Princess Stories

"Every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything about it, except that she is always in danger of forgetting her rank, and behaving as if she had grown out of the mud. I have seen little princesses behave like children of thieves and lying beggars, and that is why they need to be told they are princesses."
George MacDonaldThe Princess and the Goblin

The ideal of the "princess" has been romanticized throughout literary history, sometimes to the point of absurdity. In popular culture, this has manifested itself primarily in two (harmful) trends. One portrays a princess as a stunningly beautiful woman whose life only begins when all her problems are solved by the appearance of Prince Charming and the other tries to overturn that trend by portraying an equally beautiful woman who gets everything she wants when she rebels against her parents or societal norms.

These are obviously not the kind of stories you want your daughters to be reading, but that's not to say you should throw out princess stories altogether. Princesses exemplify femininity in a way that is appealing to (and good for) girls of all ages, and there are books out there that accurately portray this.

Take the story of Cinderella, for example. She did all of the cooking, cleaning, washing, and sewing for an entire household—without a word of complaint. Sara Crewe gave to the poor even when she was the poorest she'd ever been. Princess Irene was brave in the face of great danger. Addie faced her worst fears to save her sister.

And you can't neglect stories about real princesses (and queens) alongside the fictional ones. Women like Pocahontas, Ka'iulani, or Elizabeth may not have stories as magical as those of Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty, but they also exhibit the kindness and fearlessness of a true princess.

Because, ultimately, a true princess should be defined by behavior, not by birth. Stories about brave and selfless women who care about others and are willing to do the right thing, no matter the cost, are the kinds of princesses worth reading about—and hopefully the kind that girls will grow up to be.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time.
You can read more of her reviews here.

 

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Adelita
by Tomie DePaola
Reprint from Puffin Books
for Nursery-2nd grade
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from Random House
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Everyman's Library Children's Classics
by C. S. Evans, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
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by C. S. Evans, illustrated by Arthur Rackham
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1985 Newbery Medal Winner
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Light Princess
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by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
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Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Tasha Tudor
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Little Princess
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Little Princess
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Little Princess
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Lost Princess of Oz
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by L. Frank Baum
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Many Moons
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Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 1st-3rd grade
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$8.00
Many Moons
by James Thurber & Louis Slobodkin
from Harcourt
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1944 Caldecott medal winner
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Mara, Daughter of the Nile
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from Puffin Books
Historical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
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$8.99
Mary, Bloody Mary
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by Carolyn Meyer
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by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
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Modern Fairy Tale for
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Royal Diaries
by Patricia McKissack
from Scholastic Inc.
for 4th-8th grade
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Ordinary Princess
by M. M. Kaye
from Puffin Books
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 2nd-6th grade
$7.99
Paper Bag Princess
by Robert Munsch
39th Printing, December 2000 from Annick Press
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$4.00 (3 in stock)
Perilous Gard
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from Houghton Mifflin
Historical Fantasy for 7th-10th grade
1975 Newbery Honor Book
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Perilous Gard
by Elizabeth Marie Pope
from Puffin Books
Historical Fantasy for 7th-10th grade
1975 Newbery Honor Book
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Perrault's Fairy Tales
by Charles Perrault, Gustave Dore
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Persian Cinderella
by Shirley Climo & Robert Florczak
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by Edgar & Ingri D'Aulaire
from Beautiful Feet Books
Picture Book Biography for 3rd-6th grade
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by Clyde Robert Bulla
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Biographies for 3rd-5th grade
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by Leslie Gourse
from Aladdin Paperbacks
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by Julie Sutter
from Vision Forum
Historical fiction / Irish missions for 7th-10th grade
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Princess and Curdie
Puffin Classics
by George MacDonald
from Puffin Books
Fantasy for 6th-10th grade
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$7.99
Princess and Curdie
by George MacDonald
from Living Book Press
Fantasy for 6th-10th grade
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$9.99
Princess and Curdie
by George MacDonald
from Canon Press
Fantasy for 6th-10th grade
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$13.95
Princess and the Goblin
Puffin Classics
by George MacDonald
from Puffin Books
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Princess and the Goblin
Everyman Library
by George MacDonald
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Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
$18.00
Princess and the Goblin
by George MacDonald
from Living Book Press
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
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$9.99
Princess and the Goblin
Puffin Classics
by George MacDonald
from Canon Press
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
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Princess and the Goblin
by George MacDonald, illustrated by Charles Folkard
from J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
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