Diana: Princess of the Amazons

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
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Vibrant, gentle origin story shows Wonder Woman as tween.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows a bit about how origin stories are structured.

Positive Messages

Talk about your feelings rather than seek revenge when you're feeling angry. Spending time with the people you care about is important.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Diana's mom and aunts are supportive, kind, and forgiving -- and keep high expectations of her.

Violence & Scariness

Battles with cartoonish, age-appropriate aggression.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Diana: Princess of the Amazons, by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale (The Princess in Black) is a lovely entry to the world of Wonder Woman for readers too young for the more violent movies, TV shows, and graphic novels. The vibrant drawings are engaging, with soft tones making the cartoonish battle scenes less harsh and 11-year-old Diana's world more idyllic and diverse. The text is simple enough for emerging readers to master, and keeps the story moving quickly for more advanced readers. Diana's feelings are relatable to the age group: She's stuck between a kid and an adult, not easily fitting into either group, and confused about her place. 

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What's the story?

Life is idyllic but restless for the future Wonder Woman in DIANA: PRINCESS OF THE AMAZONS. No longer getting the constant attention she did as a baby but not yet old enough to be trained as a fighter, 11-year-old Diana is bored and lonely on the island of Themyscira. She tries to stretch her independence and do more, but the queen tells her she isn't living up to the Amazonian standards, making Diana doubt if she's truly an Amazon. After using magic to bring to life a friend she made out of clay, she makes a series of bad decisions that could open heavily guarded gates and release terrifying beasts into the Amazonian world -- and put Diana's Amazonian heritage to the test.

Is it any good?

This engaging graphic novel about the tween Wonder Woman is a great introduction to the world of DC characters for younger readers. Given the huge appetite for DC Comics and the quick criticism when a new version of an old favorite falls short, it's ambitious to take on a graphic novel for the 8-12 age group. Diana: Princess of the Amazons hits the sweet spot: It's complex enough to keep older readers' attention but gentle enough for younger ones, with bold, warm illustrations that stay true to earlier Wonder Woman comics, TV shows, and movies.

 The vocabulary won't be much of a challenge, but the great thing about graphic novels is the switch in readers' minds needed to connect the words to the pictures, to read the words but also to take in the visual. There's a bit of racial diversity among Diana's aunts, and the lessons Diana learns about trust, strength, and communication are clear but not overwhelming. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Mona has so much influence in Diana: Princess of the Amazons. How do you think you would've acted in Diana's position? Have you ever had a friend like that in your life?

  • Was anything truly missing in Diana's world, or was she just not looking for it?

  • What other books about superheroes have you read? Have you read any about young superheroes?

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