Skip to main content

Once Upon a Time

June 14, 2021

Every good story that I heard as a child began with the words, "once upon a time." Those words evoked magic then and still do, so very many years after I first heard them. Those words introduced me to persons, places, and events that were important to the story. "Once upon a time" was code for "this is what the story is about."

The beloved fairy tales are always entertaining, but they are more than entertainment: they are important to a child's development.  First, they stimulate the imagination. Second, they expand cultural literacy. Third, they teach right from wrong. Fourth, they teach critical thinking skills. Fifth, they teach how to deal with emotions. And finally, they are fun.

Fairy tales teach us to "be the hero" and to have hope. They teach us that when bad things happen, we have a decision to make. When we make good decisions, good things happen, and when we make unwise decisions, we need to correct them or there will be consequences to ourselves and others. Fairy tales provide role models for good and bad behavior. We learn that we have a choice about the kind of people we want to be. Fairy tales also teach us to value the inner qualities that make a person truly beautiful.

You will find a number of fairy tale collections as well as individual fairy tales in the Nashville Public Library's catalog. Some of my favorites follow.

Donna headshot thumbnail


Donna Reagan has served as Children's Specialist at the Bellevue Branch Library since 2002. She produces My Storytime Place, a local TV show for young children. The ALA's Every Child Ready to Read initiative forms the foundation of her early childhood programming.