Cover of Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen and Heidi E Y Stemple

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink

I was visiting Simon & Schuster and just saying goodbye to my wonderful editor, Alexandra Cooper after a long and thoughtful meeting. Standing at the door, ready to leave, I said, “Is there anything you would love to see, a book you’d always wanted to have.”

She thought a minute, then said, “I am so tired of those books about pink princesses. . .”

“Ah,” I countered immediately, “you mean something like Not All Princess Dress in Pink!”

“You write it and I’ll buy it,” she joked.

And 18 revisions later (maybe more) she did.

It sounds simple. It was not. When I got back home, I talked my daughter Heidi into writing the book with me. Since we both love to rhyme, it came out that way. I began the book with about a half dozen verses which Heidi immediately tore apart and put back together, and so we were away. Though we live next door, most of the time we simply e-mailed our attempts back and forth. Occasionally we had tea (mine Scottish decaf, hers mint or chai) and sat with the printed out manuscript in front of us, arguing over things. And then, of course, Alexandra tore the whole thing apart again and forced us to rethink it.

Even simple-seeming picture books take a LOT of work.


  • NOT ALL PRINCESSES DRESS IN PINK is a finalist for the first ever SCBWI Crystal Kite Award in the New England region.

What reviewers have said:

  • *STARRED REVIEW* “A joyful and much-needed antidote to the precious pink pestilence that has infested picture books aimed at girls.”— Kirkus
  • “A timely tale for today’s active, sporty girls who still like crowns, “Not All Princesses Dress in Pink” is an empowering affirmation of every girl’s unlimited potential. Plus, Languetin’s vividly colored pages add humorous spunk to the zippy, rhyming text.”—
  • “With sparkly crowns jauntily in place, nothing is going to stop these princesses from enjoying all their boundless, limitless “princess power”! We should all be that uncolor-uncoordinated … and gleefully STRONG. Here’s to girl power for ALL ages!”—
  • “The snappy, upbeat illustrations and blithely confident characters are plenty of fun.”—Publishers Weekly
  • “Not All Princesses Dress in Pink seeks to feed the craving of little tots who wish to devour all books with the work “princess” on the title, but could also do with a bit of advice along the way. Subverting the pink, Yolen points out that a gal can be a princess and a couple other things too if she wants to.”—Betsy Bird, Fuse#8 SLJ
  • “It’s a fun celebration of an active lifestyle that highlights both “tomboy” activities (like fixing things with power tools) and traditionally “feminine” activities (like planting flowers) that can be equally active and messy.”—Suite101
  • “This amusing and meaningful picture book will delight girls who, like these princesses, are not afraid to be themselves. These princesses celebrate their intelligence and their athleticism. They embrace “girl power,” which is something every girl out there should feel comfortable doing. With delightful rhymes and amusing illustrations, this is a picture book that every young girl should read.”—Looking Glass Review
  • “If you have a young princess who enjoys the finer things of life, while also playing and getting dirty with the best of them, I highly recommend Not All Princesses Dress in Pink. My daughter and I have enjoyed this book many times, and I know it will have a prominent place in her book basket in the months to come!”—5 Minutes for Books
  • “Popular children’s’ author Jane Yolen joins forces with her daughter, Heidi Yolen Stemple, creating a rhyming book about ordinary princesses with Not All Princesses Dress in Pink. Instead of presenting an unrealistic view of what it means to grow up female, Yolen and Stemple show that girl power comes from life’s ordinary, daily routine. Whether playing baseball or soccer, dancing in the rain, gardening, or biking around town, readers will identify with the young, everyday princesses presented in the book.. . . Bright, colorful backgrounds contrast against the obvious focal point of each spread: the princess going about her routine while wearing a tiara. My four-year-old grandson liked the book and pointed out that the girls in the book play soccer, like he does . . I liked that the text celebrates individuality instead of focusing on stereotypes and gender roles. The message is important: girls can do and be anything, without wearing pink.”—Sacramento Book Review
  • “In this book, a princess can be any girl doing anything, whether it’s getting rough-and-tumble dirty in the mud or building a tree house with power tools. It’s a refreshing twist on the life and legend of royalty with none of the frilly, typical princess characteristics; these girls are independent and know how to have a good time…It’s a great book for celebrating self, even if that self does like to dress in pink now and again!”—Our Time in Juvie