Like many, childhood consisted of fairytales that all began with “Once upon a time.” There’s usually a princess who finds herself in trouble, gets saved by a prince, falls in love and ends up living happily ever after. The end. In fact, that about sums up the classic Disney movies of my childhood. But times have changed and thankfully, so has Disney animated films. With some of Disney’s more recent female characters– like Mulan, Frozen‘s Elsa, and we can’t forget Lilo’s hardworking sister Nani– we get to see women who are strong, independent and don’t need men to save them. All the women who are independent, throw your hands up at me! [Insert Beyonce dance here].
With that aside, how about a multiracial princess? That would be the day… Oh wait. That day is here! A children’s book called The Princess Who Saved Herself features a multiracial princess named Gloria Cheng Epstein Takahara de la Garza (that’s about four ethnicities) who “owns a pet snake, eats a whole cake because there wasn’t anyone to tell her what to do,” loves rock and roll, and of course, ends up saving the day.
The book was originally based on a song by Jonathan Coulton. He collaborated with comics writer Greg Pak and illustrator Takeshi Miyazawa to create this children’s book that redefines the traditional princess. Not only does Princess Gloria break the traditional princess image, but, according to Coulton and Pak in their interview with BuzzFeed, she teaches perseverance, bravery and understanding of other cultures.
“She faces things head-on and solves problems mostly by being a good person with a positive attitude,” says Coulton.
“Fiction is one of the best ways for people of different backgrounds to learn how to identify and empathize with each other,” adds Pak.
Princess Gloria is definitely a princess that can relate to, as well as teach, today’s younger generation.
All images courtesy of Takeshi Miyazawa, Greg Pak and Jonathan Coulton.