I love these two books because they flip the whole Damsel in Distress thing on its head. As I’m talking about fairy tales at school (with the second graders), these came to mind.

The poor heroine of Brock Cole’s Good Enough to Eat is called many names by the townsfolk. She gets by begging, selling food scraps and paper creations. The townspeople thinks she’s a nuisance, but the mayor insists that the town look after the poor. Then one day an ogre comes to the gate demanding the fairest maiden to be his wife. Everyone, including the mayor, decide that this poor girl (called Scraps-and-Smells, Skin-and-Bones, Sweets-and-Treats) is the perfect offering. They can get rid of her and the ogre at the same time. But our heroine proves more resourceful than they could have imagined, and in the end she has the last laugh over the townspeople and the ogre. The illustrations are fantastic, and this is a great fairy tale story of a clever girl.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is one of my favorite picture books of all time. Princess Elizabeth is all set to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon kidnaps him and burns down everything around her. With nothing to wear but a paper bag, Elizabeth sets off to defeat the dragon and save her prince. But things don’t go quite as she plans with Prince Ronald. A great Girl Power story about a very clever girl and a not very nice prince.