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- Written by By Ava and Amanda
Ah, the sweet nostalgia of Disney Princesses and the hope for more diverse characters. While we pine for the live-action remakes, here are five YA books to read that the diverse Disney Princesses would definitely endorse!
1. Jasmine endorses LOVE, HATE, AND OTHER FILTERS
Modern Jasmine would totally relate to Maya Aziz, an Indian-American Muslim whose parents want her to marry an eligible bachelor (ahem, Jafar). But Maya is secretly in love with another boy—a boy she knows her parents would never approve of. But when the terrorist attack of 9/11 kills hundreds, Maya and her parents are subject to prejudice for being Muslim.
2. Pocahontas endorses MARCH TOWARDS THE THUNDER
As Pocahontas tries to find peace between her family and the Englishmen, Louis Nolette, a fifteen-year-old Abenaki Indian from Canada, fights for the rights of African Americans from an outside perspective. After he is recruited to the northern Irish brigade, despite not being Irish, American, or of age, he begins to see the true meaning of war, and how much needs to be fought to bring peace. Louis starts to realize what he’s truly fighting for - and it’s not for wages.
3. Mulan endorses THE KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX
Although this book is a retelling of Snow White’s fairytale, the kickass but sweet heroine, Princess Jade, reminds us of Mulan’s many adventures and great feats! The evil Empress Xifeng cares more about the shade of her lips than her subjects, causing the kingdom to fall into poverty and starvation. Join Jade as she ventures into the unknown to summon the Dragon God, who could defeat the Serpent Lord—and in turn, Empress Xifeng.
**note--TKOtBP is a sequel to FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS, but the sequel can be read without the first book (though we wholeheartedly recommend FoaTL!)
4. Tiana endorses AKATA WITCH
Tiana is hardworking and independent, and nothing will stop her from achieving her goal, to open her restaurant. Although Sunny is twelve, she experiences struggles living in Aba, Nigeria after being born in New York. Her skin is sensitive to the sun with being albino, and she wishes to do things other kids could do. After making friends with Orlu and ChiChi, she goes to the world of the Leopard people, where your greatest asset. Her story of overcoming and hard work is a must read for all.
5. Moana endorses WILDEFIRE
Moana’s spirited nature and the ability to be self-sufficient mirrors the strong personality of Ashline Wilde. Looking to start over after unspeakable violence, Blackwood Academy seems like a fresh place to start over. However, after finding out that she is secretly a Polynesian goddess, she must find herself to stop the perilous danger arriving at the school.
Teen Advisory Board Member Alannah Reviews The Goose Girl
The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern) by Shannon Hale
Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, was born with the word of another language on her tongue, though she didn’t know it. Her aunt helped her to taste it, teaching her the speech of songbirds and the graceful swans in the palace pond, until one day she left for the mountains, never to return. And though she misses her aunt, Ani is contented with her life, in spite of others’ whispers of the strange, quiet princess who speaks to the birds.
But everything turns upside-down the day that she learns that her brother Caleb is to inherit the throne instead of her, and that she is to wed the unknown prince of Kildenree’s enormous neighboring kingdom, Bayern. Ani sets out with her lady in waiting, Selia, a company of Kildenree’s guards, and her beloved horse, Falada, with whom she can communicate.
However, halfway through the journey, treacherous Selia convinces the guards to turn on Ani and present Selia as the bride-to-be instead. Forced to flee for her life, Ani takes on the name Isi and tends the palace geese in the guise of a peasant girl. But the awkward, fractious geese are nothing like the swans that Ani is accustomed to, the danger of discovery lurks around every corner, and Ani’s newfound relationship with the handsome guard Geric threatens to bring her secrets to the tip of her tongue. How can Ani prove herself the true princess?
Shannon Hale reimagines the classic Grimm’s tale in a beautiful, enchanting story of courage and love. Ani is the sort of heroin that readers simply cannot help falling in love with, and any reader will be able to relate to the trials faced by the shy young princess. This is an unforgettable read necessary for fans of fantasy, first love, and exquisitely retold fairytales. But reader be warned: Once you read this book, you may never see the original tale of The Goose Girl the same way ever again.
-Review written by Alannah, Age 14
Find Goose Girl and the companion novels in stores or online.