Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story
by Tomie dePaola
Discussion and Activities
For pre-reading ideas and background information on folktales and their conventions, see Around the World in 80 Books: A Multicultural Guide.
The story known as Cinderella has more known variants than any other folktale. Identify and discuss the cultural flavors brought to this original Mexican interpretation using the folktale conventions as a guide. Introduce Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China and The Rough-Faced Girl, traditionally told among the Algonquin people. List ways these cultural variants differ from and are similar to Adelita and the familiar European version. Based on their knowledge and experiences, have students predict how Cinderella tales might unfold in different cultures throughout the world. Using Internet or library resources, confirm their predictions by reading other cultural presentations of Cinderella such as Cendrillon in the Caribbean, Ashyputtel in Germany, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters in Africa, etc.
In this Mexican retelling, Tomie dePaolo has followed in the tradition of many folk tellers by choosing names for his characters that say more than readers might first realize. Review with children the names used in Adelita: Mercado, Esperanza, Senora Micaela de Fortuna, Dulce, Valentina, and Senor Gordillo, and discuss their often ironic and humorous connections to those who bear them.