Thursday, May 5, 2016

Princess Books for Every Age

When I was a little girl, I loved Princess books and now that I am an adult, I still love them. The books have changed over the years, but I have found some truly delightful books featuring princesses for every age. The princesses in these books are strong, witty and willing to stand for what they believe it. I am not sure why princesses get such a bad rapt, it is definently not from these books.

Picture Books: 

The Paper bag Princess- Quite possibly my favorite princess book of all time. The princess ends up saving the princes from the dragon and then discovers he might not have been worth it after all. We LOVE this story in our house, it sends the message that appearances aren't everything.

Fanny's Dream- Sometimes we discover our dream of being Cinderella at the ball, isn't what we really wanted after all. This book is all about discovering that even when your Fairy Godmother doesn't come, sometimes life works out just the way you wanted it after all.

The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin- The Invisible Being is looking for a wife and every girl in the village hopes to be chosen, but only the one who can truly see him can be his bride. The two spoiled daughters of a villager try for his hand and laugh when their disfigured sister thinks to try for herself. This Algonquin version of Cinderella is a picture book, but a very moving one. One that I love to read over and over again.

Princess (Your Child's Name)- This personalized book from I See Me! books has a beautiful princess that is your little girl! You can personalize the hair and skin tone as well as the name of the kingdom! My kids LOVE this book. They think it is such a blast to have a book that is about them. 

We have absolutely loved our I See Me! Books. The TODAY Show calls them the "gifts with a personal touch"! They have gorgeous pictures, cute stories and the best part is that it is created one-at-a-time, especially for your child. My girls each beg to read their own book over and over again because they love that they are in the story! I See Me! has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, Parents Magazine for their darling books. 

The Princess in Black- Princess in Black book was my 7-year-old daughter's first read-out-loud book of the year. We read the first last year and loved it, so I bought the second for her. It is a fun book about a proper princess who secretly fights monsters as the princess in black. It is a easy-read chapter book with pictures on each page. My 7-year-old read it to me in one sitting and has read both books in the series multiple times by herself. I highly recommend it for young readers. My 7-year-old reads on a 4th grade level so it is probably perfect for 1st-3rdish graders.

Chapter Books: 

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George- Castle Glower isn't like your typical castle. It adds rooms and secret paths and Princess Celie loves to take the time to map out the magical castle. When the king and queen are ambushed and her beloved living castle is put to sleep, it is up to Celie to protect her home. 

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. This is hands down my favorite Cinderella story. If you have seen the movie, don't let it keep you from reading this book to your kids. It is clever and funny. There is still the same basic cast of characters, Ella, the evil stepmother and stepsisters but in this version you add in some crazy fairies, ogres and giants too!

In this Cinderella retelling Ella is under a curse from a fairy that makes her compelled to be obedient. In a land of ogres, fairies and trolls, Ella must learn how to break the curse or she could be the cause of her own destruction.

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles). This was a childhood favorite that has turned into adult favorite. This fun series is about a princess who likes to fence and practice magic and doesn't want to marry a boring prince, instead she runs off to live with the dragons instead. She becomes a dragon's princess and actually talks the knights who come out of rescuing her. This is another book where I love the characters, it is definitely written for a middle school audience but I find myself still enjoying years later.

Dragon Slippers- What do you do when you are left with your niece and you can't afford to feed her? You give her to a local dragon, in hopes a wealthy man will rescue her, of course. They will be married and all your days of hard work will be over, right? Except your niece is not an ordinary girl.

Dragon Slippers is the adventure of a girl named Creel meeting dragons, princes, and ornery princesses When Creel is taken by a dragon, instead of cowering in fear and waiting for her rescue, she talks the dragon into not only letting her go, but also into giving her a very special pair of shoes. After Creel escapes the dragon, she makes her way to the city, in hopes of getting work in a dress shop.

Wearing the shoes, Creel quickly find herself in over her head, running into bandits, other dragons and getting on the bad side of the future queen. Her shoes get her in constant trouble, until they cause the nation to hang by a thread. Can Creel figure out her shoes and save her country?

The Princess Test by Gail Carson Levine- This short and sweet novella is a run retelling of The Princess and the Pea. Prince Nicholas is to marry, but his mother is making it as hard as possible. She wants to find a true princess, but how can anyone ever pass all of his mother's tests. This junior grade book is a great read aloud book and it is often paired with Gail Carson Levine's retelling of Sleeping Beauty as well!

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley- This isn't exactly a princess book, but you will see all of your favorite fairy tale characters make an appearance in this story about the descendants of the Brothers Grimm who have to keep all of the fairy tale characters out of magical mischief. This is a junior grade book that is perfect to read aloud.

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George- Rose and her 11 sisters have been condemned to dance every night for the King Under Stone. Galen in a soldier just returned from war determined to free the sisters from their dancing fate. Will he be able to keep the sisters from dancing for all eternity? This retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses is a pretty classic retelling, sticking pretty close to the story.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale- Miri has grown up on Mount Eskel, it is a quiet life until the King's Priests chose the mountain as the home of the next princess. Each village girl is required to attend a strict princess academy, for when the prince comes in a year to pick his bride. Although Miri is small and feels like she doesn't contribute much to her family's work in the quarry, she finds that she can contribute in much bigger ways. This is one of my favorite princess reads, the main character is endearing and for once you aren't rooting for her to end up with the prince.

For Teens and Adult: 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns- Elisa is a 16-year-old princess and the story opens on her wedding day. The first time she sees her husband is when they meet at the altar. Elisa is different from most heroines. She is over-weight, lacks confidence and has sat in the background all her life while her older sister takes charge. The one thing that sets her apart is the she bears the Godstone in her navel, which signifies that God has selected her to complete an extraordinary task. Elisa prays often but has no idea what task God wants her to complete, since she is the sheltered, insignificant queen of a foreign land. That is until she is kidnapped and now she must lead a desperate people at war into a losing battle.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas- Brought back from laboring in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, assassin Celaena, is given the chance to win her freedom by competing with other criminals for the chance to be the King's Champion. As the trials begin, the contestants start turning up dead and Celaena must wonder what else is going in the castle. This series has taken on a whole life of its own, but you will still see small bits of Cinderella in there now and again, that is, if Cinderella was a kick butt assassin.

Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter by Marissa Meyer - The Lunar chronicles not only puts a modern day on some of your favorite fairy tales, but it combines them into one story. Cinder is the story of a cyborg Cinderella who falls in love with a prince. Scarlet is the story of Red Riding Hood as a pilot. Cress stars as Rapunzel, a programmer trapped in an orbiting satellite. Winter is a princess who not unlike Snow White, has a step mother who hates her. Can they come together to put Cinder on the throne? 

Goose Girl by Shannon Hale- When Ani is sent to a foreign land to marry a foreign prince, she thinks life couldn't get much worse. Then her lady in waiting leads a mutiny and takes her place. Ani becomes a Goose Girl to the queen and must figure out a way to save herself and the country from the pretend princess. 

The Princess in the Opal Mask

This retelling of Man in the Iron Mask is just as gripping as the original story, with lots of character and plot elements of its own. Princess Wilha knows what her face looks like, but no one else around her does. Since her birth she has been forced to wear an opal mask, concealing what lays beneath. The few times she has dared to show anybody her face, they have been abruptly dismissed from the palace. There are all sorts of rumors flying around, that her face is deformed, that one look from her can kill, that one look can heal, but when Princess Wilha looks beneath the mask, all she sees is an ordinary girl, so why must she wear it?

Elara is an orphan. She has few friends and spends most of her time serving the family that is supposed to love her, hungry and alone. She is an ordinary girl, until attempts on the life of Princess Wilha thrust her into a royal world that she knows nothing about. Elara now has a chance to be somebody else, but is that what she wants?

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale - Lady Saren is to be locked in a tower for seven years because she refuses to marry Lord Khashar. She brings a maid, Dashti along to be her companion during this time. Dashti surprisingly doesn't seem to mind the arrangement, she is grateful that she knows she will be fed for seven years, but whens he finds rats in the flour and mold on the cheese, Dashti must find a way for them to survive.

Entwined by Heather Dixon- Azaela and her sisters love nothing more than to dance, when their mother dies any joy that they might have found from dancing is taken away from them. They find a world of magic below their feet where they can dance to their hearts content. The world led by the keeper is a place they cane be themselves, but they will soon find that it comes at a high price. I loved this retelling of the 12 Dancing Princess. The characters are engaging and the story is fun to read.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George- With the promise that her family will be made wealthy if she goes with him, The Lass travels with an enchanted polar bear to his castle far away. The castle and its silent staff are almost too much for The Lass to stand when she makes a mistake that could change everything. This retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon is captivating and fun! A quick and light read.

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