Books for Girls who don’t want to Kiss the Frog

I did not join the anti-princess
.  I think fairy tales are great
as long as you follow them up with a guided conversation.  Little Mermaid throws her life away for a boy?  Do you think it was a wise thing to do?  Goldilocks breaking and entering the
strangers’ house?  What do you think she
could have done differently? 
Sleeping Beauty marry a Prince she just met?  Or perhaps wait till she can find out if they have things in common?   (I haven’t sorted out my feelings about Snow White living with seven creepy men in the woods yet, so I left this one out for
now).  So yes, I don’t think that princesses
who swoon at the sight of trouble and need princes to live happily ever after
make for good role models. 

The best antidote to traditional fairy tales are books that show strong girls, untraditional princesses who know how
to kick butts and can save princes out of trouble for a change, quick witted girls who
know what they want and go for it, princesses who search for their most
magnificent thing and know that there is more to life than Prince

Our family has four library cards and on
our weekly library trip we get between 100-200 books.  In our readings we came across some really
great books.  A Gold Star for Zog is currently my kids’ favorite ones. 
We will be adding to our list as time goes by.  For now this is our list of 19 wonderful books for Girls who don’t want to kiss that frog. 

1.  Don’t kiss the frog – princess stories with attitude by Fiona Waters. This book is fun to read and it teaches important lessons about self-acceptance, courage and about doing things your own way.  Typographic design, whimsical illustrations, humor and silly story twists are some of the things we love about this great book.  

2.  The princess in Black by Shannon Hale.  Princess Magnolia can wear pink and act like a delicate flower, she can also wear black and enjoy an action packed adventure.  This books reminds me of Alexander Duma.  In the tradition of Three Musketeers it has mystery, suspense and a juicy secret.    

3. The girl who loved wild horses by Paul Goble.  This girl knows what she wants and is not afraid to go for it.  And if she needs to leave her family behind to follow her dreams, so be it.  Beautiful story and stunning artwork. 

4.  The most magnificent thing by Ashley Spires.  If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try and try again.  My kids immediately connected to the character and told me that many times they felt the same frustration of seeing in their minds’ eyes something and not being able to produce it with their hands.  Great book!  

    5. The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell.  Little Minnow is one of the fifty daughters of the King Neptune.  All of her sisters have special talents like traning fish and growing underwater gardens, but not Minnow.  She doesn’t seem to do anything well, except asking questions that nobody has answers for and her mean sister even calls her “useless.”  It all changes one day when little Minnow goes on exploring adventure and finds answers to her questions all on her own.  From then on she knows what she is here for, she is “a daring explorer.” 

    6. Not all princesses dress in pink
    by Jane Yolan.  Girls come in all kinds.  Some wear red socks and other baseball mitts.  It’s all good as long as you have your tiara, which I told my daughter here is a metaphor for inner sparkle.    

    7.  Rosie Revere, Engineer
    by Andrea Beaty.  This rhyming book with great illustrations delivers an important lesson – Girls CAN be engineers.

    8.  The girl who never made mistakes
    by Mark Pett.  A mistake is not the end of the world and sometimes it actually turns the life for the best.

    9. The paper bag Princess
    by Robert Munsch.  A classical fairy tale with a modern twist.  In this story prince is snatched by the dragon and it’s a princess who saves him.  Only there are no wedding bells at the end of this story because she discovers that her princess is vain and silly.   

    10  Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell.   A heart-warming story of a little girl who learns a series of lessons about life that all children can benefit from.  

    11. The Magic Nesting Doll by Jacqueline Ogburn.  This is a beautifully illustrated book that reverses the traditional Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.  In this story Katya, a peasant girl uses her magic nesting doll to set things right and to release Prince from an evil spell.  
      12. Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson.  This is one of my favorite children’s books.  What would happen if Cinderella stopped playing a martyr and used her time as a virtual slave to learn some practical skills?  She would be Cinder Edna and marry a man who makes her laugh and who shares her hobbies and passions.   It’s a great book that teaches that “happily ever after” at the end of fairy tales are not necessarily that happy, if you don’t have much in common with your prince and don’t have any hobbies that make your life interesting.  All of this is presented in a way that makes both, my 4-year old and my 6-year old, hold their breath every time we read it.

      13.  Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke.  Being a princess is pretty boring.  All you have to do is look pretty and stay clean.  That’s why one day Isabella doesn’t want to be a princess anymore.  She ends up working in a kitchen and in a pigsty… and it makes her happy.  Her father has to accept that Isabella is different from his other daughters and makes peace with that.  This book is a wonderful antidote to Disney princesses. 
      14. The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herm Auch.  Princess Paulina is funny and quick-witted.  At the start of the story she thinks she wants to marry a prince and be a full time princess, but a few life changing experiences convince her that she would rather pursue other plans.  Very cute illustrations.   I created a Literature Unit Study for this book.   You can find it here.  
      15.  Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.  The original rule breaker!  She is cheeky and kind and she teaches children to believe in themselves.   
      16. Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen.  Oh, Princess Bea, she is not good at washing the decks and cooking pirates’ dinners, but turns out that she is very good at finding gold and being the brain of a pirate team.  I created a Literature Unit based on this book that includes math, geography and science.  My kids especially enjoyed secret messages, connect-the-dot and math page. You can find it here.  
      17.  Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse.  A rhyming, gentle lullaby about a princess who wanted to find her dragon.  And she did.  I’m happy to read this story every night. 
      18. A Gold Star for Zog by Julia Donaldson.  Charming rhymes and beautiful illustrations.  In this story Princess wants to be a Doctor.  Prince wants to be a doctor too.  With the help of a friendly dragon they become The Flying Doctors.  From all the books listed here this one is currently my kids’ favorite.  
      19.  Sleeping Bobby by Mary Pope Osborne and Will Osborne.  This re-telling of the classical version of Sleeping Beauty is fun and humorous.  
      More to come as we keep reading…. 

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