Title: Princess Diaries
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Publication Date: June 1st, 2000
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
GoodReads Summary: She's just a New York City girl living with her artist mom...
News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that's why a limo meets her at the airport!)
Downer: Dad can't have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)
Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.
Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.Well, her father can lecture her until he's royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty--no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what's a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?
What I Think: Honestly, I fell in love with this movie first and then went back and read the series. After I had been out of college for a few years and I truly got back into reading children's and young adult literature, I found Princess Diaries. Meg Cabot completely cracks me up. I love what she does in her realistic fiction books. After Princess Diaries, I read as many other books by her as I could. I haven't read many of her paranormal books but anything realistic fiction by Meg Cabot I love.
A lot of her books have pop culture references which really make them funny but I also see how some of them aren't as relevant today as they were when they were first published. I do still think readers will relate to her books even if they don't quite catch the depth of her jokes because of the link to pop culture.
I love that Meg Cabot's characters are so real and that innocent and ridiculous things happen to them. I sometimes feel like that's my life...just one big story of the craziest things happening. I'm lucky to have silly, crazy things happen, things I can laugh about later and that's what happens a lot in Princess Diaries and the rest of the series. Mia is really just trying to do her best and trying to find where she fits in in the world...and isn't that what we'e all trying to do? But especially teenagers?
In thinking about Princess Diaries as a mentor text, I love how Meg Cabot brings her characters to life with voice. Maybe part of it is how honest and funny they are but she does things like add in lists and she has a knack for teenage-girl-stream-of-consciousness. Another great takeaway from Princess Diaries is to encourage students to really open their eyes to stories all around them. When I started keeping a writer's notebook and looking around for stories, I noticed little everyday things that happen and I can see how they might be made funnier when incorporated into a story. Some of the funniest stories are all around us because they are common things that readers might relate to.
Read Together: Grades 6 - 8
Read Alone: Grades 7 - 12
Read With: Others in the Princess Diaries series, All-American Girl by Meg Cabot, Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle, Anna and the French Kiss and others by Stephanie Perkins, Take a Bow and others by Elizabeth Eulberg, Sean Griswold's Head and others by Lindsey Leavitt
Snatch of Text:
"I CAN'T BELIVE SHE'S DOING THIS TO ME!
Like everybody doesn't already think I'm a freak! I'm practically the biggest freak in the entire school. I mean, let's face it: I'm five foot nine, flat-chested, and a freshman. How much more of a freak could I be?
If people at school find out about this, I'm dead. That's it. Dead.
Oh, God, if you really do exist, please don't let them find out about this.
There are four million people in Manhattan, right? That makes about two million of them guys. So out of TWO MILLION guys, she has to go out with Mr. Gianini. She can't go out with some guy I don't know. She can't go out with some guy she met at D'Agostino's or wherever. Oh, no.
She has to go out with my Algebra teacher.
Thanks, Mom. Thanks a whole lot.
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Inferences, Visualizing
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Dialogue, Characterization, Voice
Writing Prompts:Write about a time in your life when you were nervous to tell a friend something because of how you thought they might react.
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Relationships, Love, Trust, Loyalty, Honesty, Courage, Determination, Self-Esteem
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