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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.