The Paper Princess

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
The Paper Princess Book Poster Image
Gorgeously illustrated adventure fosters imagination.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Readers will learn about art-making processes and imagination.

Positive Messages

The Paper Princess offers positive messages about art, adventure, imaginative play, and independence. It also celebrates the idea of letting something go into the world and possibly receiving it again, even if in a different or an unexpected form. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adults are not present. Central character is an expressive, caring, imaginative young girl. The paper princess has various interactions that are brief but helpful or thought-provoking. A brother works to make his sister a thoughtful birthday gift and describes her as kind and caring. A bird goes to great lengths to reunite the princess with the little girl who made her.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Paper Princess, by author-illustrator Elisa Kleven, is a delightful, imaginative book that uses the idea of making a paper princess to celebrate autonomy, exploration, and adventurousness. As readers follow the adventure of a paper princess who gets whooshed away in the wind, they experience the multifaceted slivers of the world through her eyes.

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What's the story?

A little girl makes a paper princess, but a gust of wind carries it away. Though the paper princess finds one adventure after the next and meets a wonderful cast of characters along the way, she longs for the little girl who made her and tries to find her way back.

Is it any good?

THE PAPER PRINCESS is an unexpected charmer, by turns adventurous, sweet, and heartfelt. And there's nothing traditionally princess-y about this half-finished paper doll who flies about looking for wondrous experiences. With gorgeous mixed-media collages and inventive turns, the story moves beautifully and expressively through a richly created world, evoking all the longing, thrill, and excitement of innocent exploration on the path to gaining independence.

There are multiple entry points for a spectrum of readers here -- the beauty of art making, the letting go of our creations, the wonderment of exploring the world, the importance of allowing the world to shape us, and the desire always to return home. Parents will love the tenderness of this message, and kids will delight in the story's exciting landscapes. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the paper princesses' travels. Which places she goes are your favorites? Why?

  • How is this princess different from other princesses you've seen or read about? How is she the same?

  • Why does the girl who gives the princess green hair not like it? What does the princess think about her green hair?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love princesses and picture books

Themes & Topics

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