Oscar winner Natalie Portman is now an author. Her children’s’ book “Natalie Portman’s Fables” is due out next month. But for now she has joined fellow stars in a campaign to get LA County leaders to do more for inmates at risk of Corona Virus infection.
So why did Natalie Portman write a children’s’ book. Well in an open letter she explains that becoming a mother and reading children’s’ stories to her kids had something to do with it. She wrote, “Reading stories is one of the first ways we start practicing empathy. We feel for characters in stories as we might for ourselves or our own friends,” Portman said.
“These classic tales have great messages (hard work pays off, perseverance and grit win over hubris and haste, abundance can be dangerous), but I hope they just feel like great stories we want to read again and again, the way I do with my children’s favorites.”
“When my daughter was born I was introduced to a whole new genre of literature: the feminist baby book. I, myself, was undergoing a transformation –understanding (too late in my life) how deeply entrenched I was in the patriarchy, but I still had to admit – I didn’t want to read feminist baby books to my girl.”
— NataliePortman.com (@natpdotcom) August 29, 2019
“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?”
Bothered by this, Natalie Portman explains that she started changing the pronouns in her daughter’s classic books. So in her own book Portman says that she decided to rewrite – to an extent – classic fable by making them, “reflective of the actual world, where about half of the animal kingdom is female, and half is male, and some are neither or both.
Meanwhile, Natalie Portman has joined other celebrities like Gabrielle Union and fellow Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix in a new public service announcement called #SuingToSaveLives for COVID-19 Response Coalition. The campaign is fighting to improve the conditions in Los Angeles jails where inmates are allegedly not receiving adequate protection from the Covid-19 virus and comes after class-action lawsuit was filed six months ago on behalf of Los Angeles inmates.
The new PSA states, “We have asked the following people to amplify the voices of those currently incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, by reading their testimonies. These are the words of several plaintiffs in a lawsuit to hold the LA County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff’s Department accountable to the public.”
From the book description on Amazon:
From realizing that there is no “right” way to live to respecting our planet and learning what really makes someone a winner, the messages at the heart of Natalie Portman’s Fables are modern takes on timeless life lessons. Told with a playful, kid-friendly voice and perfectly paired with Janna Mattia’s charming artwork, Portman’s insightful retellings of The Tortoise and the Hare, The Three Little Pigs, and Country Mouse and City Mouse are ideal for reading aloud and are sure to become beloved additions to family libraries.