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Jahanara: Princess of Princesses (The Royal Diaries)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  3,451 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
In the 1600s, the Mughal emperors of India were among the greatest rulers of the East. Jahanara is the daughter of one of these ultra-rich and powerful figures, Shah Jahan The Magnificent. The oldest and favorite of his children, she is showered with emeralds, diamonds, and rubies, and is attended by numerous servants and learned tutors. Yet, her world is not one of pure c ...more
Hardcover, 187 pages
Published September 2002 by Scholastic
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Community Reviews

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May 13, 2008 Mary rated it liked it
CIP Summary:
The first line will grab the reader "My father has four wives, but I am the daughter of the one he loves most...", it sure grabbed me. The main character of this diary style book is Princess Jahanara, daughter of 17th century Indian Emperor Shah Jahan. As a female member of the royal family she leads a cloistered existence behind the opulent screens of the harem, yet her voice and her life feel surprisingly active. This book is part of the popular "Royal Diaries" series and like othe
Cecily Duffie
May 07, 2015 Cecily Duffie rated it did not like it
One star because I loved learning about such a different princess. But every time Lasky writes a non-white, non-European princess she completely whitewashes her and I hate it The only guy around this girl flirts with is a white guy with blue eyes who is supposed to be so handsome. It's completely unrealistic! She's been raised in a place with different cultural norms and standards of beauty and instead of trying to understand that and write it, Lasky ignores it. The same with Jahanara wearing a ...more
Jinny (Lost-At-Sea Book Reviews)
3.5, (but I rounded up for Goodreads).

In comparison to the rest of the Royal Diaries series, it’s less exciting, however, I still find Jahanara to be an excellent book, especially as a starting point to get kids interested in Indian culture. I read this book for the first time in late elementary/early middle school and I remember it was this book that got me interested in the culture. For those who do not know who Jahanara is, she was the oldest daughter of the Indian emperor Shah Jahan, who bui
Arabi Krishnakumar
I really enjoyed this book. It told me a lot about what happened in India a long long time ago.I was astonished by the amazing and dreadful events that happened. This book even includes some pictures about the characters. It showed the family tree, a few Indian words, the map of the Moghul Empire and much more!
Jan 20, 2013 Alivia rated it liked it
If your into history and long lost opinions then you'll love reading the royal diaries by Kathryn Lasky. Jahanara will expand your mind to the unknown suspicions of a royal family. You'll find that even in the circle of trust some of your own will become corrupt to the lust for power. Jahanara will describe the treasures and glory of being a royal. having gems gifted would be an everyday thing. And owning more than a couple elephants is normal. The immensely different but intriguingly similar tr ...more
Emily Whelchel
Feb 28, 2016 Emily Whelchel rated it really liked it
What I Liked

Recently I ordered a handful of these Royal Diaries books because they were some of my favorite as a kid. I remember Jahanara being one of my favorites, probably due to the lavish and yet unbelievably private qualities of her life. Jahanara was forbidden to marry, forbidden to be seen by men other than her close relatives, and she could only view the outside world from behind a screen.

Despite the fact that Jahanara is essentially a prisoner throughout the novel, she lives in luxury t
Carrie Slager
Feb 14, 2014 Carrie Slager rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-borrowed
This was my first introduction to the splendor that was India and I have to say it was great! Kathryn Lasky obviously did her research and included many little details that tween readers will love, however I cannot and will not comment on the accuracy of Jahanara: Princess of Princesses. Unlike with ancient Egypt and ancient Rome, I know next to nothing about India and I’m certainly not about to pretend I do.

Jahanara herself is a very good character that many readers will look up to. She believe
Kelsey Hanson
This story was very interesting, particularly because it focuses on a culture that I do not know much about. Jahanara had a very unique position and was surrounded by court intrigue even though she was still relatively young. It was interesting to see how these political leaders were able to navigate the different cultures and religions.
Sarah Crawford
Feb 03, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it
This is a story of royalty in pre-British India, at a time when it was ruled under its own people. The country was still divided into Muslim and Hindu, something which tended to result in problems in that time and even in the present time. How hate-filled some people can become in the name of their religion does not seem to have changed at all over time.

As often happens in stories of royalty, there is love, loss, betrayal, hate and pretty much everything else going on. There is also some unusua
Ashley W
I last read this when I was eleven so I didn’t remember too much about it. After re-reading it, I figured out why I didn’t. Nothing much happens. It’s just a day to day description of Indian/Muslim life in Shah Jahan’s court. I did love learning about the culture, but I kept hoping for something exciting to happen. Towards the end of the book, important things do happen but it seems so forced that I felt like I was left hanging. As always, I enjoyed the historical notes at the end. Poor Jahanara ...more
Rachel Jackson
Jan 17, 2014 Rachel Jackson rated it liked it
Jahanara is not a Royal Diaries book I remember reading in my youth, although I must have, but when I recently reread it, I felt indifferent about it. I thought the constant themes of belonging and family were a good thread to connect the entire book with, not to mention the running motif of Nur Mahal's evilness. All of those stories helped keep the story moving.

Like most of the Royal Diaries books, though, Jahanara moved too fast. There was too much time that would pass between diary entries an
This is okay. It's nonEurocentric, which is nice, and has an engaging story. Unfortunately, I don't think it was structured very well. However, the details are lovely and Jahanara has an engaging voice. Good for kids interested in princesses not European.
Gigi Anderson
Jul 13, 2014 Gigi Anderson rated it it was amazing
Jahanara is truly the princess of princesses. The way she interacted with everyone was fantastic and it felt like everything she did would have immediate repercussions and consequences for all eternity. The amazing thing was that despite this she was always the one that ended up on top. I must mention that while I loved the princess she was not the only character that I liked in fact many of the characters were interesting and could probable have there own story.The most surprising thing of all ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Shivani rated it it was amazing
Being Indian, I enjoyed this story. I also learned a lot more about the Mogul Empire and their rule. Overall it was an interesting story to me.
Sydney Miller
A quick and easy read! I read most of this series when I was younger and decided to pick it back up again, and how wonderful it is! As an adult this is an amazing book, it's a look into history without feeling the boredom that can sometimes come with "adult books".
The story of Jahanara is one I have never heard before, so this "diary" taught me a lot. I enjoyed most the clips at the end about the family's history and about past rulers in India.
I believe The Royal Diaries series is a very simpl
Jenna Jakubowski
Mar 18, 2016 Jenna Jakubowski rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!!!!!!!!!!!! I really like the Princess Diaries Series.
Apr 26, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookmans
i like this book

P.S.Jahanara is one brave girl
When I think of my favorite female historical figures, they seem for the most part to fit into two categories: the badass, independent women who do what they want and don't care about consequences (Anne Boleyn, Cleopatra, Elizabeth I), and the tragic, doomed women who were victims of their circumstance and time period (Marie Antoinette, Anastasia Romanov). Of the five women I just named, the latter four have installments in the Royal Diaries, the sister series of Dear America. I loved this serie ...more
May 27, 2016 Kelly rated it it was ok
Shelves: written-by-women
This one's a bit of a mixed bag. All the political intrigue and family bonding was great, but there were weird problematic plot points that bugged me.

The first was Jahanara's obsession with Elizabeth I after she receives a miniature medallion portrait of her. Elizabeth suddenly becomes a huge source of inspiration to Jahanara, so much so that she wants to know the tiniest details about Elizabeth and even begins wearing the portrait as a necklace. Her biggest inspiration is a white lady? I love
Jan 21, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it
First let me start off by saying that I've always loved Kathryn Lasky's moving stories that capitivate me, drag me in, and ultimately leave me with true emotional feeling.
Jahanara: Princess of Princesses was a novel written in a series by various authors specifically written about historic girls born into noblity's ruling families and such. The series contains stories about Eleanor of Aquitaine, Cleopatra, Anastasia, and more.
This particular novel tells the tale of Jahanara, Shah Jahan's (the k
May 19, 2010 Autumn rated it really liked it
Fascinating fictional (yet researched) account of court life of Jahanara, first daughter of Shah Jahan (Emperor of India) and his beloved wife Mumatz Mahal (for whom he built the Taj Mahal). Interesting to read about the life of women, even princesses and empresses, in India where they were not to be seen by men outside of the court and could be attended to only by eunuchs. Very interesting was the description of how doctors (who were all male) were not allowed to see the royal women, so in orde ...more
Nicole Davis
Mar 18, 2016 Nicole Davis rated it liked it
A fictional diary of a young and famous princess named Jahanara, other wise known as the ‘Princess of Princesses’. At the age of fourteen, Jahanara faces many challenges. Moving back into the palace after years of exile, her father becoming king, her brothers return from captivity, and the change she sees in them are only naming a few. Every day she struggles with the feeling of being trapped in the confines of the palace and having to be masked by the veils of purity when out in public or havin ...more
Steeped in period detail and related with immediacy by an intelligent, sensitive, 14-year-old princess, this entry in the Royal Diaries series transports readers to seventeenth-century India during the Moghul Dynasty.

Jahanara, favorite daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan and the most beloved of his four wives, writes about family jealousies, court intrigues, and war strategies, as well as the extravagant lifestyle of her royal family, who live in a setting where wall murals of flowers crafted in gem
Caitlin W.
Daughter of Shah Jahan, who would later build the Taj Mahal, Jahanara is an Indian princess surrounded by wealth and beauty. This book, written as though it were her diary written in her early teenaged years, lets us peek into her world-- a world of gems, gold, delicious food, and no hard labor, but also a world of political maneuverings, occasional poisonings, and isolation. She and her father's wives and harem are not allowed to be seen by the outside world, and spend their lives looking out a ...more
Jan 16, 2011 Mena rated it it was amazing
Until I did a search for the Royal Diaries books I hadn't had a chance to read when I was a child, I'd never heard about Jahanara. But as soon as I got a look at the cover and read the premise, it was quickly on its way to me in the mail.

I adore reading about the strong women that lived in harems, and books that show readers that no, harems are not just where sultans/emperors/etc kept their pampered bedmates to be called upon whenever it tickled his fancy. Jahanara is a wonderful protagonist and
Vibina Venugopal
Mar 26, 2013 Vibina Venugopal rated it really liked it
Teenage ramblings of princess Jahanara , she is the daughter of Moghul emperor Shahjahan..Jahanara had everything she ever desired for jewels studded with precious gemstone, luxury in short a life of opulence and splendor ..Being the favorite daughter of her father, she could have anything even before she wished...But then when the emperor Shah jahan lost a battle life wasn't that good as a prisoner but then winning back the throne and being crowned as the king are quite entertaining...The inter ...more
Ana Mardoll
Feb 23, 2011 Ana Mardoll rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Jahanara, Princess of Princesses / 0-439-22350-4

This is a fascinating look at another culture. Jahanara is "Princess of Princesses" because she is the favorite daughter of her father. As such, and unlike the princesses of Europe, she will never marry, remaining unwed and under her family's roof all her life, serving as a counselor and entertainer for her father and brothers. As such, she is a beloved and famous princess, but there are no portraits or pictures of her, for she was only ever seen b
Amanda Yeargin
Mar 26, 2009 Amanda Yeargin rated it it was amazing
I read Jahanara: Princess of Princesses. This book is about a girl named Jahanara who is trapped in her parents kingdom. She has two brothers working for the snake of India. The snake is the most evil woman and she has Jahanara's brothers working for her. She tries to find a way to calm herself. If you want to know more then read the book.

I have an text-to-self connection. I connect to this book becuase sometimes i would like to get out of my apartment more. I don't exactly live in a palace bu
Turtles All the Way Down
I have a test I've barely studied for this thursday, a french essay due tomorrow that I still need to proof read, an essay due friday that I still haven't finished outlining, and I still took time out of my very busy day to read this book from start to finish. That's how much I remember loving this book when I was 12. This is the book that got me hooked on Historical fiction and history itself.

Remembering how fond I was of this book eight years ago, I decided to reread it today, and I'm glad I
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Maria
Cover Story: Elephant in the Room
BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Dear Diary
Bonus Factors: Moghul Empire, Being a Princess
Anti-Bonus Factor: Being a Princess
Relationship Status: Sisters for Life

Read the full book report here.
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Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her latest book, Guardians of Ga'Hoole Book 15: The War of the Ember, was released on November 1, 2008. Guardians of Gahoo ...more
More about Kathryn Lasky...

Other Books in the Series

The Royal Diaries (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 (Royal Diaries #1)
  • Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile - 57 B.C. (Royal Diaries #2)
  • Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466 (Royal Diaries #3)
  • Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria - France, 1769 (Royal Diaries #4)
  • Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914 (Royal Diaries #5)
  • Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595 (Royal Diaries #6)
  • Kaiulani: The People's Princess, Hawaii, 1889 (Royal Diaries #7)
  • Lady of Ch'iao Kuo: Red Bird of the South, Southern China, A.D. 531 (Royal Diaries #8)
  • Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia, England, 1829
  • Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country

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