Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--Adelita

In preparation of Cinco de Mayo, we thought we would feature the Cinderella stories from Mexico. The first this week. So today we will "travel" to Mexico. Since I have been to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, I will share a few of the pictures I have from my trip.
Mexico is rich with history. Pre-European contact Mexico had many advanced cultures like the Aztecs, the Mayans. In 1521 Spain conquered what is now Mexico and colonized it calling it New Spain. The territory became Mexico in 1821 following its independence. It took its name from its capital city, Mexico City. Mexico City is built on top of the ancient Aztec capital México-Tenochtitlan. The official name of Mexico has changed with government changes. It is now Estados Unidos Mexicanos which translates to the United Mexican States.

Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas and the thirteenth largest independent country in the world. It is the eleventh most populous country and is the most populous Spanish-speaking country. It comprises of 31 states and a Federal District (the capital city). Mexico is the 23rd largest tourism based income in the world. The vast number of tourists come from the United States and Canada. (Source)
Now onto our story! This week we are sharing Tomie dePaola's Adelita.  This book has Spanish phrases throughout it with the English translation following the phrase. At the back of the book, there is a list of all the Spanish used and their meanings and pronunciations. This is a story based on the Cinderella story, but is not an original one to the region.
Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story
The story begins describing the father and the mother, Adela, and Adela telling the father they are going to have a baby. He sends for the woman who took care of him as a child and has been with his family since she was a girl. Her name is Esperanza. Adela becomes ill following childbirth and only gets to hold her daughter once before dying. The father names the baby Adelita after her mother. Adelita grows into a beautiful young woman under the care of Esperanza and her father. They both love her very much.

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One day the father announces he is going to remarry. He brings the woman and her two daughters to meet Adelita and Esperanza. Esperanza does not like them immediately, but Adelita is happy for her father. Adelita has to share her father now, but does not mind since he seems happy. Unfortunately he soon dies and Adelita is left an orphan. Her stepmother begins to show her true colors and jealousy over Adelita. She moves her from her beautiful bedroom to a room in the attic, and she now only is given hand-me-downs for clothes. The stepsisters are also mean to her. Adelita spends much of her time in the kitchen with Esperanza. 
One day the stepmother comes into the kitchen to say she will no longer keep Esperanza since she is spending too much on the household and Adelita can do the work since she is always helping anyway. Esperanza and Adelita beg her not to send Esperanza away, but she does. Adelita is saddened and now must do all the hard work herself. One day at breakfast the stepmother announces they have been invited to a fiesta at the Gordillo's ranch. The girls are very excited since they both would like to marry Javier Gordillo. Adelita asks if she may go as well since she and Javier were childhood friends. She is told she would be an embarrassment to the family and she must stay home. She helps the stepsisters prepare for the party and watches the family leave.
Adelita is weeping in the kitchen when she hears a soft knock on the door. It is Esperanza. She had a dream about Adelita not being allowed to go to the fiesta and has come to help. She takes her to the storeroom and shows her a trunk of her mother's things. They find a beautiful white dress and a red rebozo. Adelita quickly washes and dresses and Esperanza braids her hair and puts it up with ribbons and flowers. Then they use the cart Esperanza borrowed to take her to get there.
Adelita turns heads when she arrives. Senor Gordillo comes to meet her and asks who she is. She tells him she is in disguise and to call her Cenicienta, Cinderella. Javier takes one look and falls in love with her. They dance and talk all night. When he expresses his love to her Adelita becomes nervous and runs away. The next day all the stepmother and stepsisters can talk about is the mysterious Cenicienta at the fiesta. The stepmother tells them Javier is going to go house to house to look for her so her daughters have another chance to impress him. Before going to help her stepsisters, Adelita runs to her room and hangs her mother's rebozo out of the attic window. 

Javier sees the rebozo and runs to the house asking where she is. The stepmother calls in the stepsisters and Javier says they are not the one he means. The stepmother says they are the only ones there, but then a voice form behind says there is one more. Adelita has changed into her mother's dress and rebozo again and comes down the stairs. She tells Javier who she is and of course he remembers his childhood friend. He asks her to marry him and she says since she is an orphan he should ask her stepmother. Her stepmother gives her permission and they are married. Esperanza comes to take care of them as she always had. Everyone is happy.

And that is the first of our two Mexican Cinderella stories. I think I gave our peg doll a bit too much hair. Oh, well.


  1. I had never heard of this story before thx for sharing it. ~Mari

  2. I love that Esperanza is her nanny, a real person who loves her, not a mythical fairy. Thanks for sharing at Say It Two Ways Thursdays!

  3. Great post! Thank you so much for linking at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #3.

  4. Thank you for linking up at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! I love how you used this story to learn about Mexico and I now want to read this book - especially because of the Spanish phrases used!

  5. What a great series on multicultural Cinderella stories. Thanks so much for linking up to Multicultural Children's Book Day!


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