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  • Published: 29 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143775638
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $21.00

The Lighthouse Princess

The 2021 Storylines Gavin Bishop Award-winning picture book is a delightful contemporary fairytale about an independent princess, who looks after a very special lighthouse lamp, fishes off the balcony and goes swimming with seals.

A vibrant modern fairytale about a lighthouse-keeper princess who rescues a boy in a storm – winner, Storylines Gavin Bishop Award 2021.

"Do you need rescuing from this tower?" he asked her.
"No," she said, "I like it here."

The Lighthouse Princess is almost perfectly happy. She takes care of the light that keeps ships at sea safe, catches fish off the balcony and swims with penguins and seals.

But one day, a little fishing boat with green sails sets out just as a storm blows up...

Poet Susan Wardell's debut picture book is a celebration of independence and friendship, with magical and award-winning illustrations by Rose Northey, recipient of the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award 2021.

  • Published: 29 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143775638
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $21.00

About the authors

Susan Wardell

Susan Wardell is from Dunedin, New Zealand. She lives by the harbour, and teaches at the University of Otago, while raising two small humans and a modest indoor jungle. Alongside academic writing Susan publishes in a variety of creative genres. Her poetry, micro-fiction, book reviews and literary essays have been published in a variety of journals throughout Australasia, and won several awards. Her first picture book for children, The Lighthouse Princess, was selected for the 2021 Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Illustration, and earned Susan and illustrator Rose Northey the Best First Book Award at the 2023 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Rose Northey

Rose Northey is a Takapuna-born, Wellington-based illustrator and poet. She spent her childhood sketching animals with her grandfather and mother, doodled her way through an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and after three comfy years in Product Development Engineering realised she wanted to try her luck at a creative career. At first Rose focused on performance poetry, but one day by accident, when her domestic flight was delayed by fog, she began sketching portraits of other waiting passengers to pass the time and rediscovered her joy for drawing. These portraits led to play, play led to commissions and commissions led to learning more about digital painting and gradually discovering the exciting world of illustration. Rose has been working full time as a creative for two years now. She has produced her own comedy fringe show (titled “Open your mouth and I will poet all over your face”) and has fully illustrated a visual novel game for the indie studio, SkyBear Games. A TedxAuckland Alumni and the current champion of the Going West Writers Festival Poetry Grand Slam, Rose brings a sense of joy and silliness to all of her art forms. She won the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Illustration in 2021, producing illustrations for Susan Wardell's story The Lighthouse Princess.

Praise for The Lighthouse Princess

The Lighthouse Princess is a perfect book. It’s full of cosy nooks and light touches – there are chocolate fish in the sea, friendly penguins that pop inside for a bath – but it’s also hardout feminist, in a matter-of-fact way that sits so much better than all those strident girl power books the shops are flooded with...My two-year-old daughter adores it and so does my seven-year-old son, and so do I. All by itself this book is enough to shore up my faith in our children’s publishing industry.

Catherine Woulfe, The Spinoff

A story of independence, confidence and capability...The more you look, the more you see, providing the reader more pleasure at every reading. Simply stunning!

Adele Broadbent, What Book Next?

The Lighthouse Princess is the most scintillating picture book I have read in ages...Each page is a picnic spot of delight, the words reverberate and the illustrations gift intricate visual layers.

Paula Green, NZ Poetry Box

An empowering book for young girls who don't need rescuing thank you very much. The story will get young readers thinking about whether they're like the princess already or aspire to be like this princess. It'll get young readers seeing the world a little differently...where females are not damsels in distress in every book. The Lighthouse Princess has themes of friendship, independence, and child power. For kids who are fascinated with lighthouses and who like books that make them feel they are strong too...I turned the pages and saw (for the first time) the girl capturing the moon and placing it on the lighthouse to use as a beacon for ships and boats sailing past. It reminded me of Maui capturing the sun, but here's a princess capturing the moon and she's using it for good. Sharp-eyed young readers will delight in finding this sub-story.

Maria Gill, Kids Books NZ

Fairytale for your fierce princess

Whanganui Chronicle

Fantastic, terrific, wonderful, brilliant – honestly we’re enchanted by this new picture book and we can’t wait to see what Wardell and Northey come up with next.

Unity Books Children's Bestseller Chart, The Spinoff

A magical contemporary fairytale about a very independent young woman. With delightful illustrations from Northey this is a sure-fire hit on the big day.

The great, late Christmas book guide for kids, The Spinoff

...this isn't some cliché; this book celebrates independence and friendship. Magical illustrations round out this perfect package.

NZ Booklovers

To find a take on the traditional princess tale, that isn’t just good but GREAT, is a joy...Yes. This is the kind of book we need.

Annelies Judson, The Baby Bookdel Test

Awards & recognition

Storylines Notable Book Award

Awarded  •  2022  •  A Storylines Notable Picture Book

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Winner  •  2023  •  Best First Book Award

NZ Booklovers Award

Shortlisted  •  2023  •  NZ Booklovers Award for Best Children’s Picture Book

Discover more

The Lighthouse Princess colouring sheet

Colouring in is the perfect afternoon activity! Why not download this gorgeous colouring sheet for The Lighthouse Princess for your little one?

The Lighthouse Princess spot the difference

Spot the difference between these two beautiful illustrations by Rose Northey from The Lighthouse Princess!