I began brainstorming ideas for this book nearly twenty years ago, when my daughter, eleven at the time, asked me to tell her the traditional girls fairytales. I wondered: what is it about these tales that have fascinated girls (and their mothers) for centuries and possibly for thousands of years? As my brain circled around these questions and stories, eventually, with the help of my friend Dana Williams and my son Immanuel Schaer, I was able to put together a series of tales that were as much as surprise (and a success) to me as they will be to the reader.

From the back of the book:

A girl, an elderly shaman and a wolf hold a day of tales and initiations. In their “vision-quest” they travel thousands of years into the future where they experience the progressive loss of women’s knowledge and culture.

On this long day of tales, the girl undergoes a series of initiations, culminating in her acceptance of a sacred Red Madder Root Cloak, a symbol of knowledge but also of responsibility for the future of the clan and of humanity.

Their visions are familiar to us. Through the tribulations of Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White, Cinderella and the Frog Princess, we are newly introduced to epochs of history and to the struggles of men and women, girls and boys as they encounter war, famine, plague and exploitation. 

Red Madder Root is soul-lifting and mind-bending. It returns us to the mystery and potential of human beings. We receive the example of wise souls who, while facing immeasurable grief, loss, and hardship, commit to carry on their work for the wellbeing of all.