Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls

Book review by
Jennifer Gennari, Common Sense Media
Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls Book Poster Image
Adventures are gripping, a little gruesome.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.


In "Atalanta," six knights are killed and the prince kills two more. In "Nana Miriam," 120 dogs are killed. In "Fitcher's Bird," young girls are killed and cut up and left in a bathtub. In "The Girl and the Puma," cannibalism is mentioned. In "Fitcher's

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that some of these gripping adventures are a little gruesome.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Brave and smart girls fool monsters, rescue men and other women, and defeat their enemies in battle. This important collection of true and legendary folktales from around the world demonstrates that girls don't always need a prince to rescue them. Although violence is included in these folktales, it is never gratuitous.


Is it any good?

The tales in this collection turn stereotypes on their heads with heroes that are brave, smart, and female. They are wonderful to read aloud to older children. Their origins are diverse, including ancient Greece, Niger, Japan, Argentina, and the United States. It's an important collection not only because of the way it showcases strong girls in action but also because it introduces the history and culture of many places.

The violence, which may be a detraction for some, is appropriate within the folktale genre, and dramatizes the strength and bravery of the heroines. The black-and-white illustrations are few but detailed. Each story has at least one, which will draw in younger, squirmy listeners.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the heroines. How do they compare with the women at the center of more traditional fairy tales?

Book details

Top advice and articles

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

See how we rate

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

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate