Alternative Princess Books

Traditional fairy tales tend to portray the female protagonists as helpless damsels who wait to be rescued by their designated princes (see: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, etc.), and while there’s nothing wrong with the romantic idea of happily ever after, which does work out just fine for some people, the danger comes when girls — and worse, boys — grow up subscribing to the narrow confines of these gender stereotypes. Which brings us to the importance of kids being exposed to alternative fairy tales, with characters who are unafraid of breaking the mould.

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The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

When a seagull randomly drops a can of bright orange paint on Mr. Plumbean’s roof, his house becomes a source of great consternation — not for him, however, but his neighbours, particularly since instead of restoring it to its original neat state, he does the exact opposite. This sparks a colourful chain reaction that changes the nondescript houses and lives of everyone on the street forever.

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Wild by Emily Hughes

It’s hard to put into words exactly how terrific this picture book by Emily Hughes is and why. Perhaps it has to do with the beautifully rendered illustrations and the way they depict the cosiness and warmth of the forest, and how it embraces the little girl as one of its own. Or perhaps it has to do with how it speaks to the deep-seated longing that everyone has, to be if not exactly wild then certainly FREE — free to be yourself, to do what you really want to do in life.

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The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson

The Story Of Ferdinand is the story of, well, a little bull named Ferdinand, and how he is
unlike all the other bulls in Spain in that he is a gentle soul who isn’t at all interested in butting his horns into anything, let alone be picked for the ‘privilege’ of being in a bullfight. But, of course, fate being a funny thing, he ends up being chosen for exactly that.

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