What princesses are empowering girls?

I’m not a huge fan of the stereotypical Disney princess who just waits around for her prince charming to come along and fix her problems. I’m looking at you Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Granted, the movie industry and authors have been branching out and finding new stories with princesses who take control of their futures. These are the princesses empowering girls today to write their own stories.

One of my favorite things about Princess Academy is the girls stepping up and make their own choices. I also love how they lift each other up to become the best princess while mixing up the story so it doesn’t fit the typical fairy-tale mold. Each of the books below is unique in its portrayal of princesses in a positive light as they each go on their own adventures. Some of these “princesses” aren’t actually princesses at all, just like the girls in Princess Academy, but they accomplish amazing things as they fight dragons, trolls, and traitors.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate. If you click on a link and decide to buy something I will get pennies for referring you. This in no way changes the price for you. It just helps me make a bit for doing what I love.

1. Ella Enchanted

The story is Ella Enchanted is similar to Cinderella with one huge difference. Ella must obey when someone gives her a command. With a new step-mom and terribly step-sisters, her life is about to change. She meets Prince Char but their romance is very different from what the movie portrayed. You’ll have to read it to find out!

This book is a great one to read aloud as a family or in a classroom. This book is fantastic at empowering girls to focus on their strengths instead of the bad things happening around them. For more information about Ella Enchanted, check out this link. You can find a copy of it on Amazon here.

2. Beastly

In Beastly, the beloved story of Beauty and the Beast is transported to a New York City high school. Kyle Kingsbury obsesses over his looks and is always smiling for the audience. After showing his cruel side at a dance, Kyle is transformed into a beast with only one way out. He has to fall in love with someone, and they have to love him in return within two years. 15-year-old Kyle has to sort out his priorities and learn the inside counts a lot more than appearances.

Beastly is a great contemporary rendition of Beauty and the Beast with a great twist to it. Really, any of Alex Flinn’s books are great for empowering girls. To learn more about Beastly check out the Parent Guide. Check out this link to get your own copy.

3. Dragon Slippers

Creel is no damsel in distress! Most stories are about fair maidens who are stolen away by dragons waiting for a knight to come and save them, but not Creel. Her aunt sacrifices her to the local dragon so a knight will marry her. But Creel is used to doing things her own way. She talks her way out of one dragon’s lair and starts walking to the city with only some thread and an interesting pair of slippers. Little does she know, her slippers are magic and have the power to save or destroy the kingdom.

Dragon Slippers is the first book of three books about Creel’s adventures. Creel is definitely a take charge, and save herself kind of princess. For more about Creel’s story, check out this post. If you want your own copy you can find it here on Amazon.

4. Book of a Thousand Days

Dashti is Lady Saren’s maid and only company, while shut in a tower for seven years because Saren refuses to marry an evil man. While the girls battle the cold and rats, both of Lady Saren’s suitors show up—one is good, the other not so much. This story is filled with adventure, disguise, and romance.

Book of a Thousand Days is Dashti’s journal and a collection of sketches from their adventures. Dashti is in a hard situation because of the people around her but she makes the most of it. This story is a mixture of Rapunzel and a lot of original ideas. For more about her story check out this post. If you are having a hard time finding this book you can get it here.

5. The Goose Girl

This is the story of Princess Anidora-Kilandra Tatianna Isilee, a crown princess who learns how to speak to birds from her Aunt. Years later, this knowledge helps her when the title of Crown Princess is taken from her. Now, she works as a goose girl and has to stop a war.

This definitely one of my favorites and is the first of four in The Books of Bayern series. Every book in the series is about empowering girls to discover their talents and use them for good. For more about this amazing book check out the Parent Guide! You can find it on Amazon and at most public libraries.

6. Dealing with Dragons

Princess Cimorene is sixteen and doesn’t like being a princess. She would much rather be practicing sword fighting or conjugating Latin verbs than embroidering and curtsying. So she runs away to a bunch of dragons and volunteers to help them. She enjoys living with a dragon until the princes start showing up trying to save her and she has to drive them away. In the process, she meets witches and wizards and uncovers a plot to destroy the Enchanted Forest.

This is the first book of the Enchanted Forest Series. I got these books as a present when I was nine or ten and loved them! They are great for someone transitioning to chapter books. To learn more about Dealing with Dragons and the rest of the Enchanted Forest Series check out the Parent Guide. Here is where you can find this book and the entire series on Amazon.

7. The Princess Spy

Margaretha’s latest suitor, Lord Clayton, is just like the rest, not romantic and not her other half. But Colin, an injured English man, brings new information about her suitor and asks her to spy on him. Her spying uncovers a wicked plot that sends her on the run with Colin as they try to come up with a plan to save her family.

This isn’t a retelling of a fairytale. Instead, it is a tale of intrigue. The Princess Spy is empowering girls to use what they have, like quick wits, to save the day. For more about this Christian romance check out the Parent Guide. You can find this book and the rest of the series on Amazon or at other booksellers.

8. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

Based on a Nordic fairy-tale, with a hint of Beauty and the Beast, comes the tale of the woodcutter’s daughter. The lass has agreed to go with a great white bear and live in his castle for a year. In exchange, her family receives untold riches. Even though she has every luxury, the lass feels more like a prisoner than a guest. As she tries to find the truth behind the mysterious castle, she accidentally stumbles into something that will take her to the edge of the earth to free her love. For more information about this book check out the Parent Guide. You can find this book on Amazon and many other booksellers.

9. The Princess and the Hound

Prince George loves and is deeply connected to animals. However, his forbidden animal magic makes his life difficult, as he tried to balance court expectations with his love for animals. When his kingdom must join with another, he meets Princess Beatrice, one isolated from all except her hound. Both are stubborn and proud, but can they find love and break a curse?

This is a twist on Beauty and the Beast where the beast is actually a woman. Check out the Parent Guide for more suggestions similar to The Princess and the Hound. Here is where you can find it on Amazon.

10. Cinder

Everyone loves a good Cinderella story but Marissa Meyer stepped it up in Cinder. It is set in a futuristic world and Cinder is a cyborg mechanic who meets the prince by chance. The prince is being coerced into marrying someone else with a cure to a deadly plague sweeping the world. With a mysterious past, Cinder gets caught up in the middle of an intergalactic struggle, but there is something unusual about her that she must keep secret because others would kill her if it got out.

This is a high-speed, high-action book empowering girls. Every step of the way, Cinder writes her own story instead of being a pawn for others. This is the first of four books. Each book has a different princess, but all of them work together to get their happily ever after. Here is a link to Cinder’s Parent Guide, and the post I wrote about the series. You can find copies of both the book and the series on Amazon, or at your local library.

More Books For Empowering Girls

Favorite books that aren’t the stereotypical read can be hard to come by. When I sit down to read I want a good princess story, but one where she is the hero. I want to go on a new adventure with situations and people I have never thought of. I hope that this list can help break up a reading slump or help you find your new favorite author. Don’t worry, it’s okay to have many favorite authors and book, or for your favorite to change on a weekly basis (mine does and continues to).

Just remember, at the end of the day you have to go out and live your own adventure just like these princesses did. If you have read every book on this list, congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment. Contact me for more book recommendations or check out my favorite books on my about page!

What is your favorite book about a princess, and why? I can’t wait to see your responses.

Happy Reading!

Emily