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I’m Going to be a Princess

Authored by Stephanie Taylor
Illustrated by Jade Orlando
Published by Nosy Crow Ltd

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The idea of being a fairy tale princess is still an enchanting one for many children. This book’s subtitle, A story about Inspirational Black Women and Girls, aims to undo gender and cultural stereotypes by introducing some strong, clever, Black women who rose to the top in a variety of careers. It also includes a princess.

Maya races out of school and enthusiastically proclaims her ambition to be a princess. Mum has other hopes for her ‘bold, brave girl’. As they walk home, she gently suggests some other career aspirations. She tells her daughter about some Black women who have striven and succeeded in their chosen fields: brain surgeon Alexa Candy, dancer Misty Copeland, athlete Alice Coachman, rocket scientist Annie Easley. Maya listens impressed but insists that a princess is what she wants to be. Mum begins to look a little disappointed. The twist comes when Maya reveals she has been inspired by ‘Princess Amina, a warrior princess from about five hundred years ago, who became a ruler of the Zazzau Kingdom in West Africa’.

This book conveys its message in a gentle, relatable way. Many children will identify with Maya. Reading this story would be a great way to begin a conversation about future aspirations and learn about inspiring women. The information about the women is clear and age appropriate – just enough to spark interest and imagination. The bright, colourful illustrations paint an appealing picture of Maya and Mum’s walk home and perfectly portray the loving, supportive relationship between them.

I’m Going to be a Princess is an ideal book for a more diverse and inclusive classroom book corner. Teachers might like to use it as a springboard for learning during Black History month and it would inspire, inform and entertain children all year round.

Nominated for the Spark Book Awards 2024 Picture Fiction for Early Readers Category