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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Princess Anagrania is the golden grain princess. She would one day rule the Golden Grain Kingdom. As she grew up, her parents, the king and queen, wanted what was best for her. But everyone had a different idea of what was truly beautiful. They found the princess too skinny, too short, too brown. She was told she had to change, but all the changes came with a lot of frustration and some pain. She reached out to her brothers in neighboring kingdoms and, between them, she learned the importance of being herself and being proud of who she was. She learned an important lesson, one that she wanted to share: that true beauty comes from diversity. To celebrate all things different, she brought all the neighboring kingdoms together for a Golden Grain Festival, where everyone could share their differences.
Ina Curic and Tunde Varga’s picture book story, Anagrania’s Challenge, addresses very real challenges in today’s world and presents these challenges in a delightful book that will both charm and educate the young reader. The story discusses gender stereotyping and unhealthy beauty standards in a way that young readers can understand. The authors present viable and understandable solutions for Anagrania, solutions that young readers can use or adapt in their own lives, solutions that peacefully resolve conflicts. And, most important, this story celebrates diversity and the importance of being oneself, because no matter what we are, what we look like, we are all beautiful. This little story is packed full of valuable lessons for both young and old. Brilliant.