Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales Book Poster Image

Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales



A spirited retelling of tales old and new.

What parents need to know


A number of fairy-tale animals are punished or killed. Death is matter-of-factly accepted in all the tales. People are frequently changed into animals or inanimate objects, and unhappy endings abound. The Devil appears as a character. Some supernatural t

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the recurring theme of the worth of women make this a powerful and poignant read for anyone, but particularly for young African-American women.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

A spirited retelling of tales old and new, this is part collection and part celebration of the lore of African-American women. All manner of females--fairies and witches, the brave and the meek, women magical or fundamentally strong--star in this compilation of stories that broaden girls' understanding of where they came from and where they are going.


Is it any good?


Virginia Hamilton creates a beautiful book illustrated by intensely colorful paintings. The oral history of African-American women has been passed on for centuries through spoken word, spirituals and lullabies, autobiographical musings, and nighttime tales, and Hamilton has collected the best of these. The comments that accompany the stories, explaining their history, colloquial language, and imagery, are as fascinating as the stories themselves, and contribute greatly to the sense of self a girl develops when reading these accounts.

The final three stories are oral histories of three African-American women. It is this chapter -- when we meet real women speaking in their own voices -- that brings the rest of the book together, giving perspective and context to the folklore and fairy tales.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different women in the stories. How are they connected? How are they different? Which ones do you admire most? Do any of them disappoint you?

Book details

Author:Virginia Hamilton
Illustrators:Diane Dillon, Leo Dillon
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:January 1, 1995
Number of pages:114
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Award:Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors

This review of Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byspalmer314 March 21, 2009


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?