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Natalie Portman’s debut kid’s book makes 3 classic tales ‘gender-safe’

Israeli-American movie star rewrites ‘The Tortoise and the Hare,’ ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and ‘Country Mouse and City Mouse’ with fewer male pronouns and more gender diversity

Natalie Portman at the Oscars on February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Natalie Portman at the Oscars on February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

JTA — Actress, director and Academy Award winner Natalie Portman can add another title to her resume: children’s book author.

The Israeli-American movie star rewrote three classic children’s stories — “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “The Three Little Pigs” and “Country Mouse and City Mouse” — to be more “gender-safe,” in her words, with fewer male pronouns and more gender diversity.

She wrote about the thinking behind the project in a letter on the book’s website:

“So, I’ve been reading the “regular” books to my daughter that I had previously read to my son, but I’ve been newly struck by the fact that nearly all the characters in these books are male — including the animals. I started noticing that when I pointed out animals in real life, I tended to use the pronoun he. “See the duck? What does he say?” “Oh look at the doggie! What’s his name?”… In response I started changing the pronouns in my daughter’s classic books.”

Portman announced the book, titled “Natalie Portman’s Fables,” on Instagram on Tuesday. It goes on sale October 20.

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