Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World

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Overview

In 1963 Jane Yolen released a book called PIRATES IN PETTICOATS, because the idea of women as pirates fascinated her—but there wasn't much information about these women who made their livelihoods plundering on the high seas. Scholars have dug up a bounty of new information since then, and Jane, still fascinated, revisits the ladies who loot.

Discover such great pirates as Artemisia, the Admiral Queen of Persia who sailed the seas from 500 to 480 BC. At one point there was a ...

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Overview

In 1963 Jane Yolen released a book called PIRATES IN PETTICOATS, because the idea of women as pirates fascinated her—but there wasn't much information about these women who made their livelihoods plundering on the high seas. Scholars have dug up a bounty of new information since then, and Jane, still fascinated, revisits the ladies who loot.

Discover such great pirates as Artemisia, the Admiral Queen of Persia who sailed the seas from 500 to 480 BC. At one point there was a 10,000 drachma prize for anyone who could capture her. There was Rachel Wall, who ran away from her strict upbringing and became a murderous pirate terrorizing the waters of the Atlantic coastline of America. She was hanged for her deeds. Possibly the most famous woman pirate of all was Grania O'Malley, daughter of an Irish chieftain. She plagued the English and was arrested several times, always gaining her freedom to pirate some more. Meet ten other female pirates on their ships, in battle, and in disguise in this intriguing look at the wayward women of the waves.

Christine Joy Pratt's pen-and-ink illustrations are alive with action and excitement. Here be a true and accurate account of the most low-down, scurviest—but the prettiest—black-hearted pirates you'll ever love to read about.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leslie Smith
Pirates appear in several works of children's fiction. Though these larger-than-life villains are usually male, Yolen's historical text clarifies that female pirates did exist. Yolen and Pratt's nonfiction picture book gives historical accounts of several women pirates from around the world while also providing readers with the fictional stories about these brave, blood-thirsty, booty-plundering women. Even though sailors often considered the presence of a woman on board a ship to be bad luck and the ship to be the only "lady" of the sailors' affections, some exceptional women chose to conquer the man's world of seafaring. Although this book celebrates these courageous women by telling their stories, it also maintains the reality that all pirates—women included—are vicious, if not villainous. The exciting lives of these "Sea Queens" require no embellishment. Each story offers a stimulating reading and visual experience for children and adults alike. Reviewer: Leslie Smith
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6- Most of what is known about the earliest "sea queens" is the stuff of story and legends. Yolen carefully notes what has been documented and what may be exaggeration throughout these brief biographies. An introductory chapter clears up some common misconceptions about pirates and pirating. Using recent scholarship on the subject, this collection crosses the oceans to include both familiar and unfamiliar names. Beginning with Artemisia in the 5th century BC and ending with Madame Ching in the 19th century, the profiles include Queen Teuta, Alfhild, Grania O'Malley, Charlotte de Berry, Lady Killigrew, Pretty Peg, Anne Bonney, Mary Read, Rachel Wall, and Mary Anne Talbot. Alternate spellings are listed, and sidebars provide supplementary and high-interest information. A gold-embossed binding and black-and-white scratchboard illustrations give a period feel to this handsome volume. Women pirates about whom there is a lack of adequate information for inclusion are mentioned.-Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI

Kirkus Reviews
Piracy wasn't pretty, but sometimes it was sanctioned. It was always bloody and sometimes lucrative. Yolen tells the tales of 13 female pirates, from Persia to China, from 500 years before the Common Era to the 19th century. Not only does she tell them vividly, she also strives to untangle fact from fiction, history from legend, highlighting the telling details that will draw kids in. Alfhild of Denmark, for instance, kept a pet viper to ward off would-be suitors. Jeanne the Lioness of Brittany sold her castles and lands, outfitted three ships and attacked French vessels along the coast of Normandy to avenge her murdered husband. Rachel Wall was the last woman to be hanged on Boston Common, in 1789. A concluding "Roundup" includes a list of women pirates about whom only a few sentences are known. This volume is very prettily produced, with Pratt's gorgeous pen-and-ink-on-scratchboard illustrations and tailpieces. Sidebars with further tidbits, definitions, legends and historical records embellish the pages. Young pirate princesses (and princes) will be dazzled. (bibliography, websites, index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580891318
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 1,370,569
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 1040L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen is the award-winning author of nearly three hundred children's books, including BAD GIRLS, L:AST LAUGHS, SNOW,SNOW: WINTER POEMS (Boyds Mills), and THE ROGUES (Philomel). She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of the Americas. Jane lives in Western Massachusetts and Scotland.

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Table of Contents

The Sea Queens 1

Artemisia, Admiral-Queen, Persia, 500-480 BC 9

Queen Teuta, Illyria, circa 230 BC 13

Alfhild, Denmark, ninth century 19

Jeanne de Belleville, Brittany, fourteenth century 27

Grania O'Malley, Ireland, sixteenth century 31

Lady Killigrew, England, late sixteenth century 45

Pretty Peg and the Dutch Privateer, Holland, seventeenth century 51

Charlotte de Berry, England, mid-seventeenth century 55

Anne Bonney and Mary Read, American colonies, early eighteenth century 59

Rachel Wall, United States of America, late eighteenth century 73

Mary Anne Talbot, England, late eighteenth century 77

Madame Ching, China, early nineteenth century 81

Roundup 89

Bibliography 94

Index 100

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted September 19, 2013

    Today, September 19th, was Talk Like a Pirate Day, so I thought

    Today, September 19th, was Talk Like a Pirate Day, so I thought today would be the perfect day to read Sea Queens.  I was right -- I love it when that happens.
    Sea Queens is wonderfully well-researched, but it does not read like a textbook.  Actually, if textbooks read like this, I would have been far more interested in history when I was in school.  It reads like a well-told tale that happens to be factual.  I devoured it quickly, I learned quite a bit, and I will be re-reading it over the years. 
    The illustrations are not necessary -- this book would still be interesting and accessible without them -- but they do add a layer of intrigue.  The woodblock style artwork is a perfect choice for the subject matter.

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