by Frances Hodgson Burnett, first published 1905
“Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.”
Coming across A Little Princess was like finding a treasure that I thought I somehow always knew about but never found. I kept thinking that it was perhaps a movie I saw (it is a Shirley Temple movie) or a fairy tale I read, but, in fact, it is much more than any of these. It is one the best children’s books I’ve read so far. It turns out I’m not alone in my assessment, as it continually rates in the top 100 lists among teachers, education associations, and others.
Being a somewhat melancholic temperament, it was as little hard to read the tribulations that Sara went through, and I almost wanted to stop reading. However, the message that the book sends– which is that everything in your life is determined by the thoughts you bring to the situation– is so well done, that I took hold of Sara’s courage and continued to read. There is no better vivid description of the power of one’s own imagination to create a heaven or hell for oneself.
A Little Princess also vividly brings home the power of kindness, not only how it affects one’s immediate environment, but the ripple effect it has. The book is a precursor to the understanding of “paying it forward.”
If your children have not yet been exposed to movies or abridged versions of this book, I encourage you to offer this to them right away. It is a treasure that should not be spoiled by any thing else other than the wonderful language and insights that Burnett brings to the story of this wonderful character study in resilience.
Since the copyright has expired on this book, it is available for free downloads, and there are many versions out there with different illustrations. Be sure that there are not too many illustrations, so that the imagination is left free, and also be sure that you are getting an unabridged, original version.
Buy this at your local independent bookstore