The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Royalty Rocks: Kings, Queens, and Everything In-between - July 2010

Selected and annotated by Ayanna Coleman


Ashman, Linda. Come to the Castle!: A Visit to a Castle in Thirteenth-Century England; illus. by S. D. Schindler. Flash Point/RoaringBrook, 2009. 40 p. Gr. 3-6
With a fun rhyming scheme this book illustrates through the Earl of Dashwood and his servants what it was like to live in 13th Century England.

Beccia, Carlyn. The Raucous Royals: Test Your Royal Wits: Crack Codes, Solve Mysteries, and Deduce Which Royal Rumors are True. Houghton, 2008. 64 p. Gr. 4-8
This book is great for sneaking history into your children’s reading time. They'll learn lots of fun facts about royals while also being entertained and utterly engaged thanks to Beccia's fun illustrations. The book also offers parents a launching point in which to discuss the damaging power of rumors.

Bridges, Shirin Yim. The Umbrella Queen; illus. by Taeeun Yoo. Greenwillow, 2008. 40 p. 5-8 yrs
Based in a small village in Thailand, Noot and her family are known for making beautiful umbrellas. Her father makes the frames; her grandmother the paper; and her mother paints beautiful flowers on the umbrellas. Noot wants to paint as well but she wants to paint elephants instead of flowers. This could mean trouble. Children will enjoy discovering where Bridges goes with this brightly illustrated story.

Cadnum, Michael. The King’s Arrow. Viking, 2008. 256 p. Gr. 7-12
Based on real events, this is a fast paced and thrilling tale of the question between mistake and murder of a king and the boy who got dragged into it all.

Chen, Da. Sword. Geringer/HarperCollins, 2008. 240 p. Gr. 5-7
Secretly trained in martial arts, 15 year old Miu Miu tries to kill the emporer on her birthday to avenge her father’s death. There is much action, romance, and Chinese lore to keep both boys’ and girls’ attention.

Cooper, Michelle. A Brief History of Montmaray. Knopf, 2009. 304 p. Gr. 7-10
In 1936, 16-year-old Sophie FitzOsborne lives on the edge of poverty in an island castle off the coast of England. With her cousin Veronica; her younger sister, Henry; a dog named Carlos; and her reclusive Uncle John—the mad king of Montmaray—for company, Sophie spends her days helping her cousin and the few remaining servants keep house while documenting her dreams and experiences in her journal. Then the Nazis arrive and the occupants of the island kingdom have to use their wits to survive the invasion.

Creech, Sharon. The Castle Corona; illus. by David Diaz. Cotler/HarperCollins, 2007 336 p. Gr. 5-7
Set in feudal Italy, Creech introduces many characters, some of which are peasant children in the company of a stolen pouch, the spoiled royal family living in the Castle Corona, the court storyteller, and the hermit advisor. As the story unfolds so does the realization that all is not as it seems.

Friesner, Esther. Sphinx’s Princess. Random House, 2009. 368 p Gr. 6-8
In this fictional tale we follow the young and spirited Nefirtiti and her life in court.

George, Jessica Day. Dragon Slippers. Bloomsburg, 2007. 324 p. Gr. 6-10
Creel is a young girl that knows what she wants. Denying princes, befriending dragons, and standing for what she believes in as well as saving a kingdom is just a little of what you’ll find in this tale.

George, Jessica Day. Princess of the Midnight Ball. Bloomsbury, 2009. 280 p. Gr. 6-10
A thrilling retelling of the Grimm’s Twelve Dancing Princesses we have an unlikely knitting hero and 12 feisty and cunning princesses to keep readers’ attention.

Hale, Shannon. Book of a Thousand Days; illus. by James Noel Smith. Bloomsbury, 2007. 320 p. Gr.6-9
Dashti, the maid of Lady Saren, and the lady herself are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises. When Saren’s not one, but two suitors show up at the castle door, things get interesting, especially for Dashti because she soon finds out how valuable she is.

Harrison, Mette Ivie. The Princess and the Hound. Eos/HarperCollins, 2007. 416 p. Gr. 5-9
Starting out with an arranged marriage between feuding kingdoms, this story packs a punch. Prince George can talk to animals, however it’s forbidden, but his bride-to-be has an uncanny relationship with her dog. Will the prince defy what’s forbidden and embrace his talents or let his kingdom fall?

Hawass, Zahi. Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King. National Geographic, 2005. 64 p. Gr. 4-8
Black and white along with luminous color photographs help give insight into the life, death, and burial of King Tut and the personal reports of Zahi Hawass, director of excavations at the Giza pyramids and head of Egypt's archaeological council, don’t hurt either.

Henderson, Kathy. Lugalbanda: The Boy Who Got Caught Up in a War: An Epic Tale from Ancient Iraq; illus. by Jane Eay. Candlewick, 2006. 72 p. Gr. 4-6
This Sumarian legend is the oldest known written story, even before Gilgamesh who many believe is Lugalbanda’s son. The title summarizes well, however the illustrations bring the story to life.

Levine, Gail Carson. Fairest. HarperCollins, 2006. 326 p. Gr. 6-9
In a time where beauty, elegance, and singing were revered above all other attributes Aza is two for three. She’s not beautiful and is oftentimes clumsy, but she does have a wonderful voice. When she is taken to court, the queen realizes Aza’s talent and tries to use it for her own benefit. Will Aza stand up for herself or will she stay the queen’s pawn?

Libby, Alisa M. The King’s Rose. Dutton, 2009. 320 p. Gr. 7-10
Catherine Howard, 15, has attracted the attention of aging King Henry Tudor, who is becoming increasingly desperate for a healthy son. He has already rid himself of three wives and has now hatched a plan to get rid of his fourth so he can marry Catherine. Can Catherine provide for the king what he wishes or will her court life and its luxuries deliver her ruin?

Lowe, Helen. Thornspell. Knopf, 2008. 320 p. Gr. 7-10
This retelling of sleeping beauty is entrancing to say the least. It follows the bored, yet adventurous if given the chance, Prince Sigismund who slips out of his castle while his father is away fighting a war and into the forbidden Wood. There he finds a sleeping princess among thorns, dragons, and a lot of magic.

Lowry, Lois. The Birthday Ball; illus. by Jules Feiffer. Houghton, 2010. 186 p. Gr. 3-5
16-year-old Patricia is bored of her royal life and doesn’t want to be forced to marry one of the thee severely unappealing suitors who will be in attendance at her royal ball. So what is a princess to do? Patricia flees the castle (for a week) and pretends to be a commoner at the village school. She wins friends and a new suitor and her different worlds collide at the ball where she calls the shots.

Marchetta, Melina. Finnikin of the Rock. Candlewick, 2010. 416 p Gr. 9 and up
Finnikin, son of the head of the King's Guard, has been in exile for a decade, after the violent takeover of his birthplace, Lumatere, by a usurper, followed by a curse by a priestess that has effectively shut the kingdom off from the outside world. He meets a mysterious young woman, Evanjalin, who claims that Finnikin's friend Balthazar, heir to the throne, is alive, and sets in motion a complex and stirring series of events that lead Finnikin to confront his destiny.

Moss, Jenny. Shadow. Scholastic, 2010. 384 p. Gr. 6-9
Shadow, an orphan living to only stay by the Queen and effectively be her shadow, fails her duty to protect the Queen from the prophesied curse that will not allow the Queen to live after her 16 th birthday. Shadow is then whisked away by a knight who swears to protect her and through their quest learns that she is of regal birth herself.

Napoli, Donna Jo. Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale. Antheneum, 2007. 308 p. Gr. 8-10
The daughter of a magnificent king, Melkorka is kidnapped by a slave ship and the way she learns to deal with her captivity is by going silent. This interests her hijackers and therefore gives her power. How, though, will she use it?

Noyes, Deborah. Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk out of China; illus. by Sophie Blackall. Candlewick, 2007. 32 p. Gr. 4-7
A beautifully illustrated coming-of-age tale of a young Chinese princess who is sent to marry in a far-off kingdom. She does not want to leave her home, but is told to embrace her destiny.

O’Connor, George. Zeus: King of the Gods. Porter/First Second, 2010. 76 p. Gr. 6-12
In comic book format this is the first in a series of 12 that explains what or who some of the most infamous Olympians are. Zeus takes the main stage as O’Connor makes clear how Zeus came into being and in detail and fervor takes on the battle of Zeus and his father.

Osborne, Will and Mary Pope Osborne. Sleeping Bobby; illus. by Giselle Potter. Schwartz/Atheneum, 2005. 40 p 6-9 yrs.
Reversing the gender roles, the Osbornes create a fun picture book filled with an adventurous prince, husband-seeking princesses, and 13 including one very disgruntled wise women.

Ray, Jane. The Apple-Pip Princess. Candlewick, 2008. 32 p. 6-9yrs
In this original fairy tale readers will encounter the magic of nature and growth. In a once happy kingdom, there are three princesses, but no queen. After the queen passed, the kingdom transformed from lush to dust and the king challenges his three daughters to help him find a way to replenish the natural wealth of his lands.

Sandell, Lisa Ann. Song of the Sparrow. Scholastic, 2007. 416 p. Gr. 7-9
Elaine of Ascolat, the Lady of Shalott, is a famous historical figure and this fictional book tells of her love for Lancelot, her jealousy of Guinivere, and her pining for a female friend.

Trondheim, Lewis. Tiny Tyrant; illus. by Fabrice Parme. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2007. 124 p. Gr. 3-8
How does a spoiled child-king become a hero? To find out one has to read all 12 hilarious and interconnecting stories of King Ethelbert.

Turner, Megan Whalen. A Conspiracy of Kings. Greenwillow, 2010. 336 p. Gr. 9-12
Sophos is his uncle’s heir, but he seems to be more interested in poetry. To help him mature a little his father sends him to a remote village, however when it is attacked, Sophos is sold into slavery. This quickly helps Sophos mature in mind and body and with the help of a friend he will try to regain his place as heir to his future kingdom.

Uehashi, Nahoko. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit; trans. by Cathy Hirano; illus. by Yuko Shimizu. Levine/Scholastic, 2008. 256 p. Gr. 5-7
There is a lot packed in to this 256-pager, however some things the reader will find include loosely based Japanese folklore, a fleeing prince, his bodyguard-for-hire, and a water spirit that people can’t decide is good or bad and is said to live inside the prince.

Verrillo, Erica. Elissa’s Quest: Pheonix Rising, Book One. Random House, 2007. 352 p. Gr. 5-9
Elissa is an orphan who has the uncanny ability to converse with animals and is constantly dreaming of her father to come and reclaim her. Once he does, those rosy dreams of a loving dad are dashed. Now she knows who she is, but does not like what that knowledge brings. Elissa has been thrown in the middle of a battle for a kingdom; will she come out unscathed?

Wein, Elizabeth E. The EmptyKingdom: The Mark of Solomon Book Two. Viking, 2008. 208 p. Gr. 7-10
Telemakos is the grandson of King Arthur and heir to an ancient Ethiopian dynasty. Unfortunately the people who are supposed to be protecting him are treating him like a prisoner. Telemakos must use his wits and minimal resources to outsmart his enemies and reunite with his family.

Whitcomb, Laura. The Fetch. Houghton, 2009. 384 p. Gr. 9 and up
This fantasy immerses itself in Russian history to try and explain why Anastasia and her brother’s remains were not found beside the rest of the slain Romanov family. You see they were taken by a Fetch, Calder is his name. A Fetch is figure who attends the dying and escorts souls to heaven but things go awry after Calder meets Anastasia and falls in love.

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