Classic Fairy Tales Retold with an Armenian Twist

NEW YORK—Popular fairy tales are Armenian-ized in this five-book series of children’s books—containing “Hagop and the Hairy Giant” (Jack and the Beanstalk), “The Gurabia Man” (The Gingerbread Man), and “Little Red Hood and Kesh Kayl” (Little Red Riding Hood)—available for purchase on or, or from Armenian book retailers across the United States and Canada.

The cover of "Hagop and the Hairy Giant"

“Hagop and the Hairy Giant” takes place in Masis, Armenia, where our hero Hagop scales a magic noor (pomegranate) tree to rescue the lovely Maryam, a prisoner of Medz Mazod, the hairy giant. But before he saves the girl, Hagop must first go head to head with Medz Mazod, battling him with a kebab shish, which leads to other adventures with the giant’s magic oud and holden hav (chicken).

The Gurabia Man is set in Sevan, Armenia, where the Donigian family is busy baking gurabia cookies for Dzenoont (Christmas). The little gurabia man springs to life and causes all kinds of mischief on the family farm before finally meeting his doom at the paws of a hungry aghves (fox) in Lake Sevan.

In this Armenian version of the classic, Little Red Hood (Garmir Klghanotz) has set out to Medz Mayreeg’s (grandma’s) house to bring her sick grandmother some freshly baked lamajun. Little does she know that the kesh kayl (bad wolf) is hot on her trail, as lamajun is his favorite food to eat! The kesh kayl tricks Little Red Hood and arrives at Medz Mayreeg’s house before her, hungrily waiting for the lamajun to arrive. The kayl’s plot to steal the lamajun is ultimately foiled when Medz Mayreeg and some lumberjacks arrive on the scene to rescue Little Red Hood and the lamajun.

The books are written in Arm-English (English with some Armenian words) and offer a fun way to teach children about Armenian language and culture, in a familiar story setting. A glossary of Armenian words and pronunciation guide is included to help readers learn the meanings of the Armenian words and to pronounce them correctly.

The two last books in the series will be available in fall 2011 and include “The Three Little Karnoogs” (The Three Little Pigs) and “Voski and the Archoogians” (Goldilocks and the Three Bears). All five books are also being published in Western Armenian and will be available for purchase by the holiday season 2011.

The author, Talene Dadian White, is an Armenian American currently living in New York with her husband and two children. Talene’s writing of Armenian children’s books is inspired by her love of her Armenian heritage and her desire to keep it alive in her children and Armenian children everywhere.

For more information on these books and more, visit or email Talene directly at

1 Comment on Classic Fairy Tales Retold with an Armenian Twist

  1. Sorry, I don’t see the sense of the style of these stories… It reminds me of how Disney has taken on so many of the stories and made their own changes/interpretations … the originals were better.

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