I am often asked what inspired me to write my story “Princesses Can Be Pirates Too!” (Illustrated by artist Amy Davis-Fall 2012 release date) and how I came upon the title. I chuckle and reply that my inspiration came from my arguing children and the title came straight out of the mouth of my then three year old daughter, Claire.
While dressed in her favorite princess dress, Cinderella to be exact, she challenged her 5-year old older brother, dressed in a pirate costume, that she could “play a pirate” just as good as he. “Girls can’t be pirates, especially princesses! he protested! Her feisty response? “OH YES THEY CAN!” Playing “Pirates” with her brother was no exception. “Girls Can’t What?” Indeed, his objections made her even more determined.
Though dressed in her crown and princess costume, she demonstrated to him that she could sword fight, captain his toy pirate ship, shoot off cannons, and capture make-believe foes. Persuaded, he realized that his little sister could play “pirates” after all. Not only that, she could be fun even though she was dressed like a princess!
So I say, why can’t a girl be both a princess and also identify with toys, games, and make-believe play that are typically assigned to boy stereotypes? Must she shed her princess dress to do so? No-a girl identifying herself as a “princess” can be anything she wants to be, not confined or defined by her pink fluffy dress, but rather by her capabilities.
Who says girls can’t play boys’ make-believe games too? “No Girls Allowed,” will simply NOT do for this little Princess! “Princesses Can Be Pirates Too!” proves that just because a girl is wearing a pink fluffy dress and gold crown doesn’t mean she can’t act like a pirate just as good as any boy. Yes- even a refined and dainty princess can become a rough and tumble pirate! This is the playful and empowering premise of my book. “A princess can do what a pirate can too; she can captain a ship and take charge of the crew”… “She can fend off a foe with a swoosh of her sword, should unfriendly pirates try climbing aboard!…”She can eat with her fingers and slurp down her stew-BURP-if pirates eat messily a princess can too!” are just a few of the things this feisty princess can do in this humorous interpretation and approach to a pirate’s life with a princess’ sense of style.
“Princesses Can Be Pirates Too!” inspires an empowering message for girls and boys that it is acceptable and healthy to break out of gender roles. Specifically, just because a girl is “girly” doesn’t mean she is limited in her abilities. Though it would appear that princesses and pirates are at gender and social odds, “Princesses Can Be Pirates Too!” demonstrates how girls and boys can be “in character” and still find harmony.
Girls Can’t What? I say, Oh YES THEY CAN!
Find me at: http://christizellerhoff.com
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