Fridays are dedicated to some of my favorite black and brown children’s book characters. I have been a teacher for about ten years and a reader for about 30 or so years; therefore, I am reasonably familiar with the lack of diversity within children’s literature. Oddly, I do not recall being concerned about diverse characters because I think I have just accepted that seeing myself in a children’s book was not realistic. However, after my niece’s “obsession” with the Disney characters, Elsa and Anna of Frozen, I dedicated time to filling her bookshelf with characters of color. She preferred Elsa’s long blonde braid over her frizzy, black curls. Enter Princess Truly.
Created by Kelly Greenawalt, an adoptive mother from Houston, TX, Princess Truly has magical afro puffs, a purple tulle skirt, a black and white striped shirt, with green sneakers. She is a girl who recognizes the power she possesses and is not afraid to share her strength with the world. Truly being a princess is why I knew my niece would adore reading about her adventures.
Greenawalt found motivation to create Princess truly because she noticed a “critical shortage of books featuring smart and capable princesses, especially those with gorgeous natural puffy curls.” (www.kellygreenawalt.com, 2020)
I appreciate Truly’s boldness, spunk, and creativity. The book covers are inviting. The illustrations are soft and appealing. The text is easy to read, encouraging those early readers and even those slightly more advanced. Once Greenawalt introduced us to Truly and her Magical Curls, we are taken along for her adventures in Acorn Readers – The Off I Go, I Can Build It, and I am Super Girl!. (Acorn Readers, offered by Scholastic, are level based readers that help students gain reading confidence.)
Images of the young boy who touch President Barak Obama’s hair in the Oval Office, the young girl who lovingly admired the portraits of the Obamas by Kehnide Wiley and Amy Sherald, and the viral videos of the little girls watching Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s victory speech are why representation and diversity matter.
Princess Truly and her curls are an excellent addition to your child’s growing library. She can be found on the shelves at your local Target or ordered from scholastic.com.
Give love. Get love.