I had no idea that there were so many! I took this opportunity to choose Cinderella stories from other cultures. This review is a Hmong Cinderella, but I also read about a Cambodian Cinderella you can read the review for that in the next post. Providing these cultural books helps students get a global perspective.
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Picture book, traditional literature F. Jouanah is the Hmong Cinderella story. It is about a young girl whose father and mother need a cow to do work on their farm in Laos. However, they are unable to get a cow and the mother decides that she will become a cow and do the work. Selfishly, the father does not turn the mother back into a human but instead takes another wife who has a daughter about the same age as Jouanah.
In order to get rid of the cow, the new wife feigns illness and tells the father to go ask for help from the spirit of a tree. The wife disguises herself as the voice of the spirit and tells the father to kill the cow. The father kills the cow and dies soon after.
The New Year festivities soon arrive. Jouanah wants to go but her stepmother makes it impossible. A handsome young man falls in love with her but she has to run away to get home before her stepmother and stepsister; she leaves a shoe behind. And they live happily ever after. This is a beautiful version of Cinderella. All the elements of Cinderella are there but the story takes place in a world that is so very far removed from the typical Disney Cinderella that most people think of that it should almost have a category all of its own.
The setting and plot elements provide a different look at what it truly means to be a Cinderella. I was actually quite sad when the cow died. One thing I thought was especially interesting what how the culture was represented. While there were a lot of Hmong cultural markers in the story, I feel like the gist of the culture was somehow missed.
A great deal of the Hmong culture is based on tradition and customs and propriety. When Jouanah and Shee-Nang leave her house to go to his house, that is completely taboo in Hmong culture! None of the wedding traditions were even hinted on in this book, and those traditions are actually quite interesting.
However, I feel like the Hmong culture is not represented well at all in this story. I know that this is a fictional book, but I think that students will take a lot of what goes on in the book to be truth about the Hmong culture.
Misrepresenting cultures only breeds problems. Not only that, but the Hmong culture is fascinating and anyone who takes any time to investigate it will be impressed and amazed at the customs and traditions of the Hmong.
Jouanah is another great Cinderella story to add to the collection. In addition to reading this story as a part of the Cinderella unit, it is great as an introduction to the Hmong culture. I would have students do a venn diagram of this story versus another Hmong Cinderella story or a different cultural Cinderella if there are no Hmong students in the class. This would also be a great opportunity for students to experience Hmong music and food.
JOUANAH A HMONG CINDERELLA PDF
Jan 31, Lynn rated it it was amazing Shelves: He did not restore her to her human form as he should have — instead he married another woman! Picture book, traditional literature F. A great story for kids. This was a typical fairytale, with all the pros and cons that come with it. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Jouanah, a young girl lived on a farm with her loving mother and father. It is so rich with expression on the faces of the people.
Jouanah: La Cenicienta Hmong
This is why little birds helped Cinderella help herself. Sunday, May 22, Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella "Your daughter, not mine, must cut the wood and cook the meals! Once upon a time, in a "sun-splashed clearing high in the mountains of the ancient homeland of the Hmong, there lived a farmer, his wife, and beautiful girl, named Jouanah. They had no cow, which would have been a big help. There came a day when the man decided that he would buy one. The man who could swallow a huge bowl of steaming hot soup with rice first, would be allowed to buy the cow. So both men were served, and each blew and sipped and blew some more.
Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella
Picture book, traditional literature F. Jouanah is the Hmong Cinderella story. It is about a young girl whose father and mother need a cow to do work on their farm in Laos. However, they are unable to get a cow and the mother decides that she will become a cow and do the work. Selfishly, the father does not turn the mother back into a human but instead takes another wife who has a daughter about the same age as Jouanah. In order to get rid of the cow, the new wife feigns illness and tells the father to go ask for help from the spirit of a tree. The wife disguises herself as the voice of the spirit and tells the father to kill the cow.