Fewer than three years after its debut, the New York Times best-selling children’s book series The Princess in Black has surpassed one million copies in print, with four volumes released and the fifth due out this September, the Walker Books Group announced today.
“Twinkle, twinkle, little SMASH! We are so delighted for Shannon and Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham to have cracked the one-million-copy mark with their hilarious and exuberant Princess in Black series,” said Karen Lotz, group managing director of the Walker Books Group.
The first volume in the series, The Princess in Black, published in 2014, introduced readers to “prim and perfect” Princess Magnolia, who hides a dark secret: after a quick trip to the broom closet to trade her glass slippers for a dark cape, she becomes superhero the Princess in Black, protecting goats from ravening monsters. The New York Times said of the first volume: “This charmingly told book has lovely old-fashioned illustrations and a great message: You can’t judge a princess by the colour of her gown.”
The Princess in Black’s success was followed in 2015 by The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party and in 2016 by The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde and The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation, which has been released in paperback in Australia and New Zealand this month. Books in the series are aimed at children ages 5 through 8.
Authors Shannon and Dean Hale said they were “overwhelmed” to have reached the million-copy milestone and especially gratified to hear from parents whose children’s reading lives have been transformed by the series.
“We selfishly wrote The Princess in Black for our own kids. But after getting LeUyen Pham’s fantastic illustrations and going out into the world, the books got a response that has frankly brought us to tears. There is nothing, nothing like hearing from parents that their kid ‘didn’t like to read until the Princess in Black and now reads all the time.’”
Illustrator LeUyen Pham said that the series enabled her to revisit a dream of being a superhero that seemed distant to her when she was a shy and “not very coordinated” little girl.
“Every time I get to draw the Princess in Black battling it out with yet another monster, that seven-year-old inside of me is squealing with delight. Here’s hoping that all seven-year-olds who read these books feel the same!”
Senior executive editor Sarah Ketchersid attributed the success of the series to its near-universal appeal. “One of the things I always loved about the stories is that there truly is something here for every child, whether they love princesses in pretty dresses or superheroes in black masks, monster-fighting action or just plain silly humour.”
The fifth Princess in Black book, The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate, will be published September 2017.
About the creators:
Shannon Hale and Dean Hale are the award-winning husband-and-wife team behind the Princess in Black series, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Shannon Hale is also the author of the Newbery Honor Book Princess Academy as well as the New York Times best-selling series Ever After High. Shannon Hale and Dean Hale live in Salt Lake City, Utah.
LeUyen Pham is the illustrator of many books for children, including God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and Aunt Mary’s Rose by Douglas Wood. LeUyen Pham lives in California.
ABOUT THE WALKER BOOKS GROUP
The Walker Books Group is one of the world’s leading independent publishers of books and content for children. This vibrant international group includes Walker Books UK, London; Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts; and Walker Books Australia, based in Sydney and Auckland. Renowned for its truly original publishing and outstanding quality, the Walker Books Group is home to books for readers of all ages. Award-winning authors and illustrators for the group include National Ambassador for Children's Literature, Kate DiCamillo, M.T Anderson, Patrick Ness, and Jon Klassen, and major brands for the group are Maisy, Guess How Much I Love You, Tilly and Friends, the widely acclaimed Judy Moody and the bestselling Where’s Wally.