Coming December 2019!

Pragmatic Princess

26 Superb Stories of Self-Sufficiency

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  • Illustration of various Pragmatic Princess characters producing a stage production in their school's theater
  • Illustration of Pragmatic Princess book cover
  • Illustration of pages from Pragmatic Princess
  • Illustration of various Pragmatic Princess characters producing a stage production in their school's theater
  • Illustration of Pragmatic Princess book cover
  • Illustration of pages from Pragmatic Princess
  • Illustration of various Pragmatic Princess characters producing a stage production in their school's theater
  • Illustration of Pragmatic Princess book cover
  • Illustration of pages from Pragmatic Princess
  • Illustration of various Pragmatic Princess characters producing a stage production in their school's theater
  • Illustration of Pragmatic Princess book cover
  • Illustration of pages from Pragmatic Princess
  • Illustration of various Pragmatic Princess characters producing a stage production in their school's theater
  • Illustration of Pragmatic Princess book cover
  • Illustration of pages from Pragmatic Princess
  • Illustration of various Pragmatic Princess characters producing a stage production in their school's theater
  • Illustration of Pragmatic Princess book cover
  • Illustration of pages from Pragmatic Princess
  • Illustration of various Pragmatic Princess characters producing a stage production in their school's theater
  • Illustration of Pragmatic Princess book cover
  • Illustration of pages from Pragmatic Princess

Pragmatic Princess is an A-Z compilation of short stories about self-reliance designed for children age 3-8+.

The fictional characters in childhood stories are some of our earliest teachers. We learn a range of things through the observation of these symbolic models, such as what is right and wrong, a desirable and undesirable behavior, gender roles, norms, stereotypes, and more. The role of models is particularly influential in childhood as it can have a long lasting impact on intellectual, social, emotional and moral development.1, 2, 3 This is why it is critical to have stories that move beyond the belief that female characters are best suited as damsels in distress or need superpowers to be successful.

Pragmatic Princess not only changes the narrative to one of self-reliance, but does so with the power of science behind it. I drew heavily on my experience as a research psychologist to create stories that are fun and entertaining while also maximizing learning opportunities. This was done by carefully choosing the story length and structure, creating narratives that reflect the the challenges and lessons of childhood, and developing a diverse cast of characters.

The science behind the writing

Story Length

A general rule of thumb is children’s picture books should be between 500 and 1000 words. This length is short enough to hold the attention of the younger pre-readers but long enough to tell a fully fleshed out story. With this in mind, each story in the Pragmatic Princess was crafted to be between 450 and 650 words. This length also allows for multiple stories in the compilation to be read in a single session for the older readers.

Rhyming Scheme

Books that rhyme are fun to read because of their natural, song-like rhythm. They can also make the content easier to memorize for younger children, which can help transition them in to the pre-reading stage of development. This is an important milestone as it helps build confidence for reading and interest to further engage with reading. Rhyming is also an important part of reading success and it has also been found to encourage the development of writing skills.4, 5

Diverse Characters

It was important that the characters of Pragmatic Princess were diverse: all shapes and colors, many different backgrounds, with various abilities and disabilities, and from traditional and nontraditional families. It is important for literature to reflect our daily lives so readers can relate to the characters. The diverse cast also maximizes the learning opportunities within each story, as people are more likely to emulate role models of the same sex, ethnicity, and same skill level of any particular activity.6, 7, 8

Challenges & Lessons

The characters and stories within Pragmatic Princess were developed to be symbolic models for a range of behaviors that span four areas of human development.

Within each story in Pragmatic Princess, the main character in is confronted with a typical childhood challenge (e.g., a fear of trying something new or schoolyard bullying) and models a wide range of skills and ideas to navigate these challenges, such as problem solving, flexible thinking, and resourcefulness. The use of real-world situations and a diverse cast help the readers relate to the characters and experiences, which is critical to fostering observational learning and the successful aquisition of the skills modeled in each of the stories.

Intellectual

Intellectual development refers to the language learning, reasoning skills, and problem-solving abilities. The specific areas of intellectual development addressed by the characters and stories within Pragmatic Princess include:

Cognitive flexibility
A skill that allows us to think about something in more than one way. Cognitive flexibility is an executive skill key essential for problem solving.9
Initiative taking
Taking charge of a situation and the willingness to get things done and take responsibility. Taking initiative is a self-management skill, and one of five key life and work skills for young adults. There various benefits associated with taking initiative, including confidence, self-awareness, and creativity.10, 11
Positive thinking
Being able to approach unpleasantness in a more positive way. The Mayo Clinic found that positive thinking and positive self-talk have a range of benefits, including lower levels of stress, greater physical immunity, better psychological well-being, and better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.12

Social

Social development is the process of gaining the knowledge and skills needed to interact successfully with others. The specific areas of social development addressed by the characters and stories within Pragmatic Princess include:

Camaraderie
Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. Camaraderie is a vital element of friendship and essential for social and emotional development.13, 14
Encouragement
The action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope. Encouragement is a critical skill for leadership.
Generosity
The act of being generous. Research has found that extending generosity can lead to improved self-esteem, a better immune system, and even a longer life span.15
Perspective taking
The act of perceiving a situation or understanding a concept from an alternative point of view is an essential social skill. We need to be able to understand how others see the world in order to effectively work together and show empathy and understanding.

Emotional

Emotional development refers to changes in understanding feelings and appropriate forms of expressing them. The specific areas of emotional development addressed by the characters and stories withinPragmatic Princess include:

Empathy
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. Empathy has been linked to stronger, more meaningful relationships, occupational success, and higher quality of life.16
Gratitude
The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is an important skill for fostering empathy.17
Self-confidence
A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement. Self-confidence is linked to almost every element involved in a happy life.18

Moral

Moral development is the growing understanding of what is right and wrong, and the change in behavior caused by that understanding, sometimes called conscience. The specific areas of intellectual development addressed by the characters and stories withinPragmatic Princess are:

Sportsmanship
Fair and generous behavior or treatment of others. Good sportsmanship teaches teamwork, respect for others, and emphasizes the roles of fair play.19
Honesty
The quality of being honest. This crucial life skill is learned in childhood, often through modeling.20
Responsibility
The state or fact of being accountable for something. The opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization. Being responsible is key to children's success in school.21

Meet the Characters!

  • So she decided to no longer stress,
    and to never again try to be less.
    What other people thought, did not matter,
    it was just frustration, idle chatter.

    Quinn the Quick
    Drawing of Quinn the Quick
  • “Focus on the good in others and everyday,
    and don't ever let anyone take your joy away.”

    Eliana the Energetic
    Drawing of Eliana the Energetic
  • “Asking questions and seeing for yourself,“ she smirked,
    “is the only way to know how and why things work.“

    Christina the Curious
    Drawing of Christina the Curious
  • “I think that everyone is special in their own way,
    and has something to offer each and every day.
    I think remembering that makes us all more kind,
    and hospitable to every person we find.”

    Xena the Xenial
    Drawing of Xena the Xenial
  • “The next time you feel curious about something,
    go to the person directly without judging.
    You'll learn so much more by talking to each other,
    than from hearsay or gossip with one another.”

    Ruby the Ready
    Drawing of Ruby the Ready
  • “When we learn about other people and places,
    foreign traditions and customs, other races,
    we begin to foster our sense of charity,
    and set roots for the cornerstones of empathy.”

    Lina the Leader
    Drawing of Lina the Leader
  • Zoe went on, “If we never try something new,
    we'll never know how much that we can really do.”

    Zoe the Zealous
    Drawing of Zoe the Zealous
  • “Remember the importance of following through,
    because keeping your word is the right thing to do.
    Be sure to always show up when you say you'll come,
    so your responsibilities don't go undone.”

    Paige the Protector
    Drawing of Paige the Protector
  • She didn't let a fear of failing make her frown,
    and insisted, “Failures should never slow us down,
    they are simply a first attempt to teach us how,
    to be better and stronger, right here and right now.”

    Valerie the Victorious
    Drawing of Valerie the Victorious
  • So she decided to no longer stress,
    and to never again try to be less.
    What other people thought, did not matter,
    it was just frustration, idle chatter.

    Quinn the Quick
    Drawing of Quinn the Quick
  • “Focus on the good in others and everyday,
    and don't ever let anyone take your joy away.”

    Eliana the Energetic
    Drawing of Eliana the Energetic
  • “Asking questions and seeing for yourself,“ she smirked,
    “is the only way to know how and why things work.“

    Christina the Curious
    Drawing of Christina the Curious
  • “I think that everyone is special in their own way,
    and has something to offer each and every day.
    I think remembering that makes us all more kind,
    and hospitable to every person we find.”

    Xena the Xenial
    Drawing of Xena the Xenial
  • “The next time you feel curious about something,
    go to the person directly without judging.
    You'll learn so much more by talking to each other,
    than from hearsay or gossip with one another.”

    Ruby the Ready
    Drawing of Ruby the Ready
  • “When we learn about other people and places,
    foreign traditions and customs, other races,
    we begin to foster our sense of charity,
    and set roots for the cornerstones of empathy.”

    Lina the Leader
    Drawing of Lina the Leader
  • Zoe went on, “If we never try something new,
    we'll never know how much that we can really do.”

    Zoe the Zealous
    Drawing of Zoe the Zealous
  • “Remember the importance of following through,
    because keeping your word is the right thing to do.
    Be sure to always show up when you say you'll come,
    so your responsibilities don't go undone.”

    Paige the Protector
    Drawing of Paige the Protector
  • She didn't let a fear of failing make her frown,
    and insisted, “Failures should never slow us down,
    they are simply a first attempt to teach us how,
    to be better and stronger, right here and right now.”

    Valerie the Victorious
    Drawing of Valerie the Victorious
  • So she decided to no longer stress,
    and to never again try to be less.
    What other people thought, did not matter,
    it was just frustration, idle chatter.

    Quinn the Quick
    Drawing of Quinn the Quick
  • “Focus on the good in others and everyday,
    and don't ever let anyone take your joy away.”

    Eliana the Energetic
    Drawing of Eliana the Energetic
  • “Asking questions and seeing for yourself,“ she smirked,
    “is the only way to know how and why things work.“

    Christina the Curious
    Drawing of Christina the Curious
  • “I think that everyone is special in their own way,
    and has something to offer each and every day.
    I think remembering that makes us all more kind,
    and hospitable to every person we find.”

    Xena the Xenial
    Drawing of Xena the Xenial
  • “The next time you feel curious about something,
    go to the person directly without judging.
    You'll learn so much more by talking to each other,
    than from hearsay or gossip with one another.”

    Ruby the Ready
    Drawing of Ruby the Ready
  • “When we learn about other people and places,
    foreign traditions and customs, other races,
    we begin to foster our sense of charity,
    and set roots for the cornerstones of empathy.”

    Lina the Leader
    Drawing of Lina the Leader
  • Zoe went on, “If we never try something new,
    we'll never know how much that we can really do.”

    Zoe the Zealous
    Drawing of Zoe the Zealous
  • “Remember the importance of following through,
    because keeping your word is the right thing to do.
    Be sure to always show up when you say you'll come,
    so your responsibilities don't go undone.”

    Paige the Protector
    Drawing of Paige the Protector
  • She didn't let a fear of failing make her frown,
    and insisted, “Failures should never slow us down,
    they are simply a first attempt to teach us how,
    to be better and stronger, right here and right now.”

    Valerie the Victorious
    Drawing of Valerie the Victorious
  • So she decided to no longer stress,
    and to never again try to be less.
    What other people thought, did not matter,
    it was just frustration, idle chatter.

    Quinn the Quick
    Drawing of Quinn the Quick
  • “Focus on the good in others and everyday,
    and don't ever let anyone take your joy away.”

    Eliana the Energetic
    Drawing of Eliana the Energetic
  • “Asking questions and seeing for yourself,“ she smirked,
    “is the only way to know how and why things work.“

    Christina the Curious
    Drawing of Christina the Curious
  • “I think that everyone is special in their own way,
    and has something to offer each and every day.
    I think remembering that makes us all more kind,
    and hospitable to every person we find.”

    Xena the Xenial
    Drawing of Xena the Xenial
  • “The next time you feel curious about something,
    go to the person directly without judging.
    You'll learn so much more by talking to each other,
    than from hearsay or gossip with one another.”

    Ruby the Ready
    Drawing of Ruby the Ready
  • “When we learn about other people and places,
    foreign traditions and customs, other races,
    we begin to foster our sense of charity,
    and set roots for the cornerstones of empathy.”

    Lina the Leader
    Drawing of Lina the Leader
  • Zoe went on, “If we never try something new,
    we'll never know how much that we can really do.”

    Zoe the Zealous
    Drawing of Zoe the Zealous
  • “Remember the importance of following through,
    because keeping your word is the right thing to do.
    Be sure to always show up when you say you'll come,
    so your responsibilities don't go undone.”

    Paige the Protector
    Drawing of Paige the Protector
  • She didn't let a fear of failing make her frown,
    and insisted, “Failures should never slow us down,
    they are simply a first attempt to teach us how,
    to be better and stronger, right here and right now.”

    Valerie the Victorious
    Drawing of Valerie the Victorious
  • So she decided to no longer stress,
    and to never again try to be less.
    What other people thought, did not matter,
    it was just frustration, idle chatter.

    Quinn the Quick
    Drawing of Quinn the Quick
  • “Focus on the good in others and everyday,
    and don't ever let anyone take your joy away.”

    Eliana the Energetic
    Drawing of Eliana the Energetic
  • “Asking questions and seeing for yourself,“ she smirked,
    “is the only way to know how and why things work.“

    Christina the Curious
    Drawing of Christina the Curious
  • “I think that everyone is special in their own way,
    and has something to offer each and every day.
    I think remembering that makes us all more kind,
    and hospitable to every person we find.”

    Xena the Xenial
    Drawing of Xena the Xenial
  • “The next time you feel curious about something,
    go to the person directly without judging.
    You'll learn so much more by talking to each other,
    than from hearsay or gossip with one another.”

    Ruby the Ready
    Drawing of Ruby the Ready
  • “When we learn about other people and places,
    foreign traditions and customs, other races,
    we begin to foster our sense of charity,
    and set roots for the cornerstones of empathy.”

    Lina the Leader
    Drawing of Lina the Leader
  • Zoe went on, “If we never try something new,
    we'll never know how much that we can really do.”

    Zoe the Zealous
    Drawing of Zoe the Zealous
  • “Remember the importance of following through,
    because keeping your word is the right thing to do.
    Be sure to always show up when you say you'll come,
    so your responsibilities don't go undone.”

    Paige the Protector
    Drawing of Paige the Protector
  • She didn't let a fear of failing make her frown,
    and insisted, “Failures should never slow us down,
    they are simply a first attempt to teach us how,
    to be better and stronger, right here and right now.”

    Valerie the Victorious
    Drawing of Valerie the Victorious
  • So she decided to no longer stress,
    and to never again try to be less.
    What other people thought, did not matter,
    it was just frustration, idle chatter.

    Quinn the Quick
    Drawing of Quinn the Quick
  • “Focus on the good in others and everyday,
    and don't ever let anyone take your joy away.”

    Eliana the Energetic
    Drawing of Eliana the Energetic
  • “Asking questions and seeing for yourself,“ she smirked,
    “is the only way to know how and why things work.“

    Christina the Curious
    Drawing of Christina the Curious
  • “I think that everyone is special in their own way,
    and has something to offer each and every day.
    I think remembering that makes us all more kind,
    and hospitable to every person we find.”

    Xena the Xenial
    Drawing of Xena the Xenial
  • “The next time you feel curious about something,
    go to the person directly without judging.
    You'll learn so much more by talking to each other,
    than from hearsay or gossip with one another.”

    Ruby the Ready
    Drawing of Ruby the Ready
  • “When we learn about other people and places,
    foreign traditions and customs, other races,
    we begin to foster our sense of charity,
    and set roots for the cornerstones of empathy.”

    Lina the Leader
    Drawing of Lina the Leader
  • Zoe went on, “If we never try something new,
    we'll never know how much that we can really do.”

    Zoe the Zealous
    Drawing of Zoe the Zealous
  • “Remember the importance of following through,
    because keeping your word is the right thing to do.
    Be sure to always show up when you say you'll come,
    so your responsibilities don't go undone.”

    Paige the Protector
    Drawing of Paige the Protector
  • She didn't let a fear of failing make her frown,
    and insisted, “Failures should never slow us down,
    they are simply a first attempt to teach us how,
    to be better and stronger, right here and right now.”

    Valerie the Victorious
    Drawing of Valerie the Victorious
  • So she decided to no longer stress,
    and to never again try to be less.
    What other people thought, did not matter,
    it was just frustration, idle chatter.

    Quinn the Quick
    Drawing of Quinn the Quick
  • “Focus on the good in others and everyday,
    and don't ever let anyone take your joy away.”

    Eliana the Energetic
    Drawing of Eliana the Energetic
  • “Asking questions and seeing for yourself,“ she smirked,
    “is the only way to know how and why things work.“

    Christina the Curious
    Drawing of Christina the Curious
  • “I think that everyone is special in their own way,
    and has something to offer each and every day.
    I think remembering that makes us all more kind,
    and hospitable to every person we find.”

    Xena the Xenial
    Drawing of Xena the Xenial
  • “The next time you feel curious about something,
    go to the person directly without judging.
    You'll learn so much more by talking to each other,
    than from hearsay or gossip with one another.”

    Ruby the Ready
    Drawing of Ruby the Ready
  • “When we learn about other people and places,
    foreign traditions and customs, other races,
    we begin to foster our sense of charity,
    and set roots for the cornerstones of empathy.”

    Lina the Leader
    Drawing of Lina the Leader
  • Zoe went on, “If we never try something new,
    we'll never know how much that we can really do.”

    Zoe the Zealous
    Drawing of Zoe the Zealous
  • “Remember the importance of following through,
    because keeping your word is the right thing to do.
    Be sure to always show up when you say you'll come,
    so your responsibilities don't go undone.”

    Paige the Protector
    Drawing of Paige the Protector
  • She didn't let a fear of failing make her frown,
    and insisted, “Failures should never slow us down,
    they are simply a first attempt to teach us how,
    to be better and stronger, right here and right now.”

    Valerie the Victorious
    Drawing of Valerie the Victorious

The characters of Pragmatic Princess were developed to represent a range of shapes, sizes, abilities and disabilities, and traditional and non-traditional families.

For example, Eliana relies on a wheelchair to get around. Ursula uses her hands to communicate. Isabel lives with her grandmother. Ophelia is being raised by a single father, Tabitha by a single mother. Harriet and Jasmine come from mixed-race families. Yuna lives with her adoptive parents and siblings.

It was important to incorporate diverse backgrounds into the characters' lives for them to reflect the diverse world we live in. It was equally important that these details were not the central theme of the stories themselves as our shape, level of ability, and what our family unit looks like are just some of the many parts of who we are and not necessarily the defining feature of our stories.

Pragmatic Princess Characters

Meet the Creators

Author

Dr. Rachel Kowert is a research psychologist originally from Austin, Texas and currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a mom of two children and a pug named Cid. She has previously published several non-fiction books.

Illustrator

Randall Hampton is an author, illustrator, husband and father of 3. He is the creator of "The Little Game Master" series of books and considers himself a story teller above all else. When he is not spending time with family and friends, Randall enjoys reading, video games, music, and table top games of all sorts.

References

  1. Bautista, N. U. (2011). Investigating the Use of Vicarious and Mastery Experiences in Influencing Early Childhood Education Majors’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 22(4), 333-349. doi:10.1007/s10972-011-9232-5
  2. Fayyaz, N. (2018, September 29). Why role models are important. Dawn. Retrieved from https:// www.dawn.com/news/1435581
  3. Whitbourne, S. K., Ph.D. (2013, November 19). We All Need Role Models to Motivate and Inspire Us. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https:// www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201311/we-all-need-role-models-motivate-and-inspire-us
  4. Ranson, A. (2016, March 14). The importance of rhyme in early literacy development. Retrieved from https:// theimaginationtree.com/the-importance-of-rhyme-in-early-literacy-development/
  5. Pre-Reading Skills - How to introduce pre-reading to your child. (2017, September 20). Retrieved from https:// www.thelearningtree.ca/blog/child-education/pre-reading-skills/
  6. Andsager, J. L., Bemker, V., Choi, H., & Torwel, V. (2006). Perceived Similarity of Exemplar Traits and Behavior: Effects on Message Evaluation. Communication Research, 33(1), 3-18. doi:10.1177/0093650205283099
  7. Ito, K. E., Kalyanaraman, S., Brown, J. D., & Miller, W. C. (2008). 10: Factors Affecting Avatar Use in a STI Prevention CD-ROM. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(2), 19. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.11.052
  8. Meichenbaum, D. H. (1971). Examination of model characteristics in reducing avoidance behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 17(3), 298-307. doi:10.1037/h0030593
  9. Rosen, P. (n.d.). Flexible Thinking: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https:// www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/executive-functioning-issues/flexible-thinking-what-you-need-to-know
  10. Rawlings, L. (n.d.). What is Initiative and Why is It Important? Retrieved from https:// www.youthemployment.org.uk/yp-article/what-is-initiative-and-why-is-it-important/
  11. By. (n.d.). 9 Benefits of Taking Initiative. Retrieved from https:// lizjansen.com/initiative/
  12. How to stop negative self-talk. (2017, February 18). Retrieved from https:// www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950
  13. Riordan, C. M. (2014, August 07). We All Need Friends at Work. Retrieved from https:// hbr.org/2013/07/we-all-need-friends-at-work
  14. Children and the benefits of friendship. (n.d.). Retrieved from https:// www.lifeeducation.org.au/parents/children-and-the-benefits-of-friendship
  15. Barish, K., Ph.D. (2012, December 21). Nurturing a Spirit of Caring and Generosity in Children. Retrieved from https:// www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/pride-and-joy/201212/nurturing-spirit-caring-and-generosity-in-children
  16. Ioannidou, F., & Konstantikaki, V. (2008, Fall). Empathy and emotional intelligence: What is it really about? International Journal of Caring Sciences, 1(3), 118-123.
  17. Empathy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https:// www.berkeleywellbeing.com/empathy.html
  18. Markway, B., Ph.D. (2018, September 20). Why Self-Confidence Is More Important Than You Think. Retrieved from https:// www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/shyness-is-nice/201809/why-self-confidence-is-more-important-you-think
  19. Line, R. (n.d.). Five Reasons Good Sportsmanship Matters. Retrieved from http:// theseason.gc.com/coach-advice-five-reasons-good-sportsmanship-matters
  20. Ditkowsky, A. (2018, October 13). For Families: Tips for Encouraging Honesty. Retrieved from https:// mcc.gse.harvard.edu/resources-for-families/tips-encouraging-honesty
  21. Teaching Responsibility to Children. (n.d.). Retrieved from https:// centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/responsibility-and-chores/developing-responsibility-in-your-children/