Skip to content

How to parent smarter not harder.

View all articles

Thinking Parenting Blog

Books for raising confident girls

Little girls often have a bit of a thing about princesses. Which can be a problem if your aim is to raise your daughter to believe she can be anything she wants to be (rather than encouraging her to sit around looking pretty and helpless until rescued by a handsome prince). But fairy tale princesses don’t have to be pathetic, it all depends on the story.

Here is my selection of books for 2-6 year olds that feature sassy princesses, with attitude and intelligence, perfect for empowering your little girls.

*This post contains affiliate links

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink

This might be a little bit American for UK readers, but I love the rhyming in this book and it’s clear focus on the idea that it is ok for girls to wear whatever they want – whether that is crowns or football boots! Given how much attention is paid to little girls’ physical appearance and general prettiness, Not all princesses dress in pink (Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple) is a good antidote.

Don’t Kiss the Frog!: Princess Stories with Attitude

Don’t kiss the frog is an anthology of stories which aim to push the envelope when it comes to little girls’ thinking. Some of the stories are more progressive than others (there are a few too many happy-ever-after marriages to princes for my taste) and there are still lots of gender stereotypes, for sure. But it is a lot better than your usual princess fare and a great book for sparking questions and conversations.

Do princesses wear hiking boots?

I love the contemporary feel of the little girl in this board book (despite the slightly old fashioned illustrations) and its core message that it is who we are on the inside that matters most. Do princesses wear hiking boots? (by Carmela LaVigna Coyle) is ideal for younger girls (2-4 years) and is part of a series which also includes Do princesses scrape their knees? and Do princesses really kiss frogs?

Princess Smartypants

Princess Smartypants is a very independent-minded princess who doesn’t stick to conventions. She neatly subverts traditional fairy tale plots by taking control and outwitting her princely suitors. When all is said and done, this is still a story about a pretty thin woman looking for her ideal man, but nevertheless a fun and empowering read. And if you like the first Princess Smartypants (by Babette Cole), there is a whole series to explore.

The Paper Bag Princess

Every little girl should be read this book! It’s funny, well-written, with great illustrations and a powerful message that princesses (aka women in general) can be resourceful and resilient and do not have to put up with rubbish from their princes! Choose the paperback version (not the board book) for the full story. The Paper Bag Princess is by Robert Munsch.

If your daughter is struggling with friendships, you might want to try these Books for helping children manage friendship problems. Got an older daughter (7yrs+)? Then check out the Courageous Princess stories for sassy role models for older girls or these Best brave novels to inspire teenage girls.

*This is not a sponsored post – these are all books that I personally recommend. It does however contain affiliate links which means that if you click through and buy the book I will receive a small fee (see Disclosure Notice for more info).

Share this article:

The Work/Parent Switch.

By Anita Cleare

Not sure where to start?

Practical tips on how to be the parent your child needs and create happy family dynamics (but still do your job!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

photo of pile of books

My 2021 top picks for thought-provoking books

I get sent a lot of books by publishers to review but I don’t always get a chance to put them on the blog. I enjoy reading (when I find the time!), so I also buy a lot of books. To spread the...

montage of gender inclusive books for tweens and teens

Gender inclusive books for tweens and teens

It is so important that children and teens read books that include a diverse array of characters – so that they can find themselves and their own thoughts represented in positive ways. And...

montage of books for teaching children about sex

Top 10 books for teaching children about sex

Talking to children about bodies and bits and how they fit together isn’t always easy. The earlier you start and the more relaxed you are about it, the easier it will be (see Talking to...

photos of book covers with play ideas for busy parents in article by parenting expert Anita Cleare

Play ideas for busy parents

Let’s face it, the pandemic has been more than a little challenging for working parents with young children. What with homeschooling and lockdowns and blurred boundaries between work and home,...