No, The Princess Academy is not another princess book. Well it is, but not that kind of princess book. In this Newberry Honor book, the main character does not get the Prince, while education--both mental and emotional-- are shown to be of utmost importance, and family is treasured.
Miri is often overlooked and feels unimportant. Then when the kingdom decides to hold a "Bachelor" like contest to see who gets to marry the prince (with the smartest girl winning), she and all the other girls of their rural village are forcefully sent to a Princess Academy to get an education, learn diplomacy, deportment and a host of other things. Though the competition sometimes gets catty, friendship and respect are learned, and education (NOT the prince) is shown to be the most valuable takeaway. Miri finds value in just being herself, as she is the one who is able to bring different types of people together for good, saves the other girls from danger, and ensures the future of her village.
This book is delightfully funny, sharp witted, thought provoking and sweet. I have personally met the author Shannon Hale, and it is no wonder her books are winning awards and making best seller lists everywhere. Her intelligence, wit and goodness stand out on every level. I fully recommend all of her YA books, not only for children, but adults as well!
Family Discussion Guide:
-Why does Miri feel her father doesn't love her?
-What benefits did Miri gain from her education?
-How did her education help others?
-How did Miri act as a peacemaker?
-How did she come to discover and value her unique talents?
-Why was Miri not interested in marrying the prince?
-As boys and girls spend time with each other, what do you think should come first, romance or friendship? Why?
Community Question: Which Shannon Hale book is your favorite?
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