Monday, January 6, 2014

Meet Mark Binder, creator of 'Cinderella Spinderella'

What was the inspiration behind this book?
I was performing stories one summer in Boston for the ReadBoston literacy program. There was a hugely diverse mix of kids of all ages and colors. That same summer I was in Newport, RI performing for Shake-A-Leg (now called SailToPrevail) at their camp for young people with severe disabilities. I wanted to create a story that clicked with both groups.
What message do you hope readers will take away from it?
The message of the book is to be powerful and comfortable in your own skin, to be your own person. I hope all the readers will find themselves in the pages – and have fun doing it!
How closely did you work with your illustrator in creating this book?
Incredibly closely. It was lovely. Steve Mardo was completely amazing. This was the first big illustration project that either of us worked on, so we fumbled around a lot. He made a huge number of sketches and transformed them into amazing illustrations. There are more than 300 illustrations (including the various Cinderellas and Princes) in the book, but I know that he made many many more.
You have technology in the book that allows the reader to change the ethnic identity of the character. What prompted you to include this?
When I perform the story, I never describe what Cinderella looked like. I want the listener to imagine. Is she black? White? Asian? Hispanic? From the Indian Subcontinent? Because I share my stories with so many different people, I wanted the reader to be able to see herself or himself in the book.

Making Cinderella Spinderella an ebook is a natural way to allow readers to choose – and make it affordable.
Will this ever be available in hard copy, with an option to purchase the reader's chosen character?
I hope so. We’re working on this now. The challenge is in making it affordable to buy and produce. Because we have five princes and five Cinderella’s, there are 25 variations.
Tell us about winning the Moonbeam Award for Best Multicultural eBook.
Awards are weird and strange. I’m glad we were picked, but I’m not totally comfortable calling it a “Multicultural” ebook. While the characters pictured in each season changes, her house doesn’t. Her language doesn’t. Her clothes don’t.

I mention this because I know that some people will go back and pick a new Cinderella and try to find what’s different. I don’t want them to be disappointed. The story shouldn’t change just because Cinderella looks different, should it?

As the Fairy Godmother says, “It doesn’t matter what you look like. What matters is who you are.”

I like to think that’s true – and if it's not, it’s a goal worth working toward.

Oh, and we just found out that we’ve won a QED (Quality, Excellence Design) award from Digital Book World, and are a finalist for a Digital Book Award!
You write stories for all ages. Please tell us about some of your written body.
Oh my!

I love to write and tell stories. I used to joke that I specialize in diversity. (Insert rimshot here.)

For young people many of my stories sound familiar – they’re variations on traditional stories or original stories that seem timeless.

For older kids, I invent tall tales and tell fabulous lies about my childhood. I don’t play down my writing to anyone, so the goal is that both adults and kids can read and enjoy my collection of “Autobiographical Lies” called “It Ate My Sister.”

I’ve also written a series of books that I call, “Life in Chelm” which are set in a village of fools. So far there are two story collections and a novel called, “The Brothers Schlemiel” in this series.
On what other projects are you currently working?
Right now, I’m working on a short novel for my daughter, who is in Middle School, and a novella for adults. I’m also collecting a sequel to “It Ate My Sister” called “Growing Up Short.”
What drives you as a writer?
I love to make up stories. An idea pops into my mind and I shape it. Then I keep writing until it’s done. That’s when the hard work begins – trying to connect the story with an audience of readers. Tell your friends!
When not storytelling, what can you be found doing?
When I’m not writing, I’m storytelling. When I’m not storytelling I’m writing.
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I bake bread and pizza. I learned how to throw a pizza at the World Pizza Expo in Las Vegas when I was a writer for Pizza Today Magazine
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Cinderella Spinderella has been a real labor of love. I like to joke that we hand-picked every pixel, because it seemed that way. It’s not a game or an app, it’s an illustrated book – one with lots of words and lots of pictures, and it’s meant to be read and savored and shared. I hope that it will become your family’s first favorite illustrated ebook!
Thank you so much for your time!
You’re welcome. And thank you! It’s been a pleasure.

Cinderella Spinderella
by Mark Binder



Cinderella Spinderella is an illustrated ebook (and audio book) for families

More than the dress or the shoes, Cinderella Spinderella tells the story about a young woman powerfully asserting her identity.

"It doesn't matter what you look like… It's who you are that counts."
—The Fairy Godmother

Winner: Moonbeam Award for Best Multicultural eBook for Children!

The classic story of Cinderella has been modernized and urbanized in this beautifully illustrated edition, written with delightful humor and a surprising twist.

Cinderella Spinderella uses ebook technology to allow readers to choose how Cinderella looks. Is she Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, or from the Indian subcontinent? …You can pick!

Check out some screenshots and images at the following links!

Buy links:

Kindle edition:

iBooks Edition:

Google Play:



Audio Book




Google Play Audio:

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mark Binder is an award-winning author and story performer and a parent. Over the past twenty years he has shared his Bed Time Story Book series with tens of thousands of readers and listeners around the world live, in print and in audio recordings. His most recent book is Cinderella Spinderella.

Detailed bio at:


Twitter: @barkminder


Mark will be awarding a signed eBook gift card (ePub, Mobi or MP3 audio book) to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop and a Grand Prize of not only the ebook giftcard signed by Mark, but a limited edition cover poster autographed by both the author and the illustrator will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!


  1. Hi Andi,
    It was great talking with you. I'm glad you enjoyed the book!
    - Mark Binder

  2. Nice interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com