20 Royal Reads for National Princess Day

Here are 20 books to share with young readers on National Princess Day, November 18, and on any day they might be wishing for a royal escape.

Many young readers, from preschool all the way up to high school, long to be swept away in a fantasy world where they may experience a royal lifestyle as princess, along with all the luxury, romance, and adventure that comes with the title. Luckily, there are many books with royal protagonists that children can escape into. Here are a few to share on National Princess Day (November 18th) and on any day a royal escape is wished for.


Picture Books

 The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld. illus. by Tom Gauld. Holiday House/Neal Porter. ISBN 9780823446988. 
PreS-Gr 4–This the tale of a king and queen (he with white skin, she with brown) who long for a child. Their wishes come true with the help of a kind inventor and a good witch, and they end up with not one child but two: a wooden robot boy and his princess sister. There is a slight glitch as one might expect in a fairy tale—the princess turns into a log nightly and has to be woken each morning with a magical phrase.

 The Princess in Black and the Mermaid Princess by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale. illus. by LeUyen Pham. Candlewick. (Princess in Black: Bk. 9). ISBN 9781536209778.
K-Gr 3–In this ninth installment, the Hales have brought back all the elements young readers love about the “Princess in Black” series—heroes in disguise, hungry monsters, imperiled goats, and ninja skills—but this time, they’ve set their story underwater, added a mermaid princess, and included a powerful message of speaking up to help others.

If You Were a Princess: True Stories of Brave Leaders from Around the World by Hillary Homzie. illus. by Udayana Lugo. S. & S./Aladdin. ISBN 9781534456174. 
K-Gr 3–Three young friends with different skin tones wonder what it would be like to be a princess. Positive attributes are listed and supported through facts and profiles of real-life princesses past and present from countries around the world, large and small. The friends learn that anyone can be a princess in their own way by following the examples of the princesses profiled.

Kuan Yin: The Princess Who Became the Goddess of Compassion by Maya Van Der Meer. illus. by Wen Hsu. Bala Kids. ISBN 9781611807998. 
K-Gr 2–Miao Shin is a princess who prefers to spend her days meditating. Her soothing presence is a calming force for her younger sister Princess Ling. Ling is also worried for her sister who will not marry one of the suitors their father has selected, which will inspire his wrath. A beautifully illustrated retelling for younger readers of the Buddhist Bodhisattva Kuan Yin.

Princess Unlimited by Jacob Sager Weinstein. illus. by Raissa Figueroa. Clarion. ISBN 9781328904744. 
PreS-K–Princess Susan’s kingdom is under attack by a fierce dragon. Princess Susan, frustrated while speaking to her parents who simply gaze in handheld mirrors, gets a job to make money and befriends a scullery maid, Eleanor. They save the kingdom without fighting, instead using the sparkly dust Susan detests and creative problem-solving; Susan considers what the dragon wants, as well as the people. 


Transitional Books

Moana’s Story Collection (Disney Princess) by Susan Amerikaner & adapted by Melissa Lagonegro, Jennifer Liberts & Mary Tillworth. Random. ISBN 9780736443609. 
PreS-Gr 1–A single volume containing five easy-to-read stories based on Disney’s Moana. The collection begins with an introduction to the characters, including Gramma Tala and Moana’s mother, Sina, and then moves on to the stories, such as how Moana rescued Pua and how silly HeiHei the rooster almost lost the gift Moana made for her dad. Moana fans will enjoy interacting with the storybook version of the beloved film. 

Shark Princess by Nidhi Chanani. illus. by Nidhi Chanani. Viking. ISBN 9780593464601. 
Gr 1-3–Kitana and Mack are best shark friends. Though they are vastly different, this does not hinder their friendship. Kitana has dubbed herself a shark princess, and when Mack joins her game, he doubts whether he can be a shark princess, too.

Perfect Princess Pets! (Disney Princess: Palace Petsadapted by Lauren Clauss and Amy Sky Koster. Random. ISBN 9780736443371. 
PreS-Gr 1–Budding readers will delight in this collection of stories about princesses and their cute, cuddly companions that includes “Rapunzel’s Perfect Pony,” “Ariel’s Brave Kitten,” and more. This anthology offers readers a glimpse into each royal’s life from her pet’s point of view. The perfect pick for princess enthusiasts who are learning to read.

I Am Mighty: An Acorn Book by Kelly Greenawalt. illus. by Amariah Rauscher. Scholastic. (Princess Truly: Bk. 6). ISBN 9781338818833.
K-Gr 2–Spunky Princess Truly, of the magical puffball pigtails, continues her adventures in this illustrated early reader. Three stories show Truly working and imagining her way through physical challenges, engineering problems, and the possibility of failure.

Tiana’s Kind Pony (Disney Princess: Palace Petsby Amy Sky Koster. illus. by various. Random. ISBN 9780736490283.
Gr 1-3–Princess Tiana is overjoyed when she receives Bayou, a pony, as a gift. They become fast friends as they spend time together at a parade, visiting friends, and going to Tiana’s Palace. When Louis, the palace’s trumpet player, goes missing, Bayou and Lily the cat go searching.


Chapter Books and Middle Grade

Heroes by Jen Calonita. Sourcebooks. (Royal Academy Rebels: Bk. 3). ISBN 9781492651345.
Gr 3-7–Princess Devin is back again in the third installment of the “Royal Academy Rebels” series. This book is fast-paced, and the world that Calonita keeps building upon is fun and engaging. It is recommended that readers approach this one having read the first two books, as it will aid in understanding references to past events, character arcs, and worldbuilding.  

The Mammoth Adventure by Philippa Gregory. illus. by Chris Chatterton. HarperCollins. (The Princess Rules: Bk. 3). ISBN 9780008492281. 
Gr 3-6–Princess Florizella is back for more adventure in this third installment of the series. This mischievous and delightful tale by the acclaimed Gregory would be a shoe-in for a classroom read aloud. Suggest to readers who have graduated from Nancy E. Krulik’s “Princess Pulverizer” series and are looking for similarly empowering stories.

The Princess Revolt by Cathy O’Neill. S. & S./Aladdin. (Unraveled: Bk. 1). ISBN 9781534497740. 
Gr 4-7–When 13-year-old Cia finds herself no longer needing to sleep, she tracks down Madam Fredepia, fortune teller and sleep whisperer. To her astonishment, Cia learns Madam Fredepia placed a fairy-tale counterspell on her when she was an infant. Cia becomes desperate to break the spell before her friends are injured and a league of irate princesses take her down in order to restore their perpetual Happily Ever Afters. 

Solimar by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 9781484728352. 
Gr 3-6–Solimar is turning 15, preparing to have her quinceañera and be crowned as princess of San Gregorio. Her older brother, Campeó, is the heir apparent to the kingdom, though he doesn’t wish to be. Meanwhile, her parents, the king and queen, are in danger from the neighboring king who wishes to take their land. The story is rich with vibrant imagery, suspense, and humor.

Swan Lake: Quest for the Kingdoms by Rey Terciero. illus. by Megan Kearney. HarperAlley. ISBN 9780062941480. 
Gr 4-8–One of the most popular ballets of all time gets an epic graphic novel retelling. The kingdoms of Bloom and Rotbart have been on the brink of war for ages thanks to a curse cast upon Princess Odette, which causes her to transform into a swan every morning and back into a girl at nightfall. Readers who love high-stakes quests will fly through this one.



Feather and Flame by Livia Blackburne. Disney-Hyperion. (Queen’s Council: Bk. 2). ISBN 9781368048224. 
Gr 8 Up–The Emperor of China needs an heir, and there is only one person he trusts. Shortly after her ascension to Crown Princess is announced, the Emperor dies, leaving Mulan half-educated and entirely overwhelmed, surrounded by ministers who wish to take her throne for themselves. Mulan must fight a different kind of war to save China, and she is more than up to the task. 

A Thousand Heartbeats by Keira Cass. HarperTeen. ISBN 9780062665782. 
Gr 6 Up–Annika, a princess who has lived a comfortable life, and whose once loving father has now grown cold, is being forced into an arranged marriage to solidify the kingdom’s security. Meanwhile, Lennox, a soldier from an opposing kingdom, has lived with the bare minimum and has devoted himself to the Dahrainian Army. Once these two cross paths, a love ignites and sets events into motion that will change their lives forever.

 Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Flatiron. ISBN 9781250766601. 
Gr 8 Up–Izumi, a Japanese American high school student, has a pretty average life. Her father’s identity has always been a mystery her mother has refused to discuss, beyond saying that he was simply a one-night stand in college. One day Izumi accidentally learns his name. Her friend researches the name and everything starts spiraling...until Izumi is in Japan with the knowledge that her father is the Crown Prince.

 Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. Knopf. ISBN 9780593300916. 
Gr 7 Up–Princess Shiori’anma, the youngest child and only daughter of the Emperor of Kiata, and her six older brothers have been cursed and banished—her brothers doomed to transform into six cranes by day, while Shiori is rendered unrecognizable and warned that for every word she utters, one of her brothers will die. Shiori must summon every ounce of grit and resourcefulness she possesses to survive, track down her brothers, and solve the mystery of their curse.

The Lady or the Lion by Aamna Qureshi. CamCat. ISBN 9780744303445. 
Gr 9 Up–With Marghazar opening its borders, crown princess Durkhanai is determined to put aside her sheltered life and demonstrate her resourcefulness as next in line for the throne, including finding proof her grandfather, the Badshah, is innocent of an attack on a summit of neighboring leaders. A clever twist on a classic tale, this is one to purchase for library shelves as readers will be eager to know what happens next.

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