Why a Children’s Book Is Becoming a Symbol of Resistance in Hungary’s Fight Over LGBT Rights

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10/07/2020

When Hungary’s Dorottya Redai and Boldizsar Nagy released their new children’s book on Sept. 21, they did not expect their initial run of 1,500 copies to sell out within two weeks. Meseorszag mindenkie, or A Fairy Tale for Everyone, is an anthology of retellings of traditional fairy tales, updated with more diverse, inclusive and LGBTQ characters in contemporary settings. Among the new protagonists are a Roma Cinderella, a lesbian Snow Queen, and a gender non-conforming deer. “Our aim was to make children’s literature more diverse in Hungary and show children how colorful and wonderful life is,” says Nagy, the book’s editor. “We wanted stories that reflect and honor the lives of all young people.” A second edition run of 15,000 copies will be released next week—large figures for a children’s book in a relatively small market. Yet shortly after its release, A Fairy Tale for Everyone became the target of homophobic attacks by politicians, including the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and is facing a public boycott.

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