The actor has become as much of a sensation in the kid-lit world as he is in Hollywood. His latest, Goldilocks: Wanted Dead or Alive, dives deep into this strong and brave character.

By Karen Cicero
June 08, 2021
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Chris Colfer headshot in blue shirt
Credit: Courtesy of Chris Colfer

Chris Colfer, 31, can't recall a time that he wasn't writing for fun. When his memorable role on Glee ended in 2015, he had already penned the first four middle-grade chapter books in the best-selling Land of Stories series, an empowering and thoroughly modern take on fairy tales. Colfer's latest, Goldilocks: Wanted Dead or Alive, is a graphic novel that takes a deep dive into the origin story of one of the most popular characters in his series.

"Goldilocks is everything I've ever wanted to be. She's strong, brave, smart as a whip, an amazing acrobat, a fearless warrior, but most important, her heart is just as golden as her hair," he says. "She's been painted as an outlaw, but she's willing to do what it takes to protect the people she loves."

Parents chatted with Colfer, who is developing the series for the big screen. 

goldilocks book cover
Credit: Courtesy of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

What is the book's message?

First, there are always two sides to every story. Second, everyone goes through periods of defeat and hopelessness sooner or later. But sometimes when we hit those low moments-and we convince ourselves that life is over-that's when our real story begins. 

What drew you to Goldilocks? 

When I was little, my mom read fairy tales to me every night before bed, and I became very curious about the characters and their motives. It was hard to imagine that people were just inherently good or evil-I needed more information-so I started filling in the blanks for myself. 

How did your writing journey begin?

It started out as detailed story lines for my action figures and then evolved into short stories. When I was about 7, I tried writing the first Land of Stories book. After I finished a "chapter," which was about two handwritten pages, I would ride my bike to my grandmother's house and she would edit it for me. It was difficult writing a novel at 7, so I promised myself I would finish it when I got older and knew more words. Over the years, writing became a saving grace during a series of family tragedies. 

What's your advice for parents who want to foster their child's writing?

Always give them encouraging and honest feedback. Immerse them in books, movies, music, art, or different cultures; the more they're exposed to, the more they'll have to draw from. And don't shelter them from the real world. It's okay if they feel overwhelmed or afraid at times-that's where true creativity comes from. 

very hungry caterpillar book cover
One of Colfer's faves
| Credit: Courtesy of World Publishing Company

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's July issue as "Book Crush: Chris Colfer's Gleeful Twist on Fairy Tales." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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