Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman; Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu ( Scholastic, 2007)
"Grace had wanted to be a princess for as long as she could remember." This is the first line of the absolutely amazing book Princess Grace. Luckily for Grace she had a Grandma and mother who encouraged her to follow her dreams. Grace is over the moon when her school announces that not only will there be a queen in this year's parade but two princesses as well. The princesses will be picked from her class. Of course the little girls practiced their waves and bows in hopes of being picked, while the boys thought "being a Princess was boring." Grace runs home to tell her family about the parade but is confronted with a question from her Grandmother that she was not expecting. "You can be a princess as long as you tell me what a princess wears." This question confused Grace. On the advice of her Grandmother she asks her teacher for help. That is when he opinion of princesses start to change.
Grace starting seeing Princesses in a whole new light. They were not all found in pink, floral and frilly dresses. Some princesses were warriors, spy's and some were even athletes. Grace decided that she needed to challenge the picture of a princess so she convinced her class to enter a float in the parade that promoted all sorts of princesses (and princes).
What really made this book for me was the multicultural nature of the book. As you can tell by the cover, Grace is an African American girl. Her friends are Hispanic, English and Hindi. The teacher in the book encouraged Grace to research a subject that she felt strongly about and did not persuade her in on direction or the other while Grace was discussing what she was finding. This book is an excellent book to introduce perspective and to challenge stereotypes.
Intended audience: Grades 2-4