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I’ve been reading middle grade books all month. Last week, I started reading Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. And—oh my goodness—I fell in love with it.
As I posted about it, I realized that one of my childhood friends would love this book too. It’s exactly the type of story the two of us would binge read side-by-side when we were kids. (When she moved away to a different city, we would get together for weekend visits and read beside each other, that’s how bookish we were/still are.) So, I sent her a message about the book, and she replied telling me how much she loved Shannon Hale’s books.
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And that got me thinking—I love Shannon Hale’s books too! So many of her stories are about girls who overcome their fears to stand up for themselves or to help others. What if I wrote a blog post all about different books she has written to give folks ideas of books to read with their family?
In a time when almost all of us are stuck at home practicing social distancing (thanks COVID-19), a lot of families are looking for ways to fill their days. And some of these books would be awesome for families to read together.
While it’s not recommended to go out shopping right now, lots of bookstores are offering free shipping during the pandemic and many libraries have online catalogues of ebooks that are still accessible.
Books the Whole Family Will Enjoy: Shannon Hale Edition
The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale
In this chapter book for early readers, we meet Princess Magnolia. At first glance she seems to be a dainty princess, but then the monster alarm rings and she becomes the Princess in Black—a monster-battling hero.
This is the first book in a series called The Princess in Black. The books are aimed at readers aged approximately 5-8.
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale
In this graphic novel, Rapunzel teams up with Jack (“of beanstalk fame”) in this wild west reimagining of the classic fairytale. It’s said to be a hilarious read.
This is the first book in a series; the sequel is called Calamity Jack. The books are aimed at readers aged approximately 11-13.
Real Friends by Shannon Hale
In this graphic memoir, Shannon shares a childhood experience with friendship. When her best friend Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in school, Shannon isn’t sure where she fits anymore. The Group of popular girls all want to be Jen’s bestie, and some of them will bully others to raise their own status. And for Shannon, that’s a really hard place to be.
This is the first book in a series called Real Friends. The books are aimed at readers aged approximately 8-11.
Diana: Princess of the Amazons by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
In this graphic novel, eleven-year-old Diana isn’t Wonder Woman yet. She’s the only child on Themyscira and while having so many aunties is wonderful, she’d really like a friend her own age. When she tries to take matters into her own hands, things don’t go quite the way she expects.
This book is aimed at readers aged approximately 8-10.
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
In this middle grade novel, Miri and all the girls from her remote mountain village are taken away to a princess training program. There’s a prophecy that the next princess will be from their village, but never before has a girl from the mountains been crowned. All the other princesses have been lowlanders, who are a people that look down on the folks from the mountain.
This is the first book in a series called Princess Academy. These books are aimed at readers aged approximately 9-13.
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
In this middle grade novel, Shannon Hale reimagines Grimm’s classic goose girl fairytale. Ani can speak to animals, but has difficult talking to people. As crown princess, she travels to a new kingdom to marry a prince, but her lady-in-waiting tricks everyone into thinking she is the princess. Ani becomes a goose girl for the foreign king, and has to harness her talents to retake her rightful place and care for her people.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
This is the first book in a series called The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. The books are aimed at readers aged approximately 11-13.
The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
In this middle grade novel, children of fairytale characters go to a boarding school to prepare to fulfill their destinies. They have to sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their fates. But Raven, the daughter of the Evil Queen doesn’t want to be evil and give Apple White a poisoned apple. Can she rewrite her story?
This is the first book in a series called Ever After High. The books are aimed at readers aged approximately 9-13.
Austenland by Shannon Hale
In this adult novel, Jane Hayes’ obsession with Mr. Darcy (the BBC Colin Firth version, of course) has completely ruined her love life. But when she gets an all-expenses-paid trip to an English resort for Jane Austen fans, things start to look up. Clad in empire-waist gowns and trying to get a handle on regency etiquette, the immersive experience challenges and thrills her, and she might just have found a Darcy of her own. This is the first book in a series called Austenland. The books are aimed at readers 14 and up.
And there you have it! A whole bunch of great stories about brave and helpful girls, for reader of all ages. Some of these books are great for young readers to read on their own, others are fantastic read-alouds for the whole family, and Austenland is great for more mature readers.
Have you read any books by Shannon Hale? What did you think?