Many of us grew up hearing stories and nursery rhymes as told by our parents or grandparents. Tales like Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and Hansel and Gretel are a few of the classics that never seem to show age and are cherished by one generation after another. Occasionally, a newer, more modern version of one of the classics appears, revitalizing our love of the original and giving us a new perspective on the story.
Mark Binder is an author who has done just that by putting a spin on the classic Brothers Grimm tale of Cinderella by placing the main character in a wheelchair. Mark’s version, Cinderella Spinderella, follows the story of Eleanor and is available exclusively as an eBook and AudioBook. Given the nickname Cinderella, Eleanor is an orphan who, despite using a wheelchair, must now wait hand and foot on her wicked stepsisters. But with a little confidence and the help of her fairy godmother, Eleanor is transformed into a beautiful young woman who ends up finding her true self and true love.
The idea for the adaptation to the classic story of Cinderella came to Mark a few summers ago while performing his stories at a summer camp that specialized in working with children with disabilities.
Mark wanted to find a way to make his stories relatable to the kids at the camp. Realizing he didn’t have any stories about kids in wheelchairs, Mark began experimenting, “First I tried Jack and the Beanchair, which was a bit of a stretch. Then I tried Little Red Riding Chair and the whole wolf swallowing the chair situation was just one step too far.” That’s when he tried incorporating a wheelchair into the story of Cinderella. “I’d been telling this urban version of Cinderella for years,” Mark explained, “but when I started telling it this way, it just clicked!” Mark says it was at that point that he decided to never tell Cinderella the old way again. It’s an idea that works! Parents and children of all ages will enjoy reading this timely and relevant Cinderella Spinderella.
Mark wanted a broad audience to enjoy the story and stresses that Cinderella Spinderella is not simply about someone managing their disabilities, it’s about a whole person coming to terms with her own identity. “As a performer I want my stories to connect with the listeners and provide something to identify with,” Mark stated, “I know they’ll be good for any audience, but when I speak to a specific audience I want it to be a story that feels special for them.”
One of the reasons Cinderella Spinderella is so unique, is that there is no print version – on purpose. Ebooks are very flexible and in the case of Cinderella Spinderella, the reader has the ability to choose from five Cinderellas and five different princes. Is she Caucasian or African American? Asian, Hispanic, or from the Indian Subcontinent? You pick!
The book is available for all eReaders, from the oldest Kindle to the latest iPad or Android, so each reader has the ability to express themselves with their choices, instead of being limited to one character or one ethnicity. That’s something Mark has incorporated into his style of storytelling from the beginning, “I never describe Cinderella when I tell the story. I just say she’s beautiful and in a wheelchair and then I leave the rest up to the reader.” It was important to Mark to carry this philosophy into the eBook as well “I don’t know how kids pictures themselves, so I didn't want to limit it. That’s why we didn't do a print version.”
Mark says that the best part of working on the book was working with illustrator Steve Mardo, “It took about a year and he ended up doing more than 300 illustrations. We really worked to make each version of Cinderella unique.” When performing, Mark says there’s no character that isn’t fun to play and the story’s reception seems to suggest that the crowd agrees with him, “I’ve told it to preschoolers and high school aged kids all the way up to college students and adults. People really seem to enjoy it.”
Cinderella Spinderella’s success stems from its mission to be both unique and inclusive, while remaining inspiring to people from all walks of life. Though the biggest difference between Cinderella Spinderella and the original tale is the addition of a wheelchair, the story goes far beyond that. Mark elaborated, “I want it to be a story for everyone. I think it’s such a great story because everyone on the planet can identify with it.”
One of the most powerful moments in the book comes when the Prince proposes to Cinderella.
“Cinderella,” he asks, “will you marry me?”
“No,” she answers, asserting her identity. “My name is not Cinderella. My name is Eleanor.”
The message at the heart of the book is the power or knowing who you really are.
Mark has already begun touring around and performing Cinderella Spinderella for audiences everywhere. His goal is that it will become the first ever international best selling eBook for children. “Cinderella is a universal story,” he said. “And this version allows everyone to find themselves inside it.”
Cinderella Spinderella is available for all Kindle devices, iPad, iPhone, Nook, Kobo, and Android through Google Play. You can learn more about the eBook at www.cinderellaspinderella.com or on the Cinderella Spinderella Facebook page.
For information about Mark Binder’s programs for all ages, including booking information and his tour calendar, please visit www.storyamonth.com
iBooks Edition: http://georiot.co/2KDN
Ride-Away does a lot to support our customers and be an advocate for their needs. Every year, we participate in countless events with organizations like the National MS Society, the ALS Association, The Make a Wish Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and many more. Our Team Members generously volunteer their time and have a blast spreading the word about our wheelchair accessible vehicles. Visit the Ride-Away Events page to see upcoming events, walks, seminars, expos, and more!