Princess Academy

Author Hale, Shannon.
Language English
London: Bloomsbury Children's, 2009


While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland.

Subjects :

  • Mountains
  • Juvenile fiction
  • Fiction
  • Schools
  • Self-confidence
  • Princesses
  • Telepathy

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Best Children's Books of the Year, 2005 Bank Street College of Education
  • Book Sense Kid's Picks, Fall 2005 American Booksellers Association
  • Children's Books 2005: One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing, 2005 New York Public Library
  • Kirkus Book Review Stars, July 15, 2005
  • Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Supplement to the Ninth Edition, 2006 H.W. Wilson Company
  • Notable Children's Books, 2006 ALSC American Library Association
  • School Library Journal Book Review Stars, October 2005 Cahners

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Beehive Book Award, 2007 Winner Utah
  • Cuffies: Children's Booksellers Choose Their Favorite (and not-so-favorite) Books of the Year, 2005 Honorable Mention United States
  • John Newbery Medal, 2006 Honor Book United States
  • Audie Award, 2008 Finalist United States

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Beehive Book Award, 2007; Nominee Utah
  • Colorado Children's Book Award, 2008; Nominee Colorado
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, 2006-2007; Nominee Vermont
  • Georgia Children's Book Award, 2007-2008; Alternate Georgia
  • Grand Canyon Reader Award, 2008; Nominee Arizona
  • Maine Student Book Award, 2006-2007; Nominee Maine
  • Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 2007-2008; Master List Massachusetts
  • Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award, 2009-2010; Nominee Minnesota
  • Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award, 2009-2010; Nominee Minnesota
  • Nene Award, 2007; Book List Hawaii
  • Nene Award, 2008; Nominee Hawaii
  • Nene Award, 2009; Nominee Hawaii
  • Nene Award, 2010; Nominee Hawaii
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, 2008; Nominee Illinois
  • Sequoyah Book Award, 2008; Masterlist Oklahoma
  • South Carolina Junior Book Award, 2007-2008; Nominee South Carolina
  • Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, 2007-2008; Nominee Florida
  • Volunteer State Book Award, 2007-2008; Nominee Tennessee
  • William Allen White Children's Book Award, 2007-2008; Master List Kansas
  • Wisconsin Battle of the Books, 2007-2008; Wisconsin
  • Young Reader's Choice Award, 2008; Nominee Pacific Northwest

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Curriculum Tools :

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Reading Measurement Programs:

1582349932, 9781582349930
Bloomsbury Children's Books: (New York:) 2005.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 6
Accelerated Reader Points 10

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 890
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 16

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Reviews :

Anne O'Malley (Booklist, Jun. 1, 2005 (Vol. 101, No. 19))
Miri would love to join her father and older sister as a miner in Mount Eskel's quarry. Not a glamorous aspiration for a 14-year-old, perhaps, but the miners produce the humble village's prize stone, linder, and mining is a respected occupation that drives the local economy. When the local girls are rounded up to compete for the hand of the kingdom's prince, Miri, the prize student in the Princess Academy, gets her chance to shine. In addition to her natural intelligence and spunk, she discovers an intuitive, and at times unspoken, language that grew out of work songs in the mines and uses linder as a medium. With this "quarry-speech" giving a boost to her courage and intelligence, Miri leads her classmates in the fight against being treated as social inferiors in the academy, at the same time educating herself in ways that will better the village. Hale nicely interweaves feminist sensibilities in this quest-for-a-prince-charming, historical-fantasy tale. Strong suspense and plot drive the action as the girls outwit would-be kidnappers and explore the boundaries of leadership, competition, and friendship. Category: Books for Older Readers--Fiction. 2005, Bloomsbury, $16.95. Gr. 6-9.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature)
Education is important but the Princess Academy makes it imperative. The academy houses a group of rough mountain girls who must be tutored in the ways of royalty. After all, Prince Steffan, from the far-off lowland, will choose one to be his bride. Miri learns eagerly but struggles with homesickness and the cattiness of some of the other girls. But when bandits break into the academy and hold the girls hostage, Miri finds a well of fierce strength within herself. She engineers a group escape but is recaptured by the bloodthirsty leader. No, the prince does not come galloping up to save her. Full of suspense and even a literal cliffhanger, this novel by acclaimed author Shannon Hale will keep young readers stuck to the page like the winter snow on Miri s beloved mountain. 2005, Bloomsbury, $16.95. Ages 8 to 12.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
Shannon Hale s career began with a fascinating retelling of The Goose Girl. One of the invented characters from that book became the heroine of Enna Burning. Now she writes a completely new tale and once again shows us that she knows the language, structure, and images of the world of fairy tales. The story begins in the mountainous region of Mount Eskel, a place where miners remove linder, a sought-after stone. Sometimes they do this without speech, for they have learned to communicate in a whole different way. All but Miri, a child who is not strong and who grieves this separation, as much as she grieves that her mother died at her birth. Everything changes when all the young women in the village must train in a hastily constructed Princess Academy so that one can be chosen to marry the prince. The governess Olana is a harsh task mistress, even cruel, as she crams her unschooled students full of information about poise, reading, and history. For once in her life, Miri is part of a community and she fights for fairness for her fellow students, even as she herself fights to learn. She also faces inner battles, trying to forget her growing love for her childhood friend, Peder, should she have to marry the prince. Coming of age in a princess academy, and understanding her past and her future path, are made stronger by the fairy tale voice Hale creates. This voice allows readers to lose themselves in her stories. 2005, Bloomsbury, $16.95. Ages 9 to 12.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Sheilah Egan (Children's Literature)
Miri yearns to prove herself useful to her widowed father by working in the village quarry, but, he forbids this, thus cutting his daughter off from the bond of the villagers who earn their living carving stone on Mount Eskel. In this unusual blend of coming-of-age, adventure, fantasy, and fairy tale story Shannon Hale gives us a strong girl persona, wicked outlaw outsiders, corrupt business dealings, strict princess trainers, and a prince in need of a proper princess. Miri proves her worth to her father, the village, the head of the Academy itself, and to the fellow worthy of this quick-witted, hard-working almost a woman. The crux of the tale is the quarry speech used by the stone workers to communicate over the noise and confusion of the quarry, which is adapted by Miri in her desperation to save the village girls after they have been kidnapped by the outlaws. As usual, Hale ties her characters to the land in which they have been born and to Nature itself. This is an engaging, plain good read that just happens to be filled with life lessons about friendship, acceptance, courage, endurance, and finding the right path. Guard against dismissing this fantasy as more of the same old genre; there are a lot of fresh ideas and solid truths to be had in this finely-crafted novel. 2005, Bloomsbury, $16.95. Ages 12 up.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005 (Vol. 73, No. 14))
There are many pleasures to this satisfying tale: a precise lyricism to the language ("The world was as dark as eyes closed" or "Miri's laugh is a tune you love to whistle") and a rhythm to the story that takes its tropes from many places, but its heart from ours. Miri is very small; her father has never let her work in the linder stone quarries where her village makes its living and she fears that it's because she lacks something. However, she's rounded up, with the other handful of girls ages 12 to 17, to be taught and trained when it's foreseen that the prince's bride will come from their own Mount Eskel. Olana, their teacher, is pinched and cruel, but Miri and the others take to their studies, for it opens the world beyond the linder quarries to them. Miri seeks other learning as well, including the mindspeech that ties her to her people, and seems to work through the linder stone itself. There's a lot about girls in groups, both kind and cutting; a sweet boy; the warmth of friends, fathers and sisters; and the possibility of being chosen by a prince one barely knows. The climax involving evil brigands is a bit forced, but everything else is an unalloyed joy. 2005, Bloomsbury, 308p, $16.95. Category: Fantasy. Ages 9 to 14. Starred Review. © 2005 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Readers enchanted by Hale's Goose Girl\n are in for an experience that's a bit more earthbound in this latest fantasy-cum-tribute to girl-power. Cheerful and witty 14-year-old Miri loves her life on Mount Eskel, home to the quarries filled with the most precious linder stone in the land, though she longs to be big and strong enough to do quarry work like her sister and father. But Miri experiences big changes when the king announces that the prince will choose a potential wife from among the village's eligible girls—and that said girls must attend a new Princess Academy in preparation. Princess training is not all it's cracked up to be for spunky Miri in the isolated school overseen by cruel Tutor Olana. But through education—and the realization that she has the common mountain power to communicate wordlessly via magical "quarry-speech"—Miri and the girls eventually gain confidence and knowledge that helps transform their village. Unfortunately, Hale's lighthearted premise and underlying romantic plot bog down in overlong passages about commerce and class, a surprise hostage situation and the specifics of "quarry-speech." The prince's final princess selection hastily and patly wraps things up. Ages 9-up. (July)\n"
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Timnah Card (The Bulletin of the Center for Children s Books, September 2005 (Vol. 59, No. 1))
According to ancient Danlandish law, the teenaged girls of a given city or town must prepare for one of them to be chosen by their prince as his future bride. For the first time, the priests have divined that that town shall be a tiny cluster of quarriers huts on the mountainside, the home of a poverty-stricken people despised by more affluent lowlanders. Though initially unwilling to participate in the new state-run princess academy, fourteen-year-old Miri, the daughter of a quarrier, soon finds the things she learns (such as Commerce and Diplomacy ) can improve the living standard of her village and the relationship between the girls and their bad-tempered schoolmistress. By the time the prince arrives, Miri has developed ability in leadership and in what her people call quarry-speech , telepathic communication via the stone the quarriers harvest from the peaks, and her skill in both these areas saves the lives of everyone at the academy. Because she is small, Miri sees herself as useless in her working community of burly laborers, and her envy of those larger and stronger than she contrasts powerfully with her later pleasure in her growing gifts. Miri s culture is deftly drawn; snippets from the quarriers working songs lead each chapter, and the harsh yet beautiful physical and cultural details of Miri s world keep this optimistic tale believable. This could be a useful introduction to fantasy for realistic-novel buffs, the authentic sniping and backbiting of jealous girls cooped up together for a year, the character-driven plot, and the vigorous prose will carry readers of all kinds into the center of the story. Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 2005, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2005, Bloomsbury, 314p, $16.95. Grades 6-9.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Kathleen Roseboom (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 18, No. 3))
The small mountain village of Mount Eskel is chosen by the king s assembly as the selection site for the next princess. This creates a dilemma as the village is isolated, and the young girls are uneducated. A school for all girls younger than the prince is established a few miles from the village, and the girls are all escorted there and begin their education. As the winter comes and they are cut off from the village, the girls begin to compete in earnest to become the best in their class. This tale will delight many of its readers; however, as they are reading, they will discover that education itself becomes a main focus. This leads to developing leadership and self-confidence, which become extremely important to the main character, Miri. She comes to believe in education as a means to a better life and a better way to help others in her village. Fiction. Grades 4-8. 2005, Bloomsbury, 314p., $16.95. Ages 9 to 14.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Jenny Ingram (VOYA, August 2005 (Vol. 28, No. 3))
In her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri is much smaller than her peers and not allowed to work in the quarry alongside the other able-bodied villagers. Instead she keeps house for her widower father and her sister and hopes to strike a good deal with the trader who visits periodically. When a royal messenger arrives one day to tell the villagers that the country's priests have determined that the prince's bride will come from their region, the village girls go away to school to be educated for royal life. Despite the bleak, strict nature of their school, Miri comes away from the experience with knowledge that she uses to change the economy and quality of life for her village. The imaginative setting for the story makes it timeless and universal. Hale creates a parallel universe where things are just familiar enough to recognize yet remain unique to the story. In their isolation, the mountain people have learned to communicate telepathically, which contributes to the magical aura of the story. Miri's emerging leadership at the school and her choice to use her education for the benefit of her village are refreshing takes on a classic setup. In the end, she gets her man, having known all along that the prince was not for her. This new classic will have a place with leisure readers and in the classroom. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Bloomsbury, 300p., $16.95. Ages 11 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Rebecca Moreland, Teen Reviewer (VOYA, August 2005 (Vol. 28, No. 3))
Princess Academy is a delightful read with everything you need in a good fantasy book: action, adventure, romance-and a good kidnapping. Although many people who read this book will not have any connection to Miri's way of life (people usually don't tend goats high on a mountainside their whole lives), Hale's writing places you in the book, so you feel you can relate. The plot seems predictable, like any other book of its genre, but it has a twist that sets it apart and makes it all the more enjoyable. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Bloomsbury, 300p., $16.95. Ages 11 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Children's Books:Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D. (Children's Literature)
Fourteen-year-old Miri lives on Mount Eskel with her beloved father and sister Marta. When their king issues an edict that the prince s bride-to-be must come from Mount Eskel, Miri leaves home with the other young girls to attend a Princess Academy. Olana, the harsh woman who oversees the academy, never lets the girls forget that they are peasants from a rough land. The Mount Eskel girls do not know how to read and write. Miri and the others have never seen a city. And they certainly have never fantasized about being a princess. Until now. Miri is conflicted about leaving her home and attending the academy. Her friendship with young Peter has become more complicated, as feelings she doesn t understand seep into her consciousness. The idea of becoming a princess is alluring, but what is the prince like as a person? Personalities emerge and grudges intensify as the girls spend more and more time holed up in the academy. Olana is unforgiving and cruel at times. She locks Miri in a closet for hours after the girl speaks out of turn. A rat torments Miri during her time in the closet. She is saved when she uses quarry speak and one of the other girls named Gertie hears her. Quarry speak is how the miners on Mount Eskel communicate with each other when they are working in the quarry and cannot be heard over their loud tools. This audio book contains eight CDs, which run for one hour each. Miri is a compelling protagonist, clever, sweet-natured and bighearted, but insecure. The other girls and characters are unique individuals who come to life as their words are voiced by the excellent voice actors. This recording is based on the novel of the same name, which was a 2006 Newbery Honor Book. Highly recommend for long car trips and family listening, this unabridged audio book never fails. The plot, characters, and writing are first-rate. Readers will identify with Miri and be pulled along as they navigate the engaging story line. 2007, Full Cast Audio, $55.00. Ages 10 to adult.
(PUBLISHER: Full Cast Audio $55.00., PUBLISHED: 2007)

Susan Allison (KLIATT Review, January 2008 (Vol. 42, No. 1))
This delightful story takes place in a small village on Mount Eskel where the main occupation is quarrying a rare local stone. The prince must choose a princess from among the teenage girls, as determined by the royal priests who live on Mount Eskel. Because most of these girls work in the quarries and have always lived as peasants, they are required to attend the Princess Academy for one year before the prince can meet them at the ball and make his selection. Although 14-year-old Miri wants to be princess to help her family, she is torn by her growing love for her lifelong friend Peder. Tensions rise when the prince fails to make a selection after the ball, and the princess training extends into a second year. Laura Credidio and the Full Cast family present a successful blend of masculine and feminine voices, lending great variety to the characters. For fans of clever, feisty female heroines and those who relish a touch of fantasy and suspense suitable for family listening. (A 2006 Newbery Honor Book.) Category: Fiction Audiobook. KLIATT Codes: JSA--Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2007 (orig. 2005), Full Cast Audio, 8 cds. 8 Hrs.; Vinyl; plot, author notes., $55.00. Ages 12 to adult.
(PUBLISHER: Full Cast Audio $55.00., PUBLISHED: 2007)

Bill Mingin (Audiofile, February/March 2008)
Shannon Hale's fantasy tells how Miri, a 14-year-old living in a mining village, comes into her own, saving the village from poverty and possible disaster and finding her place in the world. Narrator Laura Credidio's voice is pleasant and soothing, and her narration is well paced. The ensemble's acting is good, and the girls who attend the academy, including Miri, are uniformly charming. The casting reveals special care and intelligence in that the voices give dimension to the characters that the story bears out, a remarkable vocal foreshadowing that is due, of course, to the actors' skill. This sweet story will primarily interest 10-14- year-old girls, but even boys may enjoy it (though they may not admit it). W.M. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine Unabridged. 2007 (orig. 2005), Full Cast Audio, Eight CDs, $39.95. Ages 8 up.
(PUBLISHER: Full Cast Audio Eight CDs $39.95., PUBLISHED: 2007 (orig. 2005))

Mandy Nicoletta (Children's Literature)
Miri, a girl from the town of Mount Eskel, is one of many girls chosen to take part in a special academy to teach them how to be Ladies. One of the girls will be chosen by the prince of the kingdom of Danland for his future wife. While at the academy for the required year of training, in addition to learning what it takes to become a Lady, Miri discovers the secret of her town s special communication ability and the connection to their livelihood of quarrying a rare stone called linder. After weeks away from their families, the girls break the unfair academy rules and return home for the spring festival. Upon their return to the academy, they identify a set of terms to which their teacher must agree: they want to be treated as if they are of noble birth and not commoners. Their teacher agrees to their terms, and her whole attitude instantly changes as she compliments them on learning the lesson of diplomacy and making agreements so well. When the prince finally arrives that winter, the ball goes well, but he does not choose a bride. He leaves to return in the spring, promising to make his choice known then. During his absence, bandits attack the academy and Miri must save the girls from harm using the village s special ability. In the end, will the prince choose Miri or one of the other lovely girls for his bride? Shannon Hale paints a picture of the tale through her superb descriptions of places and people, making the reader see everything that happens to Miri and her friends. This is a delightful tale for everyone who loves the fantasy that even a common girl can become a princess. 2005, Bloomsbury Children s Books, $7.95. Ages 10 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Thorndike Press (Waterville Me.:), PUBLISHED: 2006.; FORM TYPE: Large Print )

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
London: Bloomsbury Children's, 2009

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. ;
Originally published 2005.
Full Cast Audio $55.00., 2007

Media Type:

Full Cast Audio Eight CDs $39.95., 2007

Media Type:

Waterville Me.: Thorndike Press, 2006

Media Type: Language Material
339 p. (large print) ;
PZ7.H13824 ([Fic])
London: Bloomsbury, 2005

Media Type: Language Material
314 p. ;
Formerly CIP.
New York: Bloomsbury Children's Books:, 2005

Media Type: Language Material
314 p. ;
PZ7.H13824 ([Fic])

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