You can still enter to win a copy of My Garden by Kevin Henkes (the August author for the Virtual Book Club for Kids), but hurry!! Time is running out!
Sharing Saturday is also still open for you to share your child-oriented crafts and activities, or stop by just to be inspired!
It feels like it has been awhile since I have had a Multicultural Monday post. Today I would like to share a wonderful book that Hazel chose from the library awhile ago.
Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman is apparently another book in a series of them. Grace is a young girl who loves the idea of being a princess. When an opportunity arises to be a princess on a float in a parade, Grace asks her grandmother to make her a dress (before she knows whether she is chosen). Her grandmother asks her what she would like the dress to look like and what princesses do all day. After some help from her teacher Grace and her class discover princesses like Princess Amina of Zaria, Princess Pingyang of China, Princess Anastasia of Montenegro, and Princess Noor Anayat Khan. To the entire class these princesses sound much more exciting than the storybook princess they knew. I mean warriors, spies and more--true adventure.
Now, I know I did not know anything about most of these princesses, so I did a little research on-line for you. I have to say I love that it introduces our children to a different breed of princess than the ones that wear ball gowns all the time and drink tea. Now mind you, Hazel saw the cover and picked this book because of the ball gown and tiara Grace is wearing on the cover. However we both enjoyed reading it and learning more about real life princesses.
Princess Amina of Zaria (now a province in Nigeria). Her mother Queen Bakwa Turunku built the capital Zazzau at Zaria (named for her youngest daughter) in the sixteenth century. Princess Amina was her oldest daughter and apparently inherited her mother's warlike nature. Princess Amina is credited to have created the strong earthen fortification walls around the city and the captured cities. It is said she made war on cities until her kingdom reached the sea in the south and the west. Source
Princess Pingyang of China also was a great war hero. In 617 her father Li Yuan had decided to attack the emperor who had imprisoned him. He sent word to his daughter and her husband, Chai to come to a safe place. Chai worried that it would not be easy for them to travel safely together. Pingyang insisted he go first since it would be easier for a woman to hide than a man. She stayed on and eventually distributed her wealth to the needy which bought their support for her father's cause. Basically she began her own army with the people she helped. Others offered them food and drink when they saw them since they viewed them as a group that would save them. Eventually she and Chai set up separate headquarters as generals and her army became known as "the army of the lady." Eventually the emperor yielded his throne to Li Yuan and he made Pingyang a princess and bestowed much honor upon her, much more than his other eighteen daughters. When she died she was given a military funeral. Source
Princess Anastasia of Montenegro is the only one of which I had previously heard. She was born a Russianprincess however when the last czar was thrown out of Russia, her family had to flee the country for safety. She and her second husband briefly stayed in Italy with her sister who was queen there and then left for France where they lived the remainder of their lives. Source
Princess Noor Anayat Khan was the great-great-great-granddaughter of Tipu Sultan, the Muslim ruler of Mysore. She eventually becomes a spy for the British Army during World War II. She was the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France. Since her family had moved between France and Britain during her life she spoke both English and French fluently and this was extremely helpful in becoming a spy in a time when most women would not be considered. She went against her father's Pacifist beliefs and joined the army to fight the Nazi. She was praised for flawless transmissions. In October she was betrayed and captured. After trying to escape with others she was sent in chains and solitary confinement at Pforzheim Prison in Germany in November 1942. There she was beaten and abused, but she never talked. In September 1944 she was sent to Dachau to be killed. Source
Another interesting topic brought up in Princess Grace is that many cultures have similar fairy tales. Rhodopis is mentioned. In Princess Grace it is said to be the Egyptian version of Cinderella. With the help of Wikipedia I see it is considered the oldest version of Cinderella. How much fun it would be to compare our versions with versions around the world.