird stuff in fairytales. I have never ever run across a kid who finds any of it, weird. It's the parents. And I've had this experience where I'm reading a fairytale out loud to my children and I'm thinking what the, this is nuts what is going on? And this could not be weirder. And I look at my children, they're not even batting an eye, right? I mean, that's like, it's not weird to them at all. Because everything is weird to a kid, right? The fact that the grass is green and the sun rises and sets like the whole world is just full of wonder and mystery and puzzlement and in a sense enchantment. And so what they encounter in fairytales is not any weirder than any of the other things they're encountering as a child. It's really the adults who struggle with that weird stuff more than the kids. So I could go on about this. Yeah. I mean, I just think that kids find fairytales deeply, deeply comforting in a way that they can't necessarily articulate, but definitely there's a sense of satisfaction in their souls. And I think that's part of the reason why they want to hear these stories over and over is that it's new.
It's not the plot and the suspense that's driving the enjoyment of the story. There's something else going on there, namely that there's just a deep satisfaction going on in their soul.
Oh, that that's such a great quote. I love that. Okay. But that does bring up a question for me. And we're going to kind of go back to the history of fairytales for just a minute.
Now, obviously Perrow was writing fairytales. You said the morality tales for the French court. So that would have been like he was taking these stories and writing them for older people. Am I correct? Yes, absolutely. Okay. But what about the Grimm brothers in the original fairytales? Were those written for children or were those written for adults? Those were not written for children.
Fairytales historically have been stories for adults by adults, but at some point they, around the time they fell out of fashion, they became more considered children's stories. But as we've studied it, children have done fine with the stories. But so that's part of the reason why I said that my answer of why children, like fairytales is the same reason for why I like them.
Like, I think it does the same thing for an adult as well. We still have a lot of fears too. Right? I mean, any parent that's ever lost sight of their child for a few minutes in a, in a grocery store, no knows that deep fear of, I just lost my child and my child's lost, you know? And so we have a lot of the same fears and, and actually in literature, the archetype of being lost in the wilderness is a pattern you see in so many stories. I mean, it's the, it's the pattern that Dante uses to represent our spiritual loss, this, and it's the same thing in a fairytale. It's why you have a lot of people wandering around in the forest and I can't find my way out.
And so there's a lot of us spiritual themes that are in fairytales too. So, so you can talk about, you know, just sort of these like childlike fears and the universal stories that are being told in the fairytale, but then there's also the whole other realm of the spiritual side of things. You know, one of the things that, one of the reasons that I think fairytales are, are so incredibly important now more than ever is because living in the modern age, we have a tendency to think of what is real as what can be experienced through the senses, right. What I can see and touch and feel, and hear and taste for us. That is what is real, the problem with that then is that when that becomes your definition for what is real, where does that leave things like God and justice and mercy and truth and beauty and goodness, right? We have lost touch as moderns with transcendent virtues and transcendent realities. And one of the things I like to say about fairytales, a fairytales are not just true. They are truer than true. They are realer than real because fairytales help to remind us of that, which is the realest reality, the transcendent right. Fairytales help us to remember that there is a mysterious reality behind what beyond what we can experience from the senses, right? That there is magic. This is an enchanted universe because God is in the universe, right? And it was a created universe, lovingly created. And there is meaning inherent in everything in the creation. And as moderns
We have lost touch of that so much. I mean, we get into conversations where people say, well, I don't believe in God because I can't see him. Well, we have gotten right to the heart of this question, right. Is the only thing that's real, that what you can experience with the senses or, is there a greater reality that transcends the natural world?
And that is what fairytales constantly help us to remember and to stay in touch with is the greater spiritual reality that, which is realer than real. And so inherent in the very pattern of the story themselves is that fairytales, retell, the gospel, every single fairytale tells the gospel story. They tell a variation of the gospel story. And really, I mean, it's just, it's immeasurable variations. I am constantly confronted with yet a new variation. I get all excited and giddy as I, I see a new aspect of the gospel story unfolding in these fairytales, but it's deep within the pattern of the fairytale itself. And that is because the gospel story itself is a fairy tale.
The two basic fairytale patterns are that there is a princess and the princess has been endangered in some way, right? Sometimes it's the evil stepmother. Sometimes it's a monster, but there are some obstacles that must be overcome. And the true Prince is the only one that can save the princess. So he overcomes the obstacles. He rescues her, and then he marries her. And very often in these stories, there's some sort of death and resurrection moment like sleeping beauty,right, where she is asleep, which is a picture of death. And he kisses her and he wakens her. That is the gospel story because Christ is the bridegroom who comes to slay the dragon and redeem his bride from death. He resurrects her, his kiss brings her back to life. And the reason that these stories end with and they get married and they live happily ever after is because that is also the gospel story because the gospel story does not end with the resurrection.
It ends with the marriage, supper of the lamb when Christ the bridegroom marries his bride and they have a celebration. That's why there's that pattern in these stories. And that's why it's so deeply satisfying to us. We need the Prince to awaken the princess with that kiss. It has to happen. Our soul is longing for it because we know that's what's right.
And the other variation of that, that's part of the gospel story as well, is that Adam and Eve in the garden are the children of God, and what happens in the fall, they are exiled, right? So you've got that story pattern. That's that fairytale pattern of the parent and child have been separated. There's an exile. That relationship has been lost.
And so you go through these fairytale stories and obstacles are overcome. And finally at the end, the child is reunited with the parent because that is also what Christ does, right? He comes to marry the bride groom and rescue the princess and slay the dragon. But he also comes to restore that lost parent child relationship. And so you see all of these variations of the gospel story in these fairytales themselves.
And it's just fascinating. And so, and that's why I think we feel that deep, deep satisfaction with that. And they lived happily ever after people will sometimes say, well, fairytales are so unrealistic. You know, they're teaching kids terrible things. They're teaching kids that once you get married, life is smooth sailing. No, that is not what a fairy tale is teaching because that's not how fairytales work.
A fairytale is not a marriage handbook. A fairy tale is pointing us to the transcendent reality of the spiritual realm. And in that reality, the bridegroom is going to marry the bride and it is going to be happily ever after eternally. And so it's not a marriage handbook, but it is absolutely pointing to those transcendent spiritual realities that our souls desperately long for us,
as I've said. And I think that's why children and adults and everyone, I mean, I personally get teary-eyed at the end of some fairytales because it speaks so deeply to the, my own longings in my soul. And when you get to the end, you know, a truly satisfying story, when you get to the end, you feel, this is how it should be.
This is as it should be. This is right. That that's the moment that you feel that satisfaction in your soul.
I am never going to look at a fairy tale the same way again. That was awesome. That was so awesome. And I do find it. I find it really interesting that backing up just a little bit to you talking about both them being the wonder stories and the kids really relating to what's in the story.
Whereas the adult might be starting to look askance at it that they were written for adults, but then it's the child in us, I guess, that it appeals to,
Jesus says you have to be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven. And I always think about that when I read fairytales, right? Like fairytales help us to regain that childlike sense of wonder that the whole universe is filled with meaning and everything in the world is meant to point us to the spiritual realities is everything.
This is why Christ says, look at the mustard seed, consider, you know, considered the bee, right? He's always pointing to nature to say, this is in nature because it tells my story. And that's what fairytales do too. They're constantly reminding us that the whole world is magical. And it tells us about this huge story in reality, beyond what we can experience with the senses.
Well, so I think we have to regain that sense of wonder and fairytales help us do that.
Nice. Okay. We'll speak for just a minute. What I mean, you've obviously made a great apologetic care for fairy tales, but what would our kids be missing out on if we only read them realistic stories?
Honestly, if you have to, I mean, I think fairytales are so critical that it more important to read those kinds of stories than it is realistic stories. GK Chesterton also talks about this. Several, several of the, of the big writers Lewis and GK Chesterton and Edith Nesbith has a lot to say about fairytales. They all sort of make this point, that realistic stories are not realistic. That that is a misnomer.
And that's, what's so deceptive about it because oftentimes stories which go by the term realistic are really naturalistic and materialistic. That is that they present a universe that is only real in terms of being what matter is, what is real nature is what is real, what is real is what can be experienced through the senses. And they completely ignore the spiritual realm,
right? And so they are getting a deceptive view of reality because there is a reality, the eternal reality, the truest truth is beyond what we can experience with the senses. And so we must constantly engage part of that. And I think, especially in modern times where, I mean, it's really a battle, the spiritual realm, the transcendent reality is constantly being denied.
So we have to work very hard to overcome that. And if you get caught up in these quote unquote realistic stories, it's very easy to give into the deception that what you see is the only thing that exists. And so I think that if you only read realistic stories, you're going to be giving your children a very skewed view of reality. And one of the things I like to say is, you know, as adults, we tend to think of the Bible as a work of theology and we've sort of thought through it. And we have all of these very rational, philosophical propositions that we've pulled down and that we believe to be true.
The truth is the Bible is just a really weird story, you know, and if you really get into it, sometimes we're kind of shocked at some of the weird stuff in the Bible. And again, it's for the same reason, right? Because the Bible is not a realistic story. You have giants being fought and defeated. You have dragons being slayed. You have all of these fairytale elements. You have people getting swallowed by whales. And there's a lot of, you know, what we would consider to be fantastical elements. A lot of reasons why modern struggle with accepting the Bible as being a quote unquote true book, right? Because again, they're going back to those definitions of what is real and what is true is what can be experienced through the senses. What can be verified in a laboratory, which is just another way of saying only the natural world.
It is what is, what is real. So I feel like fairytales and wonder stories in general have to be an essential part of education because we must constantly be reconnecting with the truest truth, which is at the transcendent reality. That is the real reality, much more so than anything you can get in a quote unquote realistic book.
Okay, well, I'm going to bring up some objections. What about the violence? What about the magic and the witches? Because the Bible clearly says we don't, you know, we're not to mess with those. So why would we introduce these stories that have, you know, Cinderella sisters like cut off their own feet to try to get them to fit into that and the crows come and pick out their eyes. And you know, why, what, what do you say to people who object, you know, on those grounds? Okay. So you got a couple of different issues there. You talked about the violence and then talked about the magic. There's almost never actually any magic in a fairytale. If you read a true fairytale and witches, that's often a word that's interchangeably used with just a bad woman character, one of the archetypes you'll see in a story in a fairy tale is that you almost have always all have a two opposing female character. So you'll have a good mother. Who's often the deceased mother, and then you'll have a bad mother that is usually either going to be in the form of a witch or in the form of an evil stepmother. And in terms of the story, they have the same function that is that it's a threat to the child. It's the false mother idea. And you also have a lot of false home ideas in fairytales as well. So part of the obstacle that the protagonist in a fairytale has to overcome is recognizing the difference between false homes and real homes and false mothers and real mothers. It's a way of having discernment about what is truly good and what is truly a deception.
So, withces is in fairytales, witches, are not, I can't even think of a fairytale where a witch is performing actual magic, not in, not in the real fairy tale, at least not in the sense that that we speak of magic. And also, again, those characters are always representative of evil and are always condemned and always get their just desserts at the end.
So that's just a matter of having a character, being able to represent evil, and you have to show them doing something evil, but there's certainly never a glorification of magic or, or anything like that in these stories. The other issue is the violence. And again, that is a concern that a lot of moderns have. And so you'll, you'll run into a lot of cleansing, a fairy tale, shall we say the Disneyfication of fairytales, where they take out a lot of these violent elements. So again, going back to the work that the child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim did, where he says, this is a huge mistake. This is a huge mistake that the children are not in any way put off by the violence because their own imaginations, you know, the kinds of things, kids are afraid of kidnappers. And I mean, I just remember being a kid and having so many intense fears right. In my own children, having these intense fears. And so he thinks that we do discredit to the fears that our children have when we don't acknowledge how terrifying their own fears are, and then offer them a comfort for that, right? Like, you know, the sorts of things that we tell our children that God is watching out for you or your guardian angel, is watching out for you. I mean, in terms of storytelling, there's not a whole lot of difference between saying your guardian angel is watching out for you or that, you know, fairies are watching out of you.
It's the same sort of idea. And I don't mean to put those on the same level, but I'm speaking metaphorically. And you know, one of the things that I think about is, you know, the children lie awake at night, scared about the monster in their closet, right? They're terrified of the monster in the closet. And our temptation is to go in there and say, there's no such thing as monsters. That's not a real comfort to a child because the truth is the world is a scary place. It's a scary place for adults. And while there might not be a literal monster in their child's closet, right, there are monsters in the world. There is evil lurking around me. The Bible says, sin is lurking at your door,
ready to jump on you. And so metaphorically your child is right to be afraid that there's something in the closet that wants to jump out and devour him. That is true. And so the comfort that we offer them is not to say, there's no such thing as monsters, but should be to say, we serve a God. A God loves you,
who is greater than any monster. And I can promise you that evil will be overcome and that Jesus will slay the dragon. We can speak that way to it. So in terms of the violence, I point to all of these authors Lewis and Tolkien and Chesterton and Bruno Bettelheim, and the whole, the whole gang who have extensively said that, you know,
children are not negatively affected by the violence, quite, quite the reverse that they find it great comforting because they meet their own fears in there and they see those fears conquered. And so it ends up being a very comforting experience to them. And the thing about the violence in Cinderella, I'm glad that you brought that up is one of the variations on the gospel theme that Cinderella shows us is those are actually images of works righteousness.
So the Prince shows up with the slipper, right? And only the true princess can have the slipper. So they mutilate themselves in an attempt to earn that, to earn the position, right, instead of being true and virtuous of heart, which Cinderella is they try to fake it. And so that actually taps into some very deep story. Archetypes, Dante really gets into this as well,
about how any attempt to earn salvation is ultimately self-destructive. And so a lot of fairytales actually have a self-mutilation theme, but that speaks to a deep spiritual thing. That's going on the way that we are constantly engaged in self-destructive behavior, trying to earn our salvation, right. We all have this longing for God and longing for a reconciliation with God. And we do a lot of terrible things to ourselves in the attempt to earn that right.
Instead of just accepting the gift that the Prince offers us. So, you know, again, part of what happens with the fairytale too, and part of the reason that we struggle with realism, I mean, we struggle with the violence issue is that we're such modern. So we keep reading this stuff like it's realistic. And we think that a child is going to read it like it's realistic,
but a child was much more able to read metaphorically adults. We have to work a little more at that, but fairytales are very much meant to be read metaphorically sort of violence and evil that you encounter there is to be understood metaphorically. And I think the kids have a much easier time with that than we do.
Well, Poke back at you a little bit, because you know, I've read Cinderella a number of times, and I don't know that I ever got that even when I was a kid. So this is like working at me on a subconscious level or some yes.
Yes. Because I give webinars a lot on how to understand the story archetypes that are happening in these fairytales. And I'll go into all of these details about how snow white is deep,
deep in its understanding of the nature of original sin. And that's all of what snow white is about. And we'll get into Cinderella and works righteousness and all this, and all the time parents will say, you know, I never saw it before. Should I explain to my child that this is what it means? And the answer is always no, no.
That I believe the pattern of the story itself works on you, even if you cannot articulate the story itself is so powerful. Nope. Years ago, I remember Cindy Rollins telling me, and this was hard to swallow. She said, when you read a Bible story, don't explain it. Don't moralize. That was so hard for me because I gave my kids what I called the Monday morning sermon.
And I would just get going, man. I was like an old school Puritan preacher, like three hours could go by and I was just getting worked up. Right. And the kids are all dutifully sitting there paying attention. And that was so convicting to me when she said that, she said, you have to just tell the story and let the Bible story do its work on your child.
I actually think that is a true principle, about many, many stories, including fairytales, that there is something very mysterious that happens to a person's soul with a story. And I think if we really think about the stories that we have deeply connected with, we know that that's true, right? It has a transformative effect on us, even when we don't really understand how these books that we go back to again and again,
and that are very special to us that we relate to in some way, I think that the story pattern itself has a transformative effect on the child. I don't think they have to know that's what's going on to req, to be, I don't think they have to articulate. And it's some kind of sophisticated, scholarly way to recognize there'll be, every child will recognize though,
that Cinderella sisters did something horrible and unnatural and it failed. They all get that. Right. Even if they don't understand all the theological implications of it, they understand it doesn't work. You can't make your foot fit the shoe. You're either the true princess or you're not.
Right. Right. Okay. That's so fascinating. So I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say, you would like not edit fairytales as you're reading aloud to kids and you would frown upon their only exposure being the Disney versions of these stories. Very much so. And you know what, I'm going to tell this story because I love it so much. If you can imagine this when the Disney snow white came and this was the first Disney fairytale that they did,and they really, Walt Disney almost bankrupted the company and the money that he spent on this film. So this was a huge, huge project, a huge deal. So when the movie premiered, you never going to believe this because I just loved the, the vision, the image of this CS Lewis and Tolkien bought tickets and went to see this movie.
Oh my gosh. Right? Like I just like the image of the two of them, like headed to theater to go see snow white just blows my mind. So they went and of course they hated it. They hated it. And Tolkein as you can imagine, hated it because he didn't like that the dwarves were buffoons. He was right. Because dwarves always represent wisdom in literature.
So it was just terrible. There, there are all these, they're the comic relief of the story instead of being the wise protectors of snow white, that they're supposed to be in the actual story. So they did not like it. And they both felt that it was not a true fairytale. And so I would agree with that. And so a lot of times when I talk about fairytales, people who are listening to me, their only exposure has been Disney. And so it's very, very hard to see these patterns in Disney because they are so significantly changed. And especially older kids who, if their only exposure to fairytales have been Disney. A lot of times it is so fascinating to watch them be exposed to a true like Grimm's brothers version of things.
They are shocked at how different it is, how gritty it is. And they're usually pretty excited about what they encounter there. Cause it's so different. I mean, Disney is, it looks little kid it's cartoonish and it's they just take the heart, right? They just take the heart right out of those things. I mean, so the Disney version of Cinderella, you would watch that and think that the reason Cinderella gets chosen is because she's beautiful and the sisters are ugly, but in the Grimm version, the stepsisters are never called ugly. They're not ugly. They're very beautiful. What is ugly about them is how mean they are and wicked and jealous and self-centered. So what is ugly about them is their lack of virtue, not their physical appearance. That's the kind of dangerous things that happen in a Disney movie. Right? Cause we don't want look, I mean, think about the culturally when we hardly want our daughters to think that the message of Cinderella is be beautiful, right? The message is be virtuous, be good. That is what captures the Prince's attention and heart is her good heart, not her physical appearance. So that's just one small example of the danger of the Disneyfication a fairytale. So yes, I have have a lot of concerns about that being someone's sole exposure to fairytales.
And all I can say is, I am just so glad that Lewis and Tolkien never got to see The Little Mermaid
Exactly. I think once was it Lewis it's so fitting for their personalities.
Tolkien was just like, I hated it. And Lewis was like, I could tell it was made with a lot of artistry and skill. Like I appreciate the technology, but it's not really a fairy tale. Like he's trying to get this political answer. I just love it. It just makes me laugh so hard to think about those two guys, go into the movies and seeing that film,
Oh wow, goodness
Now you've kind of touched on this a little bit, but so you're telling me that there's actually an appeal to teens for fairytales. When you start introducing them to the new versions are to the original versions. They're not going to necessarily sit around and rolling their eyes. That hasn't been my experience. They're usually very intrigued. And of course, you know, talking about boys, pick out some of the more violent ones they get into it them.
Well, give me some recommendations. If, you know, if we have some moms who are listening and they're sitting here going, wow, okay. We've been a little derelict in our fairytale reading here in our household and I want to introduce it, but the kids are older. What are some that might actually peak their interest and get them involved,
It could be a lot of fun if they have seen the Disney version, to just start with those, just let them see. And you know, while I'm not a fan of just telling kids what they mean, I do think that you can ask really great questions about comparison and which will get the children to make a lot of these observations on their own.
So if they've seen the Disney versions, why not have them read the Grimm and then ask them what was different? And it'll be really interesting to see the sort of things that they come up with. So I've been doing some consulting work with the school and they decided to introduce some fairy tales. One of the teachers actually just told me that that was her experience with the class that she was so surprised us.
So they read snow white on my recommendation and the kids only exposure before that had been Disney, snow white. And they were just shocked at the difference. And they, she said they had a fantastic discussion in class with a lot of the kids saying, well, this was different in that. And so this I think was showing us what sin does to us and the way it kind of ensnares us.
And lures us in, which the fairytales do a great job of that. I think fairytales do a great job of showing that the seductive nature of evil. That's why you have a lot of those images like candy house. I mean, what is a greater temptation than that, right. So yeah, I think that would be actually be a really great way to start is just let them start comparing and see the sorts of observations they make and just see what they make of the difference.
And why is that in the original story? And one of the questions that I always like to ask about any story I'm reading is why is this lasted so long? Why do people keep going back to these stories? What is it about them that speaks to the human condition that people keep going back to these stories? And a lot of times the answers that kids come up with her are very surprising.
Kids can be really shockingly insightful sometimes. Well, you know, That really brings up. It brings up an interesting question in my mind, which is, you know, it's so Disney obviously went back to these stories because he read them and he was speaking to him in some way and then to do what they did to them. Do you think they realized what they were doing or do you think it was an accident?
I really don't know. I mean, I'm not one to think that they're sinister plots behind everything. I mean, I know that, I know that he, I know that Walt Disney really loved snow white and that was a real passion to him. And some of the things about that movie are visually really quite stunning. I have a problem in general with visual representations of stories for a lot different reasons, because part of what needs to happen when we connect to a story is our imagination needs to be engaged. Like we need to be imagining what evil looks like in our own minds, right. Not what someone else imagines that it looks like, because the connection might not be as strong there. So I've got some issues with that too, but I doubt that there was like a plot about Cinderella doubt that they're sitting in the meeting, you know, like let's, let's make well something that glorifies female beauty. I think it just, when they sat around saying, and this is difficult, right? How do we visually represent that these people are evil? Well, it was just, it was just easy to make them ugly, but that was just the easy way out of the storytelling.
You know, it was much more difficult to show them behaving in an ugly way. So I imagine that that's the sort of thing that happened. And also that the, you know, you didn't have a bunch of folklorist making that movie. You had cartoonists. And so they were much more interested in the visual representation side of things. That that would be my guess.
And probably also some cultural pressure at that time to remove a lot of the violence of these. I mean, obviously they changed the ending, it changed the ending of Cinderella. And so what is lost there is that while you have the happy ending of the Prince and Cinderella being married, what you lose is the final judgment element of the story pattern, right?
It's not done enough that good is rewarded. Bruno Bettelheim tells us that a child desperately needs to see evil punished, which of course, that's part of the gospel story as well. Right? Good is rewarded. The saved are taken by their savior, but then, you know, there's the final judgment, right? There's retribution. That's also part of the story.
And Bruno Bettelheim says it's an essential part of the story for children. And so they take that out of that Cinderella because in the Grimm's version, of course I'm Cinderella extends forgiveness to her sisters, but then the birds come and pluck the sister's eyes out. Which if you ask a kid, what does that remind you of probably they'll tell you the verse in Matthew, where it says, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. And the sin of the sisters was a jealousy. So there I did cause them to sin. They were jealous about what they saw and so their eyes were then plucked out. And so there's this sense of final judgment and poetic justice. And you know, it all sort of works together and it's important that it's not vengeance Cinderella forgives, right? But in the cosmic sense, evil is punished, right? This is what happens. That is just part of the natural outlay of this story. You have all of those different elements, good as rewarded part of what good does, is it forgives those who have done evil to it. But then there's a whole flip side of the story too,
right? Which is that evil also is punished in the end. So you have all of those different aspects playing through a fairy tale. And so unfortunately the Disney version, it takes away that element. And that's part of the reason why fairytales, I think gets such a bad rap that you think fairytales are just about, the guy gets the girl, but there's so much more, there's so much more going on. We've just take, we've gutted them. You know, we've taken that out. I mean the original story of Cinderella has her going on and praying and the birds and you know, the animal helpers that come in, that's really a representation of the Holy right? The bird comes down and that's very scriptural and that's part of what's happening.
Why the bird plucks out the eyes? Cause it's the bird that has answered the prayer of Cinderella. There's no fairy godmother in the Grimm's Cinderella, it's she prays. And then the dove brings her the dress you see? And so it's an answered prayer. It's just the Disney version. Just guts it, guts, all that good stuff right Out of it.
Yeah. But the animals clean your house and the Disney version. Okay. I'm going to admit that. I would have told I'm totally for animal helpers coming to clean my house, then I'm fine with it.
Okay. Well, you've already touched on this just a little bit, but I want to go deeper and you've touched on it in that you've said, you know, don't try to explain this to your kids, but if you're sitting down in your doing morning time with your kids and you're going to read them a fairy tale, what does that quote unquote lesson look like?
That's a good question. I think you have a lot of different ways that you can handle it and you don't always have to do it the same way.
I think sometimes you could just read the story. I think it's totally appropriate to have them narrate. I think in fact, that would be really interesting to see what are the different elements of the story that the different children connect to. You know, you might have some that connect to the more happy ending elements you might have others that connect more to the violence who might have some that connect more to the judgment element, you know, evil being judged and conquered. And that would probably give you actually a lot of insight into your different children and kind of where they are. So you could do that. And I also think that it's very useful to use questions of comparison, especially when you start asking what's different, you know, you read snow white and you read Hansel and Gretel.
There's almost nothing the same about those stories. And as you ask questions, though, you can begin to see that not every fairy tale ends with a wedding, right? Sometimes a fairytale ends with a child being reconciled to his parent. And there's a lot of interesting discussions that can come out of that. So I think it's fine to discuss them a lot, really, really good to ask comparison. And I mean, that's just a really simple way to put a lesson, right? You just, you read the story and how is this fairy tale? Like the one we read yesterday, how was it not like that when we read yesterday? And then I think that the discussion would kind of flow organically from that.
I wouldn't even be opposed necessarily to making like a chart, right. I'm opposed to like charting plot elements. I'm posted that. But if you wanted to ask them what was the same and what was different, and then as they said, it themselves kind of marking it, that could be a lot of fun to see how many different repeating things and fairytales they discover.
Right? So like the number three comes up hundreds of times and fairytales people always doing things three times. People are also often doing things seven times. There's lots of biblical numbers that come up. Lots of images of the Trinity lots and lots of story elements that are repeated in fairytales that have very, very heavy symbolic, metaphorical and spiritual meanings. So that could be fun too, just to have them sort of keep a list of the things that they're observing about these fairytales. And then from that you can ask why, why do things keep happening three times? It'd be really interesting to see what kind of ideas your kids would come up with for what is so significant about and number three, why are we always seeing the three obstacles,
the three attempts, the three, the three of the three, right. And where else are we seeing the three? And you could even relate it to maybe some of the Bible stories like, wait a minute. So David just defeated a giant. I mean, that, that actually that whole archetype is so fairytale, right? That there's a threat to the land and the untested unproven kind of nobody warrior shows up and you know, he wants to his, I can do it. I can slay the dragon. I can kill the giant, everybody kind of laughs at. And then, then he does. And in a fairytale, anytime that happens, that character always becomes the King. That's the reward for freeing the land of the threat. So, you know, there's all those great fairytale patterns in so many of the Bible stories.
So that could be a lot of fun too, to pick up on a lot of those things. So yeah, I would say definitely use the comparison, and I mean that doesn't require any prep work, right? Just how is this like this? And then we'll also be really, I love fairytales because fairytales really tap into a lot of Charlotte Mason ideas, right? So you can develop that habit of attention by asking how is this like these other stories? And so there'll be paying attention to the details. In fact, one of my favorite Bruno Bettelheim quotes going back to our child psychologist about reading fairytales or the reason that I love this quote so much is because I feel like he's quoting Charlotte Mason, but he's never even heard of Charlotte Mason.
He says, when asked, do you explain to a child what a fairytale means? He says this, a child will get from the fairytale, what the child needs. And so he does not think that you should explain it. In fact, he goes on to say this, which I think is fascinating that if a child reads a fairy tale and latches onto something, that's meaningful to him, but you think, Oh, you got that all wrong. He says, be patient don't correct it that eventually they'll reread it and realize, Oh, I got that all wrong. And that is the moment when the child realizes I'm growing, I'm learning. I understand things now that I did not understand six months ago or a year ago.
And I love that quote because that is that's true for me constantly as a reader. Right. I'm sure it's true for you too. Every time I reread something, whether it's a Bible passage or a novel, and I see something and I have that moment of, Oh, wait, I totally didn't get that before now. And then you have that feeling of I'm learning, I'm growing, I'm becoming wiser. And so he thinks, you know, don't Rob your child of that experience of realizing I'm learning and I'm becoming wiser that children need that too. So I just love that.
It takes a lot of pressure off of the mom too, to have to, if you, you don't have to jump in there and explain everything, you know, right. Then you don't feel like you have to be prepared to jump in there and explain everything. You can just read the story and enjoy it, your children, and let them take from it what they will. And so...
And it can be a challenge too, when they get something wrong. Okay. I'll tell you this. This was,
I took this to heart after Cindy rollin said, don't explain Bible story. So I read my, I think my son was seven at the time I read the story of Samson and Delilah. And when I was finished, I said, so what do you think that story is about? And he leaned back so confidently and said, never trust your wife.
And I didn't say anything. and eventually he figured out that was wrong. And so he, he had his mother, but you know, that was an act of faith on my part, hearing him get that completely wrong. So you have to trust the process, you know, he'll, they'll eventually figure it out. Oh goodness. That's funny. Okay.
So we know now why we should read fairytales and we have an idea of how we should go about doing it and which ones we should avoid, which versions we should avoid. So can you recommend a couple of anthologies or collections of fairytales that you think would be good to start with? Well, I'm a big fan of grim and I also really liked the Andrew Lang fairy tales.
He's also a folklorist. So I tend to like the folklore. So the Andrew Lang the different color, you know, the red fairy book, the blue fairy book, those are really good. And you can start with the more classic traditional fairytales, you know, your snow white in your little red riding hood and Hansel and Gretel and all those kinds of, you know, ones that American audiences are pretty familiar with. And, but don't be afraid to branch out into some weird ones that you've never heard before. And also don't be afraid to jump into other cultures. You know, I've got friends whose, who love reading Chinese fairy tales and things like that to I've read some of those collections. They're very interesting.
And that's also really interesting too, to see the same stories in different countries and the way that they play out. I've got lots of different collections like that. So that's fun too. So yeah, a lot of times people message me or something and say, no, so we've read Grimm and we've read Lang where do, where do we go from there?
There's lots of other places to go. I'm a big fan of 1,001 nights and the middle Eastern fairytales. Those are a lot of fun. And so those are pretty dark, but those were some special favorites of mine when I was a child. So I'm very fond of those as well, but just jump in anywhere really.
Do you find that the fairytales from the other cultures point to the same truths that you've been talking about, the European fairytales point to?
I do, and that is, that is one of the fascinating things for me. It's one of the ways in which I think that, that these stories are just imprinted in our hearts. I truly believe that this is the story that God is telling in the universe, right? The story of the child being reconciled to the parent and the child that the Prince is going to slay the dragon and rescue the princess.
This is the story of reality and it's imprinted in our hearts. And so I think that every time we tell a story, we cannot help, but tell that story because it's the story inside of us. And we just keep telling variations of that same story. And for me, that's, that's, if you want to talk about evidence for me personally,
that is tremendous evidence of the truth of the gospel is that it is inescapable. It is just inherent in human expression. And even when people try to not tell that story, they end up telling that story. And it's absolutely fascinating to me.
Okay. And you're actually working on a book on this very topic, Aren't you? I am. Yes.
Tell us a little bit about that. Well, so my basic thesis is that, as I said, every story is a retelling of the gospel, even when it's not, if it's deliberately trying not to. So I go through every kind of story in this book, myths and fairytales, the Epic's medieval romance all the way through nihilistic stories and naturalistic stories and postmodern stories.
And I show how each of these stories is inescapably telling the story of the gospel in some variation. So even if the author is trying not to, yup. Oh, fascinating. Inescapable. That is this absolute Fascinating. And we're going to look for that book probably next summer. That is the expected Lord willing release date. We'll have a launch for that in July of 2018.
I'm about halfway through writing it right now. It's a lot, a lot of research. Oh, I bet. I bet. Well, we will. It's a lot of fun. Look for that. Well, Angelina, you know, you warned me at the beginning, Here and talk to you all night long about this. This is absolutely fascinating.
And I just want to thank you so much for coming on and sharing your passion about fairytales and what these stories mean. So thank you very much. I appreciate that. It's, it's been a lot of fun talking to you and if your listeners want to get more in depth and they can go over to my website, Angelinastanford.com and sign up for my mailing list because I do give webinars where I go through a specific fairytale.
So I've done snow white and I won't, by the time this airs we'll have also done Hansel and Gretel. And I just go through and show you every single detail in the story and how it is telling the gospel story and a variation on that. So I've got a whole series that I'm working on. So I hope to do quite a few more of those.
Love it. We will put a link to that in the show notes for this episode, and I'm going to go over and enter my email address. Wonderful. Well, thanks so much. It's been a lot of fun. Thanks for having me. There. You have it. If you would like links to any of the books or resources that Angelina and I spoke about today on the podcast, you can find them on the show notes for this episode. And those are pambarnhill.com/YMB41. You can find everything you need over there, and we'll be back again in another couple of weeks with another great your morning basket interview until then keep seeking truth, goodness and beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Fairy Tales

Fairy-tales are wonder stories, or stories that have a sense of wonder. One necessary trait of a fairy tale is one that has a happy ending. Common story patterns include prince and a princess getting married and living happily ever after or a child being separated from a parent where they are brought back together at the end.

Originally, fairy tales were stories written for adults but over time they became associated with children’s stories, which may explain why some of the themes of the stories are often harsh or even violent. But, just because fairy tales contain scary themes, we shouldn’t keep them from children. Often children are not disturbed by them because the resolutions at the end of these stories often provide for the child a sense of security that all will be okay in the end.

Fairy tales have deep spiritual significance. They contain the same themes that resonate with the human heart because they are all a retelling of the Gospel story or a portion of it. This is why the “and they lived happily ever after” resonates so deeply with us. When we are teaching fairy tales to our children, we don’t have to work too hard to draw out this deeper meaning. Read the story and let the fairy tale do the work in the childs heart.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [2:44] meet Angelina Stanford
  • [3:20] defining fairytales
  • [7:56] the reasons fairytales are so loveable
  • [12:31] original audience for fairy tales
  • [16:22] two basic fairytale patterns
  • [20:32] an argument for fairytales
  • [20:30] dealing with violence in fairytales
  • [35:16] getting older kids involved in fairytales
  • [42:05] how to teach lessons with fairytales
  • [48:15] Angelina’s recommendations for fairy tale anthologies

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  • Knowledge Goldmine
    by A.J. Edwards from United States

    I’ve just been eating up every episode of this brilliant podcast over the past few months. The guests are stellar and Pam’s interview style is wonderful. She gets each guest to the meat and potatoes of their topic but it’s anything but a plain meal. This is a feast for the homeschool mom’s mind. I know I’ll be revisiting many of my favorite episodes again and again. Feeling so inspired by each guest!

  • Myths and fairytale truths for homeschoolers
    by Allierhn from United States

    Mind blown! I’m listening to the myth podcast and it’s absolutely perfect. It is answering so many questions I’ve struggled with my whole life. It helps me to view our curriculum and informs my teaching so much more.

  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

    I can’t speak highly enough about this podcast. It has been a huge inspiration and a practical help to my homeschool! Thank you so much Pam Barnhill and everyone else who contributes to this. It has been an amazing blessing to me and my children… And possibly generations to come!

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

    Not only am I inspired by each episode of this podcast but I have actually put so many of the ideas into practice in our own morning time. Such a huge help as I seek to inspire my non-stop boys to truth, goodness and beauty. We are now memorising poetry as they jump on the trampoline and they love Shakespeare. That's a parenting win in my book!

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

    Thank you, Pam! I’m now bursting with inspiration and can’t wait to start our 2019 school year with a strong morning time routine.

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

    My heart is enriched and I can’t wait to learn more.

  • Just what I was looking for!
    by Joey5176 from United States

    I was looking for morning basket ideas—simple ones. These podcasts are giving me a picture of a good morning basket.

  • Wow!! What amazing nuggets of knowledge
    by HeRo84 from United States

    This is truly life changing information for me as a homeschool mother. Thank you Pam for this amazing series.

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

    I love all of Pam’s podcast but this one is prob my favorite. I love to listen to all her guest and see the different ways a morning time can be done

  • Excellent
    by W.A., R.A. Hall from United States

    Love this!

  • Love, love, love this show
    by SarahPMiller from United States

    And I'm not even a homeschooling mother! But I've created a Morning Time for my children nonetheless, and I wouldn't have been inspired to do it -- nor could I have done it -- without this podcast. It's my favorite, and I get something out of every single episode.

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

    This podcast has changed what I thought I could offer my children, my family and myself... I never would have believed that it would be possible to live a life as so many people actually do. Thank you for these tools and for what you do to help women, teachers, moms and all those on this path. You are amazing and I just can’t get enough, each episode teaches me so much!! Thank you again!

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

  • Insightful, Inspiring, Life-Giving Podcast
    by Mackenziechester from United States

    I love this podcast. It has turned cleaning my kitchen into a really valuable part of my day. There are great tips here for gathering your family together and finding ways to share the things you are passionate about but can never quite find the time to fit in to a typical school day. So many ideas, so many varied topics. Great, inspiring guests. Life-changing podcast. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas!

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

    This podcast is inspirational for your homeschool plans. Pam Barnhill has a delightful interviewing style and her guests share their insights and enthusiasm for their topics. Among my favourites are the episodes with Cindy Rollins, and Angelina Stanford. Don’t miss this encouraging podcast!

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

    Some great interviews and very helpful for figuring out the flow of our mornings.

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

    Just started this podcast. There are some very interesting ideas here on how to create quality time with your children, learning together and focusing on the things that are most important in life. Great hearing other moms' stories too.

  • WARNING: This podcast will revolutionize your homeschool!
    by JoysTeacher from United States

    Honestly, I started listening to this podcast because I had run out of other homeschool podcasts to listen. I really didn't think we needed a morning time! I homeschool one teen daughter and I thought the concept was too "baby" for us. WOW! I was completely wrong!! We needed a morning time, and it has changed the climate and the productivity of our homeschool. The habit was so important to us, we still do morning time when we are one break. (And neither of us is a "morning" person). Pam is an talented interviewer and will not waste your time (her time is precious, too)!

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

    I'm really enjoying the ideas and tips Pam bring up in this podcast!

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

    I have started a morning basket just because of listening to this podcast. Pam sold me on the beauty of having a morning basket. I love all of the ideas I've gleaned from listening and I've implemented many of the ideas I have heard about through this podcast. It's really helped simplify some things in our homeschool day!

  • Easy to listen too, incredibly practical
    by HarrisFamily0323 from United States

    I really enjoy Your Morning Basket. Pam is a great host and I have taken away many practical ideas and had many unrealistic expectations corrected. I don't listen to all the episodes, but the ones I've thought were pertinent to my needs and have been able to apply something helpful to our homeschool. Thanks Pam!

  • So helpful for this new homeschooling mom
    by klund08 from United States

    I'm planning our first homeschool year and have really enjoyed this podcast! The interviews are great and I enjoy hearing from different homeschooling moms and how things work in their family. I'm excited to start Morning Time with my kids!

  • You've made my school year!
    by Lizzie O' from United States

    Pam, I wrote you an email when I first felt it placed on my heart to homeschool my now 6 & 8 year old children and you responded with a warm response. I then began to listen to every podcast you have (all 3!) and I have been so very inspired and encouraged in so many ways that it would take up too much time here to explain it all. This Morning Basket podcast is really a light for me and my children as not only are they the recipients of our mornings of gathering but so am I. I have learned so much from your guests (and you!) and have been able to take tips/ideas to add to what my own mornings look like. We truly have experienced Truth, Goodness and Beauty. God certainly has chosen you for this type of work and serving to others. Thank you for what you do!

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

  • Truth, goodness, and beauty
    by I'm Sonny from United States

    Need I say more? I am deeply grateful for this profound and practical resource as we seek to surround our children in the truth, in goodness, and in things beautiful. I leave feeling encouraged, refreshed, determined and equipped.

  • Very encouraging
    by .....hk..... from United States

    So helpful with recommendations for new things to do in morning time.

  • A wonderful podcast full of useful tips!
    by Klarnold79 from United States

    I have listened to almost every episode over the last few months on my morning runs and they have made me look forward to running! I have learned so much and have been inspired to add truth, goodness and beauty to our homeschool days. Thank you so much!!

  • Wow! Talk about a solid series!
    by KastenbauerFamily from United States

    Each episode is fabulous alone, and when you've been listening for a while, they all continue to be full of new information!

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

    I enjoy the variety of topics covered as well as Pam's cheerful personality. Thank you for being a cup of cold water for so many homeschool mamas.

  • Great guests and host
    by My Life as a Rinnagade from United States

    I love the people Pam has on and all the great morning time tips! Thanks for a wonderful show :).

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

    The ideas, information and encouragment that Pam shares through the different guests and talking about the purpose and practice of Your Morning Basket has been a huge blessing to our family. Helped me to practically see how to bring truth, beauty, and goodness to our day.

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

    I have just started listening and am gaining so much knowledge and practical advice. I can't wait to keep listening to more.

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

    I absolutely love Your Morning Basket podcasts. Pam interviews excellent people & so far, I've incorporated information from each podcast & have purchased many items that the interviewee's suggest. I think all families could benefit from this even if they don't homeschool! Thank you so much!

  • Love Pam's podcasts
    by Flourishing Mama from United States

    There are many homeschool related podcasts that I enjoy, both for their content and the host. But I must say that Pam Barnhill's podcasts are top-notch for the following reasons: 1) the content is both relevant AND in-depth, 2) she NEVER interrupts the guest speakers with incessant (annoying) "uh huhs," "ummms," and such, 3) she provides multiple lists and links to supplemental materials that are really useful and interesting, and 4) she shares forms she's created even though she could make you pay for them. She has a gift for tapping in to the issues homeschool moms are REALLY dealing with. Thanks Pam. Keep up the good work!

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

    Every episode inspires me to start my day bringing my children the true the good and the beautiful through our family time.

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

    Every time I see that I have a new podcast from Pam Barnhill I know it's going to be good. Every one I have listened to (which is all of them!) have helped, inspired and encouraged me in some way or another. Pam is so good at summarising what her interviewee has just spoken about; a great knack which helps me distill the main ideas from all that good conversation. I really like that she always has links to whatever is discussed so that I can go back to it in the future and find what I need.

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

    Such a help for a new homeschooler. Highly recommend that you check it out if you'd like to learn more about starting your day with morning time.

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

    This podcast is filled with great information to help you take full advantage of morning time or all together time in your homeschool. It also has great tips for extending your child education whether they are in public or private school as well. We all want to aid our kids in thier success and no matter if you are a homeschool parent or a public/private school teacher this podcast will enlighten you and provide valuable information you to to better help your students.

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

    One of my favorite podcasts and I love and subscribe to all of Pam's podcasts. Thank you for the fabulous interviews.

  • Must-Listen for Homeschooling Moms
    by DaffodilSocks from United States

    This podcast has revolutionized how I homeschool my young children. A must-listen.

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

    Love Pam and all of her podcasts - can't wait for new episodes!

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

    Just found this podcast and have been listening to them over the summer break. Pam is a great host and has fun guests and together they bring a lot of inspiration to the concept of morning time in homeschool. Thanks for the great resource!!

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

    I would not be exaggerating if I said that I have learned so much from this practical, encouraging podcast that has changed our homeschool. Thank you Pam!

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

    This podcast does a great job finding guests who give a ton of practical help to make morning time enjoyable and educational for everyone. I always feel reenergized after listening to any of Pam Barnhill's podcasts.

  • by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

  • Such a wealth of information!
    by Jeaine6 from United States

    There is so much wonderful information to be found in these podcasts. I can go about my daily chores and fill my homeschool mom cup simultaneously! They allow me to look at areas of our hs that need improvement or just need new life and feel encouraged while I'm listening. Thank you!!

  • Encouraging & inspiring
    by God's Ranch Hand from United States

    So thankful for this podcast! I look forward to listening to each episode when it comes out.

  • Homeschool Professional Development!
    by Jo.W.17 from Canada

    As a new-ish homeschooling mama, I've found this podcast super encouraging and helpful. I would highly recommend it!

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

    I love the practical application that comes from this podcast! Thanks!

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

    This podcast has become my most favorite podcast on the subject of homeschooling. The topics discussed often go right to the heart of why I'm doing what I'm doing in our home--and God has really used the great advice shared in this show to help me be a more confident (and calmer!) teacher. Thank you, Pam, for creating such a great program! Already looking forward to next season.

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

    This podcast has absolutely changed my perspective on homeschooling, in a great way! All of the guests have been wonderful and I leave each episode feeling both sad that it is already over, and encouraged and excited to figure out how I can use what I’ve learned! It has a great flow to it, very light but meaningful, informative, encouraging….I could go on and on! Absolutely LOVE this podcast! Thanks to all involved!

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

  • Practical, helpful & concise tips
    by sproutnchic from United States

    This podcast continues to help. I appreciate the Pam Barnhill's professional, organized, yet warm interviewing style of some well-picked guests.

  • So refreshing and helpful
    by a. borealis from United States

    I've really appreciated the depth and breadth of Pam's look into Morning Time and also the practical ideas and tools to make it work. It is so inspiring! It helps me think through my own Circle Time, realizing what an opporunity I have. There are so many great ideas for additions and tweaking my approach. I am loving it.

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

    This podcast has been so helpful and packed full of practical ideas to use with my children!! Some of the episodes I have listened to more than once!!

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

    Pam makes this morning time concept so attainable! She gives great ideas but simple ways to begin. These tips and recommendations reach far beyond just morning time and are benefiting our entire homeschool and family life!

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

    This podcast is full of amazing ideas to grab my kids attention first thing in the morning. I love listening to Pam and her guests. Pam asks such great questions of her guests!

  • A Favorite for Homeschool Encouragement!
    by JamesDWitmer from United States

    I have been so encouraged by Pam's podcasts on Morning Time. She walks you through many of the wonderful activities that you can choose to include in your homeschooling, and also the details about how to do it! It has truly been a blessing. Thanks Pam!

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

    I just stumbled upon the "Your Morning Basket" podcast this weekend. I have already listened to 2 episodes, and they are wonderful - perfect for the homeschool mom. I am going to share this on my Periscope channel tomorrow. So great!! Jamie @OurLittleSchoolhouse.

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

    I love the idea of a morning basket, and this podcast has helped me learn a lot about the different ways it can look! I love all the different subjects she discusses within it!

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

    This podcast has been such a blessing to me! Informational and insightful, it opens a window into how other families incorporate morning time into their day, as well as what they fill it with. This has completely changed the rhythm and content of our days for the better. Our whole family has fallen in love with morning time! Thank you!!

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

    I absolutely love this podcast! It has been so encouraging as I begin to implement Morning Time with my 5 girls. I have listened to them all & can't wait for more!

  • This podcast has changed our homeschool
    by Momof4athome from United States

    Pam has relieved some of the pressure to "get it all in". We now begin our day with the good true and beautiful in an almost effortless way and are all enjoying our time together before the "serious" subjects! Yay for the morning basket! Her guests are all lovely people you would want to have over for tea. I love this podcast.

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

    I am loving this podcast. I just stumbled across it after hearing the recommendation over at Read Aloud Revival. I have been wanting to start 'Morning Time' for a year now so this is giving me direction and so many wonderful and helpful tips and suggestions. I love Pam's enthusiasm and personality.

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

    I was lucky enough to find YMB and Pam’s other podcast, Homeschool Snapshots, when I started my first year of homeschool this year. These 2 podcasts have been SO helpful to me with getting ideas for morning time and the rest of our homeschool day. I am very grateful for the excellent work Pam has done on both of these podcasts, and I hope they continue for many more years!

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

    This podcast was inspiring and encouraging. It was a good blend of practical and theoretical and exactly what this tired homeschool mom needed to hear today to rejuvenate.

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

    Very well done! I really enjoyed listening! Very practical and informative.

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

    Pam lays out a feast of homeschooling topics that are relevant, helpful, and validating. The show is well organized and her interviews are clearly well thought out. In addition, Ms. Barnhill's relaxed and warm personality puts one at ease. It's like going to your favorite homeschool conference without leaving home!

  • I love this podcast, great content!
    by Sara V from United States

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

    I absolutely love this podcast. The show is well organized with great guests and helpful information.

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

    I'm so happy that I found your podcast, it has truly blessed our homeschool life!

  • Wonderful help in my homeschool
    by BT and Jessica from United States

    This is a great resource for all homeschoolers (and I would say any educator). I am challenged to make sure I am giving my children truth, beauty and virtue through the morning ritual of our morning time. I’ve learned of new books to share with my children, how to incorporate fine arts, good habits for our day… I could go on and on. Pam asks great questions and has wonderful guests.

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Excellent inspiration and tips for homeschoolers! I have learned so much from this podcast.

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

    I have gotten SO many practical tips from this podcast! A must listen for homeschoolers!

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

    Another home-run podcast! Pam has a knack for inspiring great things in your homeschool! And the wonderful thing is she doesn't leave you with the "lofty ideal," but offers practical tips, aids, etc. all while encouraging you the whole way. Each interview is professionally done and such a joy to listen to! Thanks, Pam, for putting your heart into this! 🙂

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

    Like having a cup of coffee with a friend. So helpful and informative.

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

    This was been a great podcast about Morning Time! How encouraging and informative to hear from other homeschool moms who are in the midst of it all!

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

    I have finally had opportunity to listen to this podcast and regret not doing it sooner!!! Very informative and encouraging.

  • Full of Goodness, Truth and Beauty
    by CJMance from United States

    This is such an inspiration to get the beautiful ritual of morning time established. Thank you Pam!

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

    I'm so excited about this podcast! My kids range from ages 4 - 11, and I've been needing to reduce my workload a bit. I'm using the fantastic things I'm learning here to combine all my kids together for read-alouds, Bible time, memorization, and some other fun things. Thanks so much, Pam! I love your other podcast as well!

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

    I am so glad I found this podcast. Morning Basket / Circle Time / Morning Time - lots of interviews with families who make this part of their day a treasure for years to come. Just getting started homeschooling, and this is going to help shape our days. Thanks Pam.

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

    Loving learning about how so many families are using Morning Time in their homes!

  • Wonderful ideas for creating your best morning time.
    by Flowerpetal2 from Australia

    The ideas presented here are wonderful, it's great to hear how different families put together their morning time and how we can all make this a rich but simple time of beauty in our schooling days.

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

    Pam Barnhill is a truly excellent host and producer of podcasts. They are a pleasure to listen to, full of applicable and inspirational content. Unlike other podcasts in this genre, which are produced at home, Pam's podcasts never make me cringe because of awkward pauses or bad sound quality. Another of Pam's strengths is her ability to reflectively listen and summarize what she's heard from her guests in a way that wraps up the different segments of her interviews. Well done, Pam!

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

    We’re just starting out with morning time and this podcast has been an invaluable source of inspiration and ideas. Keep up the good work!

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

    I’m always counting down the days until the next podcast…one of the best homeschooling podcasts out there!

  • Among the Best I’ve Heard
    by More Like Mary from United States

    I’m a bit of a podcast junkie so when I say that this is among the best, that’s really a compliment! Pam is an excellent interviewer. She re-states main ideas and summarizes information in a way that is helpful and not condescending. She asked poignant questions and stays on topic. Her guests are phenomenal and I’ve learned so much from each episode. So far, this podcast is “big picture” homeschooling talk with lots of tips for implementing lofty ideals into daily life. The perfect combination. I will be looking forward to many more of these!

  • Gave me the tools I needed!
    by Momofmany:) from United States

    This podcast is amazing. (I am spoiled now; the quality alone is superb!) I have listened to the four current episodes several times and now understand "morning time" in a way I never have before-- in particular, the schole part. I've longed for restful learning for ten years, and now I have tools to actually do it. Our whole family has benefitted so much. Thank you, Pam!!

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

    Pam Barnhill’s new podcast on Morning Time is a great help to those of us who are homeschooling. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far, but it’s wonderfully encouraging to hear Cindy Rollins’ talking through her own experiences with Morning Time. I’m looking forward to listening to more episodes with others who are focusing their schools on the important things - the true, good, and beautiful.

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

    I just started listening to the first podcast this morning and I am completely hooked on this podcast. I took the advice in the first podcast and just started with morning time. Instead of trying to “give birth to an adult” morning time I just started doing something and will add things in as this becomes a habit. Thanks for the wonderful tool!! I am now off to listen to episode 2!!

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

  • A Gift to the Homeschool Community
    by HGPII from United States

    This podcast is so well done, informative, and just what the homeschooling moms needs. It includes achievable, sound suggestions as well as an abundant dose of inspiration. I can’t wait to revamp my Morning Time and watch the results!

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

    I have enjoyed Your Morning Basket from its first episode! I am a second generation homeschooler and just started our own family's homeschooling journey. Thanks to YMB, I implemented our "circle time" starting our second week of school and it has been such a blessing to me already even its very simple form of prayer, Psalm, Mother Goose, and then read-aloud time with my kindergartner. My 2 and 4 year olds also love it and it encourages me to include things in our day that might get left out, like nursery rhymes and simple children's songs! Thanks to Pam and YMB I feel like I am starting out with a great centering tool and routine that can be expanded and adapted as we grow!

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

    Your Morning Basket Podcast is a great resource for to help implement morning time into your homeschool day. I have enjoyed every episode so far.

  • Thank you for wonderful bonus at the end!
    by Caj312 from United States

    I just discovered this show and listened to the first 4 episodes. All were inspiring and I loved the useful links at the end of the show that help me improve my homeschool days! Well done and I look forward to the next episode.

  • One of my VERY favorites
    by Dianna @ The Kennedy Adventure from United States

    I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, but YMB ranks among my very, very favorites. If you’re a homeschooling mother, or a mom who wants to connect with your children and show them truth, goodness and beauty, this is a must listen. Kudos, Pam, on a another amazing podcast series.

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

    I’ve been trying to figure out morning time on my own, but Pam with this podcast has figuratively sat down with me and explained how to get things going. I’m so glad to have this resource at the beginning of my family's homeschool journey! The Basket Bonuses have also been so helpful.

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

    Thank you Pam for a great podcast, I am really enjoying it. I always come away inspired and with ideas I can use!

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

    I have been listening to the Your Morning Basket podcasts recently and Pam's blog writings about creating morning time traditions with your children and I feel like it has made a huge positive difference in our homeschool. I love Pam's ideas for creating a restful learning environment and focusing on truth, goodness, and beauty as we begin our day together. I listen to these podcasts over and over and take notes!

  • Excellent for homeschooling veterans and newbies
    by ASnow512 from United States

    I'm very new to homeschooling and I'm still deciding if our family will pursue that path. This podcast has been such a wealth of information and a wonderful encouragement!

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

    I was immediately inspired to create a more cohesive structure to our homeschool mornings. This podcast is full of helpful suggestions to make morning time meaninful for every type of homeschooling family. I've already implemented many of the wonderful suggestions and I can already see the benefits! An absoulte must for the homeschooling family!

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

    What an amazing podcast! This podcast has wonderful suggestions for bringing joy to (or back to) your homeschool. Everything is doable and enjoyable for the children and parents alike. Keep up the wonderful work!

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

    This is our first year of homeschooling and I am really enjoying the concept of morning time. It is a sweet way to start our day together and this podcast has been amazing! Enjoyable, super practical, and filled with lots of creative ideas. Thanks for creating it.

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

    Pam's Your Morning Basket podcast is one not to be missed! She and her guests inspire and spur me on to do great things in our homeschool, but it's not just adding more to my to-do list. There are practical suggestions for how to make morning time a refreshing and vital part of our day.

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

    I have been homeschooling for a many years. I like that I can count on Pam to make to make it worth my while (and my short amount of time!) for a listen. As always, practical info I can start using right away.

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

    Love Pam's interviews. I learn much from each poscast!

  • A Joy to Listen to!
    by Cude 🙂 from United States

    I am thoroughly enjoying this new podcast! I love to listen to people who encourage me on my homeschooling journey and I have added Your Morning Basket to my list.

  • JUST what I needed!!!
    by Foodie in Training from United States

    This is our first year homeschooling (Kinder) and this podcast has been INCREDIBLY helpful and a GREAT source of information!!! I cannot wait for more to come!

  • Practical - worth a listen!
    by Bloggerific! from United States

    As a homeschooling mom of 6, my free time is limited. But I always come away with some practical, useful tips from Pam Barnhill. I love to listen if I’m alone in the car (rare these days!).

  • Well done [FIRST NAME]
    by MattMcWilliams from United States

    WOW… Your Morning Basket Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Pam. Keep bringing it.

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

    What a great podcast. At first I was dubious whether you could have an entire podcast series about homeschooling using morning time, but now that I have listened to two of them, I see where Pam is going with this. It is affirming for me in what I am trying to do in our homeschool, and at the same time inspires me in ways to improve and refine our time together as a homeschooling family. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to simplify their homeschool efforts while simultaneously enriching their family's experience!

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

    I absolutely love it. Ever since I read about morning time, I wanted to know more. This podcast clearly explains what to do and how to do it. Episode with Cindy Rollins was brilliant. It gives you the overall idea of morning time practice, as she is doing it for 27 years. Andrew Pudewa in second episodes shared some insights about memorisation, which really makes so much sense. Pam asks clear questions and then repeats the main points in answer, which is very helpful, especially for new homeschooling mums. Overall this programme has everything one can ask for to get inspired and motivated. Thanks very much for putting so much effort. Well done.

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

    I have really appreciated everything Pam Barnhill puts out. I have been introduced to so many great homeschoolers and their resources through The Homeschool Snapshots podcast, and I love that she is digging deeper into a great homeschooling practice on her new show, Morning Basket. It is definitely on my Must Listen list each week!

  • Bring the best you to your homeschool
    by mystiewinckler from United States

    Our Morning Time is the best part of our homeschool, and Pam’s podcast helps us learn how to make it even better and encourages us to pursue the true, good, and beautiful still more. So helpful!

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

    I've only recently found out about Morning Baskets, after 14 years of homeschooling. What a find! And now to have these podcasts to help guide me along on my new journey! I've been sharing this like crazy, and my morning routine is fabulous now! Thank You!

  • Education to Educate
    by Isaac in St Louis from United States

    I have gained so much from these first two early podcasts. I am grateful to you, Pam. Thank you for offering this as we strive to fulfill our sacred duty and privilege to give our children an education. Please continue. I see such great things coming from this. I rank this up their with Circe’s offerings.

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

    When you're on the homeschool "circuit" it's easy to become one of Andrew Pudewa's groupies. So the excitement level for Pam's newest podcast doubled when I opened it on my iPhone and saw Andrew's name. I was remiss in not reviewing her first segment. Pam is a wonderful interviewer and has the ability to make conversation with her guests based on their answers and move seamlessly to her following questions. That is not easy to do. Highly recommend this to parents who Homeschool. Encouraging, motivating, and validating.

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

    So inspiring! This podcast is what I needed to get our homeschool off to a great start this year. I will not miss an episode.

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

    I've always thought memory work was so important in my 8 years as a teacher in a high school setting. I often required memorization and was criticized for this requirement. I recently decided to homeschool my children and this podcast was so affirming to me. I am glad to be able to follow my instincts as a teacher and give my kids what they deserve! Thank you for this wonderful podcast that inspired me to make memory work an important part of my homeschool.

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

    I knew I would enjoy this podcast but I didn't know that I would LOVE it! As our family has moved more and more towards a simplified homeschool method, this podcast is just the thing to reaffirm our choices and continuously inspire us with new ideas. I can't wait for each new episode!

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

    This is just the kind of podcast I need to breathe life into my homeschool year. I’m so grateful for this new show, and Pam is a talented host. I won’t miss an episode!

  • Delightful...a Must Listen
    by 1coltsfamily from United States

    While I have heard Cindy Rollins speak about morning time before, I was pleasantly surprised to glean many new nuggets of wisdom that I can incorporate right away into our morning time. I always enjoy listening to Pam and find her questions spot on! The podcast is a wonderful balance of inspiration and practical tips. Can't wait for the next one!

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

    So lovely and inspiring! Looking forward to more...

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

    A great resource for homeschool moms and so well put-together. Full of useful information, not fluff. Pam has a wonderful conversation style that keeps the show moving at a steady pace. I wish I didn't have to wait so long for the next one!



  • Blair says:

    This is hands down my favorite podcast of any you’ve ever done. And that’s saying something because I really enjoy your podcasts! This was just beyond fascinating though. I’m going to have to listen more than once- there’s so much here.

  • Anne M says:

    This was a fabulous podcast. Simply amazing – the best I have heard Angelina speak. It was a Fairy Tales 101 and provided foundational information that will make it easier to listen some of her talks I have purchased from Circe. I have a question for her, if she is watching the comments. At what age is it acceptable to begin deeper analysis of fairy tales with children? This interview would be a great introduction to evaluating/unpacking fairy tales with my 13 and 15 year old daughters.
    Thanks Pam and Angelina!

  • Geena says:

    I will never look at Fairy Tales the same again. I was avoiding them. After listening to this I pulled out the Blue Fairy book later in the day and picked out a tale to read aloud about Toads and Diamonds. Wow. What an excellent story that can be used to reinforce Biblical concepts about the nature of our words! Thank YOU!

  • Brenda says:

    I enjoyed this podcast, and I have also listened to several of Angelina’s talks on fairy tales and found them so fascinating. But I do have a concern, and am hoping maybe Angelina is seeing these comments. After listening to this podcast I finally looked up Bruno Bettelheim, whose research I have heard Angelina mention several times. He is a very controversial figure, and it seems his credentials have been largely debunked; additionally, he has been accused of actually being abusive to the children he worked with. I didn’t do deep research on this, but it does make me wonder how trustworthy his writings are.

    • cathy says:

      Hi Brenda – I agree with you about the concerns about Bruno Bettelheim, his temper, and his alleged abuse of children. He may not be the role model we expect. Also, I was concerned when Angelina said the Bible is a fairy tale. I don’t think she understands how offensive this could be to some of her Christian listeners, who believe the Bible is the Word of God. I think that part should have been edited out or at lest clarified.

      • Pam Barnhill says:

        I am going to have to let Angelina come and address the Bettelheim concerns since I know nothing about him beyond what she shared here.

        I do want to clarify that Angelina never said in the podcast that the Bible is a fairy tale. She said that there are fairy tale elements in Bible stories — dragons, giants, etc. At one point she says that the gospel story is a fairy tale, but it is clear from the context of the conversation at that point that she is not calling the gospel a made-up story, but instead the original “story of wonder” and “truer than true” story that all other fairy tales point back to.

        • Emily says:

          like Tolkien’s concept that the Bible is a true myth. Incidentally, my husband has been preaching through 1 Samuel at our church and I have been pleasantly struck by how much the story of David (and Saul) reads like a modern day adventure/action movie. I have to admit I had always seen it as dry and boring, because that’s how my Sunday Schools and youth groups growing up expected us to see the Bible (and therefore had to provide bells and whistles to keep us interested), but it’s a legitimately exciting story. I can only imagine that a child encountering both fairy tales and the Bible would be overjoyed to find that there is reality behind the tale – a true “dream come true”

      • Stella says:

        I agree with Cathy, I would not trust a person who calls the Bible „a weird story” its highly offensive not to Christians alone but to true living God.

  • Wow. This is an awesome(!) episode! So fascinating, deep, I feel like I’ve been listening to a college lecture!

  • Val says:

    Best episode so far! Amazing

  • Deyna Vesey says:

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  • Emily says:

    Can anyone please recommend a hardcover/collectors editions of Grimms fairytales?

  • Kate Tanaka says:

    Could you please give a few examples of realistic stories that you would avoid?

  • Catlin Evans says:

    LOVED this!!

  • Nicci says:

    This is one of my favorite podcasts! The topic, the passion for the subject matter, the right questions. I am sending it to family and friends that I feel would be interested and plan to listen to it again. Thank you!

  • Amy says:

    This was a fantastic podcast!!! Thank you!

  • Samara says:

    Can you tell me if this version of 1001 nights has sexually inappropriate content? Some do. Thanks!

  • Brook says:

    This is one of the best podcasts I’ve ever heard! I’m a fairy tale geek but I have a hard time with defending my position on that. So helpful! I also liked the idea of Christ as a fairy tale. I see where she is coming from. Thank you!

  • Gabby says:

    This was one of the best podcasts I have heard. Entertaining, informative and helped me in my quest to be a better homeschool teacher. Angelina is amazing!
    Thank you!

  • Miriah says:

    Thank you. Love it!??

  • Shana says:

    I would really like to find some of these fairy tales in their original form. I went to my library yesterday and even asked the librarian and they weren’t helpful. They had a bunch of versions of the fairy tales in one section, but none of them in their original stories. Googling to try and find titles I am finding trouble recognizing what I should be looking for.

    I must say that I am new to all of this. Reading more with my kids has been one of my #1 goals for this school year. I did not read as a child nor was I read to, so I have very little experience even with fairy tales and how to find good books. We had just finished the real Pinocchio when I listen to this podcast and couldnt agree more. I loved reading that book to my kids and they loved it too. There was so much to talk about and so much to learn from that book. I highly recommend it for a house full of boys too.

    So please help with finding these originals please.

    • Emily says:

      Do you mean in their original languages? If not, then I would just do a google search for good translations of Grimm’s, etc. The Grimms stories are actually not original, per se, since they were simply coalescing and writing down a version of what were originally oral stories passed down. In a way, there are no originals of those stories, just good renderings and their solid translations.

  • Lisa T says:

    Pam, I agree! I could have listened to Angelina all day! This might be the best podcast yet! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Ani Elizabeth says:

    Fabulous! I wish that I had teachers like Angelina.

  • Christie says:

    I LOVE this podcast! I’m so thankful someone out there recognizes that we need to be raising kids who aren’t weenies using things like fairy tales to help them see the dragons they face in real life are able to be vanquished by Christ, our only hope!

  • Kimberly Locke says:


    We just listened to this and enjoyed it! Classical Music + Cinderella story
    Reminded me of this episode. 🙂

  • Theresa says:

    Wow! This was so enlightening!!

  • Emily says:

    Okay, I have long gotten behind the idea that fairy tales, though at times really hard for grown ups to stomach and read aloud, are good for children because of both the cultural transmission (and encounter – if telling a tale from outside the child’s culture) and the archetypal presentation of good, evil, and justice. However, because of fairy tales (I must admit, the originals as well as the Disney – I don’t buy it that fairy tales don’t contribute to a glorification of female beauty as part of a character’s worth, even though I’ve heard arguments that the beauty is often representational – our cultural emphasis on physical looks is too strong to get away with that – of course, Disney just grinds it in), I grew up with a powerful sense that beauty and goodness were inextricably linked, and that because I was not a typically beautiful child, I must identify more with the rejected stepsisters, if I could enter into the story at all. This was more painful for me, as a voracious reader and lover of “fairy land” and goodness, than any Seventeen magazine or photoshopped ad. The only one who really challenged this idea, I believe, was George MacDonald, whose good characters were often depicted as simultaneously or interchangeably young and old, physically beautiful and unattractive, depending on what was needed at the moment.

    • Emily says:

      Actually, right, the stepsisters weren’t depicted as ugly in every version. Perhaps the point is that I couldn’t identify with the good character and ergo – to my young mind – wasn’t included in the “happily ever after” and the triumph and reconciliation of the endings.

  • Alexi says:

    Okay, question. I have been leery about Fairy tales but now you’re converting me. I do have a question for Angelina on what David Kern’s podcast discusses with why stories should never end with the words “and they all lived happily ever after”. You discussed the reason for the difference from the original versions – Grimm vs French writers who changed the story to fit their social norms. What David Kern discussed about why to read fairy tales, was a bit different. Can you expand on this at all? https://www.circeinstitute.org/podcast/podcast-fairy-tales-and-moral-imagination

  • Jessica says:

    I love this so much! Thank you! I wonder if there is a quick reference of true fairy tales vs the cautionary tales? My girls (6&8) have the LibriVox of all the Lang colored fairy tale books and have been gobbling them up in their free read time lately. I wonder now, should I point them to the true fairy tales first and then maybe if they are still into them, they could read the cautionary ones.

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