I was asked to create a book talk for a potential job interview. I thought why not do it on my blog first?
These are for preteen or younger teen readers and are well loved by girls across the nation, but perhaps are not as emphasized now that they have been out for some time. Still, they are great reads that shouldn’t be forgotten!
Do you wish your life was like a fairy tale? Maybe that you had a fairy godmother to make you feel better sometimes?
In Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, Ella of Frell knows fairies, even fairy godmothers, do not always bestow the best of gifts. When she was born, a fairy Lucinda gave her the gift of obedience. Ella had to obey anyone who gave her a direct order. This could be “Go to bed now, Ella,” or “Play nicely, Ella” or things a mother might say like “Help me clean up the house, dear” even when Ella didn’t want to. Ella finds that while she has to obey, she can find small ways to rebel and do things her way. Despite her curse, her family life isn’t fun either. Her mother died, her father remarried an awful woman and now Ella has two awful stepsisters, Hattie and Olive.
Her only friend is Mandy, her nurse, and Char, the king’s quiet son. When her new stepmother decides to send her off to finishing school with her horrible daughters, Ella leaps upon a chance to find Lucinda and make her take the gift back. But this leads her into an adventure where she runs into hungry ogres, trades with elves, feasts with giants, and ultimately finds out that Lucinda is practically no help at all. It is up to Ella to break her curse herself, but can she do it before all her hopes of happiness are ruined forever?
So, maybe fairies and a fairy godmother create more trouble than they’re worth. Perhaps you pretend you are a princess and your happily ever after isn’t far behind?
In this next book, The Goose Girl, first in the Books of Bayern series by Shannon Hale, former Crown Princess Ani of Kildenree doesn’t seem to have a happily ever after. She is sent to Bayern to marry the prince because she is…different. Her own mother wants nothing to do with her because she has a special power to speak to animals and listen to wind. On her journey to Bayern, her ladies’ maid, Selia, steals her identity and tries to kill Ani so she can be the princess. However, Princess Ani flees and hides as Isi, the goose girl, on the palace grounds. There she makes friends and hides her past because her life is still in danger. When she discovers Selia is using her name and influence to start a war, Isi knows she cannot just let it go and live her life out as a goose girl. Brought up to be a princess and care for her people, Ani must stand up to fight for her identity, her reputation, and her new kingdom as well as her new love and her friends. Will her happily ever after come true or will greedy Selia win it all?
Both stories are ones of bravery and courage, friendship, a bit of magic, and trying to make your own happily ever after.
Tales of Ani and her friends in Bayern continue in Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born.