> Bless Their Hearts Mom: History Corner / Book Review: Reluctant Princesses by Jason Porath
Thursday, October 20, 2016

History Corner / Book Review: Reluctant Princesses by Jason Porath

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge,from Dey Street books, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it, all opinions are my own.  

And now for something different for History Corner!

rejected princesses cover


Illustrated in a contemporary animation style, Rejected Princesses turns the ubiquitous “pretty pink princess” stereotype portrayed in movies, and on endless toys and, books and tutus on its head, paying homage instead to an awesome collection of strong, fierce, and yes, sometimes weird, women: warrior queens, soldiers, villains, spies, revolutionaries, and more who refused to behave and meekly accept their place. 

An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas. 

A fun and informative look at girl power, Rejected Princesses offers a new kind of role model and makes clear that women have been kicking ass for eons—and always will. 

rejected princesses tag line


This book evolved from the runaway hit of a website, Rejected Princesses,  Jason was working at DreamWorks Animation, and joked with his co-workers about movie princesses, who weren't good role models, and one evolved into “who is the least likely woman to ever get the animated princess treatment?” After going back and forth, they came up with some great ideas, that he knew he had to illustrate, so he did. And soon after putting them online on Facebook, he got about 150 more answers and soon the whole concept went viral, they went viral and a blog was born! 

The book is aimed at kids and adults, ages 12 and up. Here is what Jason says about the book:  
Younger readers could enjoy most of it, but you'd probably want to read it with them. There's harsh material at the very end, but every entry has content warnings and a maturity level. In terms of US movie ratings, it's probably 35% PG60% PG-135% R. This isn't a book to censor history or try to put a pretty spin on things, but it also doesn't get explicit regularly or without reason. Having read through the book, I'd say that is a VERY accurate rating!

The entries are short, and as you can see, the illustrations are lovely, and engaging enough to draw in any kid raised on Disney princesses! I love how the entries all include REAL history, so as a homeschooling mom, I know what to pull in, if adding the women to my curriculum. In fact, Jason actually has not 1, but 2 lessons plans on the website (aimed at high schoolers)! They can give you some ideas on how to make a simple one for the 'Rejected Princesses', that you want to cover in your home history class!

Grainne "Grace O'Malley" ni Mhaille illustration

The one's that Miss Grace really enjoyed were:

Grainne "Grace O'Malley" ni Mhaille (aka Granuaile) (1530-1603)- the Irish pirate queen who led decades of rebellions against England, met face-to-face with Elizabeth I, and got official license to continue her piracy.
Ka'ahumanu (c.1768-1832, Hawaii), who united Hawaii under one rule, abolished ancient taboos, and led negotiations with the fledgling United States.
Nellie Bly aka Elizabeth Cochran(1864-1922, United States)- Daring journalist who infiltrated insane asylums, exposed slavery rings, and raced around the world in under 80 days.

This is a GREAT book to learn about the women who were such key parts of history, but whom most textbook editors ignore! if you love history, you'll laugh and learn your way through this book! It is a super book to give over the holiday season to any history buff, homeschool mom, or mom of any girl , who wants to raise them to think outside the box, and break the rules! We can't recommend the book enough!

About the Author:

Jason Porath worked as an animator at DreamWorks Animation on many major features. A graduate of USC film school, he lives in Los Angeles, California.

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