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Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World
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Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World

5.0 1
by Jane Yolen, Christine Joy Pratt (Illustrator)

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Throughout the ages, women from all classes and walks of life turned to pirating out of necessity, desperation, or greed. Meet thirteen female pirates on their ships, in battle, and in disguise.


Throughout the ages, women from all classes and walks of life turned to pirating out of necessity, desperation, or greed. Meet thirteen female pirates on their ships, in battle, and in disguise.

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)

Product Details

Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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Meet the Author

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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Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
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.