Books: Does the White Rabbit dream of fitbits?

Young authors give classic fairy tales a techno makeover

Young authors taking part in a writing competition for charity have given traditional fairy stories a techno makeover for the 21st Century

By Mark Cantrell

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The young authors who gave classic fairy tales a modern twist in the anthology FairITales. Image courtesy of Advanced

THERE are times when it feels like the tech industry is just flogging us fairy stories with its fancy gadgets and software ‘baubles’ but in December a software company decided to do exactly that – all in aid of charity.

The company, called Advanced, published a collection of fairy tales written by children, but rather than taking the traditional approach the young authors were invited to give their stories a technological twist.

So the book features tall tales of techy princesses, smartphone-wielding knights in shining armour, tweeting piglets and gadget-loving goblins. There’s even Alice in Digiland… but does the White Rabbit wear a fitbit?

FairITales, as the anthology is appropriately titled, was created to raise money for The Prince’s Trust through the charity’s Million Makers competition. This aims to raise over £1 million nationwide, with businesses taking part competing to raise as much money as they can in six months.

The team from Advanced came up with the idea of a story competition, inviting children aged six to 11 to create their own take on fairy tales fit for the modern era. The top 10 winning stories were brought together in the book, which was launched just in time to make the collection an ideal Christmas present.

“Although we are naturally advocates of the benefits of technology, this doesn’t preclude us from being huge supporters of creative thinking and writing,” said Sally Scott, Advanced’s chief marketing officer.

“What this collection of fairy tales shows is how important it is to continually re-imagine the way in which we do things – we’ve been astounded by the ingenuity demonstrated in the stories which shows how the fairy tale can still be very relevant to children today. These traditional tales have been transformed by these children, making them relevant to the digital era in which we live, but with humour and creativity.”

Prince’s Trust Ambassador Deborah Meaden, investor from the BBC’s Dragons’ Den show, said: “As a successful entrepreneur myself, I’m delighted to be able to support The Prince’s Trust Million Makers competition. [It] is an excellent way to encourage new ideas whilst also raising valuable funds to help young people. The companies that take part are doing a fantastic thing, and we should all be encouraging them in whatever way possible.”

Money raised from the sale of the books – it is hoped it will come to around £10,000 for the charity – will go towards helping disadvantaged young people to turn their lives around. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training.

Scott added: “We were overwhelmed with the take up from children and enthused when picking the winning stories. We are constantly led to believe that children are far keener to pick up a device than read a story but we hope this FairITales book challenges that opinion. Contrary to expectations, the printed book is still surviving alongside its upstart e-book cousin, and technology is helping publishers and retailers reach new audiences and find new ways to tell stories.”

The book was launched at a fundraising event held in mid-December in Birmingham. The winning stories and their authors are:

  • Princess Siri And Her Lost Phone By Jasmin Wilding, aged 9
  • The Adventure Tablet By Lewis Morley, aged 8
  • Sir Bastian And His Smartphone By Matilda North, aged 10
  • Alice In DigiLand By Maya Chudley, aged 10
  • Me And My Magic Smartwatch By Mia Gosnold, aged 9
  • Mystery App By Natasha Thwaites, aged 10
  • Gobble Box By Phoebe Jones, aged 9
  • The Duckling That Wanted To Tweet By Sam & Thomas Curtis, age 9 and 6
  • The Magic Whistle By Lucy Doris Lawson, aged 10
  • The Gadget Girl By Nitya Gollapudi, aged 10



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