Disney today launches Tales of Courage and Kindness, a new digital storybook collection with 14 original Disney Princess stories aimed at inspiring children to help create a kinder world. The digital book, featuring unique illustrations by artists from around the world is being gifted to kids as part of Ultimate Princess Celebration – a new, global campaign championing the qualities of courage and kindness.
The storybook will be available for families worldwide to download for free at DisneyPrincessStories.co.uk. It follows new Disney research revealing that the majority of UK parents (77 per cent) turn to trusted characters, such as the Disney Princess and Queens, to help teach their kids important values and lessons, such as kindness.
The stories aim to inspire children through the adventures and values of these beloved characters, who each demonstrate the importance of courage and kindness in the face of adversity. The research found that kindness is regarded as the most important quality for 90 per cent of British parents.
Famous faces and parents Katie Piper and Millie Mackintosh have joined Disney voice talent Kelly Marie Tran (Raya in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon) and Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled), to read the new stories for families and kids to enjoy on Disney Junior’s YouTube channel.
In the UK, Katie Piper and Millie Mackintosh’s readings will be made available to seriously ill children in hospitals and hospices through Disney’s long-term charitable partners. Other famous faces lending their support to the campaign include singer Anne Marie.
Disney has also worked with charity partners across EMEA to identify real-life young people who have displayed extraordinary courage or kindness, who will be honoured within the storybook collection. These ‘Children of Kindness’ will each receive a special dedication to celebrate their own stories and further inspire young people. In the UK, five children have been honoured:
Chloe, aged 10, from Isle of Man (Jasmine storybook) – Chloe received her special dedication in recognition of the challenge she set herself when Covid-19 restrictions hit, to run 20km over 20 days to keep her family’s spirits up. Undeterred by her cerebral palsy and epilepsy, Chloe ran on her treadmill, often in fancy dress, and raised £3,700 for Make-A-Wish® UK.
Lilah, aged 9, from Guildford (Ariel storybook) – Instead of asking for 7th birthday presents, Lilah requested donations for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, which paid for a sandy beach experience at her local hospice for families to enjoy together, which Lilah also helped organise.
Izzy, aged 12, from Upper Beeding, West Sussex (Mulan storybook) – Instead of asking for 12th birthday presents, Izzy requested donations to Chestnut Tree House, as the organisation helps care for her little brother. Izzy also strengthened her fundraising efforts by shaving off her hair to raise more funds for the hospice.
Stuie, aged 14, from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire (Aurora storybook) – Stuie received his special dedication in recognition of his significant fundraising efforts for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, running 5km every day for a month. He started his fundraising two months after his brother Fraser sadly died of Coats plus syndrome, to help other families who were faced with the same situation as his family.
Zac, aged 11, from Somerset (Pocahontas storybook) – Zac was born with Moebius syndrome, which involves facial and oral paralysis, which left him fighting for his life in ICU, unable to breathe, feed, speak or smile. Through sheer determination, Zac wanted to inspire other children, so recorded a speech for the International Churchill Society’s global competition, despite being told he would never speak. He won first prize and chose to donate his winnings to Great Ormond Street Hospital charity.
With three quarters (78 per cent) of UK parents of young children saying their children have become kinder and more compassionate over the last year, the new storybook demonstrates the positive values of Disney Princess characters, whether that’s Jasmine seeing the good in others, Cinderella treating others with kindness, or Belle befriending the lonely.
Three quarters (75 per cent) of UK parents agree that Disney Princess characters are positive role models for children, and according to UK children, treating others with kindness is the most important way to behave (62 per cent), followed by being a good friend (61 per cent) and being caring (57 per cent).
As well as being available online for families, the storybook will also be available in select schools across the UK as part of Into Film and Disney’s Ultimate Princess Celebration: Kindness Quest learning resource that aims to promote kindness and bravery.
“Teaching children the importance of qualities like kindness and courage from a very young age is as important as teaching them maths, science or sport,” says child psychologist Laverne Antrobus. “Generations have grown up learning important values and the principles of kindness from watching their favourite characters on TV, at the cinema or reading their favourite books. Characters such as Disney Princess and Queens help kids understand these important life skills early on. It’s also important to see that doing good things for other people is good for our own wellbeing, as it releases endorphins and boosts our serotonin to make us happier.”
Tasia Filippatos at Disney said: “Disney stories are timeless, and while each Disney Princess character has her own admirable qualities, courage and kindness connect them all. We know that one small act of kindness can have a big impact on others and we hope Tales of Courage and Kindness helps to inspire kids to play their part in making the world a kinder place.”
Katie Piper said: “Disney’s new story collection features tales steeped in the power of kindness and the importance of having courage. It’s brilliant to see Disney gifting little ones with such a positive message. Both are key qualities which I do my best to demonstrate to my daughters every day – I think it’s every parent’s hope that their children thrive in a world filled with kindness.”
Millie Mackintosh said: “I have a soft spot for Disney stories, especially Cinderella; her messages of kindness are as important today as when her story was first told. The Tales of Courage and Kindness story collection is a beautiful inspirational tool for parents, and I’m looking forward to sharing my love of Disney Princess stories with my daughter.”