No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure

Overview

A female pharaoh? A woman general in the Kahn's army? A female Viking raider? No way, you say? Look again. Appearances can be deceiving ? Based on legends, poems, letters and first-hand accounts, these seven biographical tales tell of women who disguised themselves as men. From ancient Egypt through the Middle Ages to the 19th century, this historically accurate graphic treatment is perfect to transport readers back to bygone eras. The lives of these daring women were often filled with danger and the fear of ...
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Overview

A female pharaoh? A woman general in the Kahn's army? A female Viking raider? No way, you say? Look again. Appearances can be deceiving ? Based on legends, poems, letters and first-hand accounts, these seven biographical tales tell of women who disguised themselves as men. From ancient Egypt through the Middle Ages to the 19th century, this historically accurate graphic treatment is perfect to transport readers back to bygone eras. The lives of these daring women were often filled with danger and the fear of discovery. However, for the sake of freedom, ambition, love or adventure, these women risked everything. No Girls Allowed brings a contemporary edge to a part of history largely untold ? until now.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
No Girls Allowed is simultaneously edgy and rounded, an instant hit of innovative storytelling.

... the stories in this graphic novel are as exciting as they are motivational.

... Hughes’s simple language and Dawson’s clean, black-and-white ink drawings steer the work in the same no-nonsense direction and do an adequate job of presenting this uniquely themed offering.

VOYA - Angelica Delgado
Spanning 3,000 years of world history and four continents, this title presents a collective biography of seven gender-bending women. Hatshepsut donned a pharoah's garb to advance her power in ancient Egypt. Mulan and Sarah Rosetta Wakeman posed as male soldiers to fight the Huns and the Confederate Rebels, respectively. Alfhild and Esther Brandeau rebelled against Europe's gender roles by sailing the high seas as men. James Barry was born a woman but lived as a man for years, pursuing higher education and eventually becoming an eminent surgeon in the British Army. The brevity and graphic format makes the book quick, easy, and eye-catching. It might serve best as a springboard for research ideas. A lack of citations or sources makes it unsuitable for reports, yet it provides just enough tantalizing information about each subject to whet the reader's appetite to seek out other resources. Hughes and Dawson offer a meager list of seven further reading recommendations (one for each person profiled) that are geared toward a juvenile audience. Two of the suggestions are, oddly enough, novels instead of nonfiction. The illustrations are stark, woodcut-esque renderings of action in black and white. Sometimes, however, the lack of detail makes it difficult to discern the main subject from the other characters, particularly in the profile of Hatshepsut. Nevertheless the book is probably one of the few-perhaps only-graphic works available on this topic. Reviewer: Angelica Delgado
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
This is a nonfiction graphic novel, if you know what I mean. In dramatic b/w graphics, Hughes and Dawson tell readers about these women: Hatshepsut, Mu Lan, Alfhild, Esther Brandeau, James Barry, Ellen Craft, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman. So, you can see that the subject matter goes from Ancient Egypt, to medieval China, to pirates, to the Underground Railroad and the Civil War—and a few more periods of history. The vocabulary is as challenging as is found in graphic novels for this age group, and there are suggestions for further research. Good middle school material, but also not too childish for even older adolescents. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
Children's Literature - Michael Jung
Girls rule in this graphic novel, which tells seven stories of women from different historical periods who dressed up as men to live the lives they wanted. Drawing from myths, legends, and documented true stories, Susan Hughes and Willow Dawson relate the story of Hatshepsut, daughter of Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose I, who became Egypt's ruler for 20 years as the pharaoh "Hatshepsu." Other chapters examine the famous English doctor "James Barry" who masqueraded as a man for most of her life to practice medicine. There is the tale of Alfhild, a Scandinavian princess who posed as a man to join a ship of Vikings—and wound up joining an entire band of woman pirates posing as men. And most readers will know the story of Mulan—the legendary woman from the Chinese poem The Ballad of Mulan who became a general in the Khan's army—although the story and character are somewhat different from the Disney version in this rendition. In general, Dawson's black-and-white art is serviceable, but lacks distinctive faces, making it difficult to tell certain characters from each other. The novel ends with an essay by Hughes on the history of gender limitations as well as a list of additional books about the women featured in the graphic novel that can be useful in crafting lesson plans. Reviewer: Michael Jung
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
The graphic-novel format gives these true tales of daring women a bold look. These seven historic figures, including the Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut, Chinese warrior Mu Lan and escaped slave Ellen Craft, all dressed as men to embrace power or avoid danger. With dramatic pen-and-ink artwork, Willow Dawson vividly interprets the stories carried largely in dialogue by Susan Hughes. One panel shows the physician "James Barry" binding her breasts in order to practice medicine (a profession forbidden to women), another reveals her advocating for slaves. These gripping biographies show young readers how much we stand in the debt of the brave women who came before us. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5

Seven stories, in chronological order, introduce women in various times and countries who passed for men in order to get around restrictive societal codes. Most of the selections are quietly charming, with a mild wit in their execution. The bold black-and-white art clearly depicts each account, allowing breathing room for both the occasional piece of visual flair and the accessible narratives. Most of the stories feel similar in tone and presentation. There are variations in the storytelling, just not always for the best. The chapter on James Barry is curiously disconnected, as if the author were lacking credible sources, and the one on Ellen Craft is considerably narrower in scope and event than those of her fellows. But the tale of the Viking pirate Alfhild is undeniably fun, and the ending and message with regard to a girl fighting during the American Civil War provide an effective close for the volume. Amiable and slight, the book ends with a brief list of books that expand on each figure.-Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH

Kirkus Reviews
This collective biography in graphic form depicts the lives of seven women from a range of eras and cultures who each reached the conclusion that they could only attain their goals by posing as men. Featuring both historical figures that may be recognizable to kids (Ellen Craft, Mu Lan) and those more obscure (Hatshepsut, Alfhild), the collection offers a succinct overview of each. Early on, a pedantic tone is established that seems at odds with the graphic format and distances readers by telling them rather than allowing them to experience these stories ("Hatshepsut slowly transformed her public image"). Readers with particular interest in women's history, however, will find that Hughes's simple language and Dawson's clean, black-and-white ink drawings steer the work in the same no-nonsense direction and do an adequate job of presenting this uniquely themed offering. Source notes are not included, though there is a short list of further reading and a largely superfluous afterword. (Graphic biography. 8-12)
CM Magazine
No Girls Allowed is simultaneously edgy and rounded, an instant hit of innovative storytelling.
Library Media Connection
... the stories in this graphic novel are as exciting as they are motivational.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554531783
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 767,173
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Hughes an award-winning author, whose books for children include Case Closed?, No Girls Allowed, Earth to Audrey and Virginia. She has loved horses since she was a child and has long dreamed of setting a story on Sable Island. Susan lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Willow Dawson is an illustrator and writer working out of Toronto, Ontario. Her recent work includes No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure and Lila and Ecco's Do-It-Yourself Comics Club.

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