It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.
The classic story of how Sara Crewe, the little princess, went from riches to rags and back again is one that shouldn't be missed by any young girl. First published in 1905, it still remains as charming and timeless today.
When Sara Crewe arrives at Miss Minchin's boarding school, she has everything that money can buy. The daughter of a rich captain, she is quiet, solemn, thoughtful, gracious, has impeccable manners and thus is mockingly called "the little princess" by her jealous classmates. Sara attempts to fit in and make friends with everyone, from the spoiled Lavinia all the way down to the tired and dirty maid Becky. But when her father dies and leaves her penniless she is thrown on the mercy of the cruel Miss Minchin, who allows her to stay on as the lowest kind of servant. In the midst of all the poverty, hunger, and despair that follows, Sara attempts to remain, on the inside, a true princess.
Despite the fact that its protagonist is not actual royalty,A Little Princessremains the quintessential princess book for girls. There's just something undeniably romantic about Sara's dramatic fall from riches to poverty—and the way she handles it with perseverance and grace. She has her moments of despair, but ultimately sees her sufferings as a test of her own character. Can she act like a princess when everything she loves is taken away from her, or did her good manners and kind heart only result from having a good life? The answer to that question is relevant in every girl's life, whether or not she is ever as rich or as poor as Sara Crewe.
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