Be The Hero

The promotional poster for my forthcoming book with Julie Morstad, This Is Sadie, makes me want to cry in the best possible way.  

In our story, Sadie is a little girl who likes to imagine herself right inside a story--in Julie Morstad's beautiful illustration, she actually dives right into a book. And what I hope for is that all children--boys and girls--feel free to imagine themselves as whoever they want to be in that fictional world, because that is, after all, a stepping stone to imagining yourself as whoever you want to be in the real world.

This image of the little girl on the horse makes me think of Elizabeth I and her Prince of England speech, which I love. Here's Cate Blanchett on her white steed.

All of this got me thinking about the whole idea of princes and princesses. Over at A Chair, A Fireplace, And a Tea Cozy, Liz Burns takes on what she calls "Princess Shaming" and avows the right of every child to play princess, read about princesses, and all that.  She's writing partly in reaction to this article on Slate, The Princess Trap which basically takes the position that girls who play at being princesses will never grow up to be scientists.

Really what we want, I suppose, is a world where girls can play at being princes or princess and boys are free to do the same.

Liz Burns quotes novelist Meg Cabot as saying: "the princess thing is amazing. It’s about standing up for what you believe in, protecting the people you love, and never letting the bad guys win. It’s about rescuing yourself, and yet risking your heart when you meet someone who seems worth giving it to."

And on those terms, I do agree. Be the hero of your adventure is all I really want to say.


kerry said…
Amazing! So excited about this book. And of two minds about the princess thing (which is probably a fine way to be). I struggle with this idea of "princess culture" and "the princess stage", as though these have always been *things*, when they're such a recent marketing invention. When I was little, no one had a "princess stage". (We were all too busy playing Orphanage anyway...). I also struggle with the narrowness of playing princess (which seems to involve buying copious amounts of mercy from the Disney store)—as Olivia asks in Olivia and the Fairy Princesses: "Why is is always a pink princess? There are options, you know." That said, play is important. Be the hero indeed. I think that both the pro and anti Princess set both have good intentions, and the point is that neither side should be undermining their little ones' freedom to imagine

Anyway, apparently I have strong feelings about this...
Sara O'Leary said…
Hi Kerry, Thanks for commenting. I had a feeling you might have feelings about this!
That Olivia and the Fairy Princesses is a good book to bring into the discussion--love Olivia and I think Ian Falconer is so smart about all that. There are indeed options.
So much is down to marketing these days and the princess thing does slot neatly into that whole boy's aisle/girl's aisle approach to books, toys and ultimately choices.
Given that the name Sarah means princess and that Sadie is a diminutive of that name (my grandmother's name), I guess I'm trying to sneak in a princess I can feel good about. The kind who is capable of rescuing herself if need be and the kind who can imagine herself into any story she may choose.
Kerry said…
Like children, like authors, I suppose. Kudos to all those who dare to dream (of princesses) outside the lines!! Sadie is wonderful.

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