‘I pretend I am a princess, so that I can try and behave like one’
Without her beloved father and miles from home, it is very hard for Sara Crewe to like her new life at boarding school. Luckily Sara is always dreaming up wonderful things and her power of telling stories wins her lots of friends. When a letter arrives that brings disastrous news, the wicked headmistress Miss Minchin forces Sara to become a servant. Her lovely clothes and toys are taken away from her. She must work from dawn until midnight. How will Sara cope with her new found poverty? Can her imagination help her overcome this horrible situation?
BACKSTORY: Read why Jacqueline Wilson loves this book and find out which pupil of Sara's school you are most like.
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I'm not sure I could have survived childhood without Frances Hodgson Burnett. My sister and I would crawl into the attic of our suburban American house and pretend we were looking across London rooftops. We'd lost our parents and our money, but perhaps a mysterious monk would visit our miserable garret. -
Sara Crewe is a Cinderella figure... She is intelligent and good humoured with an infectious warmth that embraces the lowliest of her new acquaintances. The sunshine continues when impoverishment and drudgery befall her and she relies on her private fantasies to preserve her natural zest for life. - Guardian
Generations of children have fallen in love with the story of Sara Crewe, the little girl who imagines she's a princess in order to survive the hard times - Daily Mail
I read A Little Princess as a child, and from that there lingers still a whiff of the irretrievable quality of childhood reading. I was mesmerised by the account of Sara Crewe's lavish clothes; silks and satins and velvets - Independent
So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics! - National Association for the Teaching of English
Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Manchester in 1849. After living in poverty, she emigrated to the US in 1865. She wrote over forty books; the best-known today are The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy. She died in 1924.