Nine times out of 10, Rapunzel is shown as a blonde. I’m not sure why the princess known for her hair must still always be blonde. I know that we still have a problem with overemphasizing “Aryan” beauty. Kind of like why Helen of Troy is shown as blonde. She was a Greek woman in about 1200 B.C.E., so the likelihood of her being a butter blonde adult seems small. Also, Tangled, brown hair isn’t magical? Come on!
All of this leads to a very specific idea about what a princess with beautiful hair looks like. A friend told me once when her daughter saw a ginger-haired Rapunzel, she said, “Rapunzel doesn’t look like that!”
Luckily, there are so many Rapunzel retellings these days that even 1 out of 10 gives us a nice little list of books. I’m here to knock down the idea that Rapunzel must be blonde and to say that Rapunzel looks like any girl. Celebrating lustrous locks and tower exiles with all shades of tresses, here are picture books showing Rapunzel rocking different hues than the usual. (Helen of Troy, I’m coming for your hair next!)
Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale by Lynn Roberts, illustrated by David Roberts
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale
How the Library (Not the Prince) Save Rapunzel by Wendy O’Shea-Meddour, illustrated by Rebecca Ashdown
Rapunzels of Color
Rapunzel written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora
Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel by Patricia Storace, illustrated by Raul Colon
Rapunzel (Once Upon A World) by Chloe Perkins, illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan
Rapunzel Cuts Loose by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Bad Hair Day by Sarah Mylinowski
What are some other books you’ve come across with a different-looking Rapunzel?