Published on September 10th, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books
Princess Bedtime Stories that Empower Girls
If you’re concerned that your child is receiving the wrong messages through traditional princess bedtime stories, then this list is for you. These great princess bedtime stories rightfully turn gender stereotypes on their head. All of these Princesses are thoughtful, strong-willed, industrious and extremely independent – the perfect role models for your daughter or son.
Princess Bedtime Stories that Empower Girls
by Cornelia Funke & ill. Kerstin Meyer
“You want me to marry some dimwit in a tin suit?” So says Princess Violetta upon discovering her father the king has announced a tournament with her hand in marriage as the prize. Violetta has grown up learning the same knightly skills as her older brothers, and what she lacks in size she makes up for in determination – she becomes the nimblest, cleverest knight in the land. Perhaps you can guess how she rescues herself? The delicate illustrations by Kerstin Meyer are based on the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry, bringing a true knightly feel to this charming story. Princess Violetta makes most princess bedtime stories seem like wilted lettuce.
by Jane Yolen & Heidi E.Y. Stemple
Not all princesses dress in pink.
Some play in bright red socks that stink,
blue team jerseys that don’t quite fit,
accessorized with a baseball mitt,
and a sparkly crown!
Princesses come in all kinds. Exuberant text from Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Yolen Stemple paired with charming illustrations show girls jumping in mud puddles, climbing trees, playing sports and making messes—all while wearing their tiaras. Although there’s no storyline to the rhyming text and whimsical illustrations, this book serves as a good antidote to the cloying pink that has infected so many books aimed at girls. Definitely one of the best princess bedtime stories you’ll come across and a great reminder to little people who might be fixated on the color pink.
by Dashka Slater
Princess Amanita laughs in the face of danger. Brakeless bicycles, pet scorpions, spiky plants – some of her favourite things. So when quiet Prince Florian gives her roses, she’s unimpressed… until she sees the glorious thorns. She must have rose seeds of her own! But when huge honking noses grow instead, what is a princess with a taste for danger to do? This funny, richly illustrated book has a touch of the absurd, a pinch of coming-of-age, and a huge helping of danger – all adding up to one of the most appealing and engaging princess bedtime stories for children and adults alike.
by Ellen Jackson
We all know Cinderella, who worked sunup to sundown for her wicked stepmother and stepsisters – but how many of us know the story of Cinder Edna, who also worked her fingers to the bone for her evil step-relatives? Cinderella had the good fortune to be rescued by her fairy godmother – but strong, self-reliant, spunky Cinder Edna rescues herself. This clever revision of a familiar story is full of surprises and twists, and is one of our favorite princess bedtime stories.
by Mary Pope Osborne
Based on the classic fairy tale The Brave Little Tailor, Mary Pope Osborne’s spirited retelling – this time starring a gutsy seamstress – and Giselle Potter’s charming illustrations take you to a magical world where a little heroine meets even the biggest challenges with wit and imagination. The big payoff comes when our girl becomes a legend: “Out of a seamstress a great queen was made, as kind and wise as she was strong and brave.”
by Mary Hoffman
Grace is back! The girl from Amazing Grace who proved that you can be anything you want and that families are what you make them, now discovers that there’s more more than one way to be a princess. Grace has the chance to be a princess in a school parade. But what does a princess do, apart from wearing beautiful clothes and looking pretty? Does she have to be pink and floaty, with a crown? Grace and her friends start finding out about princesses in China, Egypt, the Philippines and Zimbabwe – and on the day of the parade, helped by Ma and Nana, Grace’s school has the most interesting float of all. As for Grace… why of course she’s a sensation!
by Julia Donaldson
Another winner from the team that brought us The Gruffalo. Zog is the keenest dragon in school. He’s also the most accident-prone. Luckily a mysterious little girl always happens by to patch up his bumps and bruises. And she’s just as helpful when Zog is set his biggest dragon test – to find a princess to rescue. An endearing, engaging tale that turns Princess bedtime story stereotypes on their heads.
by Robert Munsch & ill. Michael Martchenko
This is the classic cool, smart, interesting princess picture book, first published in 1980. Princess Elizabeth is about to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle, burns her clothes with its fiery breath, and kidnaps Ronald. The dauntless and resourceful princess sets off to rescue Ronald. With only her courage and her brains, she finds and outwits the dragon and comes to Ronald’s rescue, only to be met with disdain at her unprincesslike appearance. It does have a happy ending, just one with a twist. Tongue-in-cheek humor and engaging illustrations – this is most definitely one of the best Princess bedtime stories going around.
by Charlotte Pomerantz & ill. Tony Chen
The clever young princess of this delightful story rules over the Tiny Kingdom, about to celebrate 100 years at peace. When a fleet of warships threatens her land, Princess Mat Mat uses her wits and ingenuity to rout the invaders and save her kingdom with nary a battle. Inspired by the 13th century invasion of Vietnam by the Imperial Navy of Kublai Khan.
By Babette Cole
Princess Smartypants does not want to get married. She enjoys being an independent Ms. But being a rich and pretty princess means that all the princes want her to be their Mrs. When family pressure mounts, she agrees to look for a mate but sets the candidates tasks that are impossible. Find out how Princess Smartypants fights to preserve her independence in this hilarious fairy-tale-with-a-difference.
by Cressida Cowell
Technically not a book about a princess… though it is about a brave little girl who stands up to a nasty Queen. One day, Emily and her rabbit are launching themselves into outer space to look for alien life-forms when they are interrupted by the Chief Footman to Queen Gloriana. He offers to trade a golden teddy bear for Bunnywunny. ‘No, thank you,’ said Emily Brown. ‘This rabbit is NOT for sale. And his name isn’t Bunnywunny. It’s STANLEY’.
Unfortunately, Queen Gloriana will not take no for an answer. After several more refusals from an increasingly irritated little girl, the special commandos sneak into her bedroom at night and steal Stanley. Emily Brown storms the palace and confronts the queen, who cannot understand why Bunnywunny looks so miserable. So Emily takes pity on the silly queen and whispers the secret of how to have a happy toy.
This gem of a book features a spunky child with a terrific imagination. The wacky illustrations, done in collage, pen and ink, and watercolor, perfectly depict the joy and energy of the companions’ playtime activities. One of our all time favorite princess bedtime stories!