For every feminist whose offspring, niece, nephew, or favorite small child thrust upon them by wacky circumstances a la "every Vin Diesel comedy ever" is going through a princess phase, I come bearing news of your salvation: The kickass children's book The Princess Who Saved Herself . There's nothing wrong with children wanting to play princess — my parents are currently in possession of several photo albums full of photographic evidence of my own tutu-and-sparkly-tiara phase — but when songwriter Jonathan Coulton's daughter started getting really into the idea, he made the same discovery as millions of other parents before him: As awesome as the fluffy dresses and funny hats may be, there just aren't very many princess characters out there who make strong role models for little girls.
According to Cosmopolitan, Coulton first decided to combat princess culture by doing what he does best: writing a song about it. That song became "The Princess Who Saved Herself," a tune about a multiracial princess who lives with her pet snake and certainly doesn't need a prince to come rescue her. And if
Gloria Cheng Epstein Takahara de la Garza Champion sounds like your new favorite fictional character, you're not alone. The Kickstarter to create a children's book based on Coulton's song raised $111,759, which is more than $90,000 over their original goal of $50,000, BuzzFeed reports. Clearly, Coulton isn't the only parent dreaming of better role models for their kids.
<img alt="RealityTVGIFs animated GIF " src="http://media.giphy.com/media/7AZ7ZHoUoOVDW/giphy.gif" class="article-body-image"/>OK, maybe they're not quite that bad. Still, there is clearly a market ready and waiting for princesses books and toys that fall outside the "damsel in distress" trope, judging from the popularity of the similarly-themed Guardian Princesses series and Goldieblox. Like the Guardian Princesses books, The Princess Who Saved Herself "reinvents the princess myth for a new generation of proactive girls," according to the Kickstarter. According to Coulson, the story was in part due to his surprise at the lack of female characters as protagonists. "When you have a daughter, you suddenly realize how many stories are about boys," he told BuzzFeed. He also wanted a princess his daughter could look up to without crushing her independent spirit. "My daughter was also probably in a phase of insisting she could do everything by herself," he said. "So the character came from that, and sort of wanting that mindset to last forever."
According to co-author Greg Pak, Gloria Cheng Epstein Takahara de la Garza Champion turned out just as free-spirited as Coulton's daughter. "She’s not afraid to kick a dragon in the butt if she has to," he told BuzzFeed. "But in the end, she always finds her way to the compassionate solution to conflicts."
Coulton and Pak both hope that although princess culture is almost exclusively aimed at girls, the book will appeal to both genders, and that parents will read the book to male children as well. "Heck, I want to be like the princess when I grow up," Pak said.
If she's anywhere near as awesome as she sounds, I do too. The Princess Who Saved Herself is illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa, and it's available for pre-ordering through its Kickstarter.
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