This past Sunday, E. B. Hudspeth, author/illustrator of The Resurrectionist, spent the afternoon recreating the book's magnificent and wonderfully creepy cover in chalk on the sidewalk outside NYC's The Strand bookstore. Didn't catch it? Not to worry—the whole thing's been filmed in a super-cool time lapse so you can watch the art as it unfolds live! Check it out.
People never really grow out of fairytales. I'm no exception: fairytale retellings have always intrigued me. Whether the source is a classic from Hans Christian Andersen, a tale from the Brothers Grimm, or another folktale handed down through the ages, there are so many interesting ways an author can change and re-vamp the story. It could be a new location, an unseen layer to the protagonist’s personality, a different time in history, anything.
A beloved tale transformed for a modern audience is exciting in its newness, but at their core, fairytales also possess some universal themes no matter the setting: a character coming of age, learning to trust their own experience, and encountering new dangers around every corner.
So it's not surprising that YA fiction is such a perfect fit for fairytale adaptations. What makes YA retellings unique is their ability to make the fantastic elements familiar for modern readers -- even if in a historical setting -- while also incorporating some of the satisfyingly dark aspects from Andersen and Grimm. When the right elements come together, a YA retelling is just as spellbinding as that very first picture book.
But what are the elements that make for a great YA fairytale retelling?
The Romantics were the superheroes of 18th century literature. These poets wrote about nature, emotions, and personal themes when the current trends favored Enlightenment ideals (scientific thought, skepticism, and intellect).
This group of men used their collective power of colloquial language to create poetry that emphasized intuition and the pastoral. Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats banded together to form the Romantics: the Avengers of classic literature.
You may have seen the alarm go up: the word “literally” can now mean, by some official sanction, “not actually literally at all.” I know, it’s horrible, but unscrunch your undergarments for a sec. Rumors of the demise of our lovely language have been greatly exaggerated, and “literally” is not to blame.
In fact, we use plenty of common words in ways that are antithetical to the, yes, literal meaning. Hyperbole is irresistible: we’re only human, and humans love to exaggerate. Think you’re innocent? Rally your armchair etymologists around this hit list of misused words.
A Teth B'omarr monastery. How's that for hokey, Han?
Despite Vader’s “sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion,” casual Star Wars fans might think that the Evil Empire crushed all religions from existence throughout that galaxy far, far away. But we find your lack of faith disturbing. There are many races, many worlds and many orders, cults and ways found throughout the official Star Wars cannon. Here’s an intro to a handful of those who follow the Ways-of-the-Not-Jedi.
Humans are interesting animals. Creativity seeps through our veins. I'm not entirely sure who came up with the following creatures, but it must have taken some incredibly unique (and perhaps problematic) imagination to bring these things into being.
A horse with a horn. A woman's body with a fish tail. A bird that turns to ash, but never dies.
Mythical creatures are fascinating, so its no wonder they inhabit the many fantasy stories we all love and cherish. Here are five of our favorites.