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Women Warriors: Myths and Legends of Heroic Women

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From days of old, they have intrigued people all over the world: brave, defiant warrior women who stir imaginations, rouse passions, and often inspire thousands of followers. These fierce and fearless spirits are goddesses, queens, and peasants; they are children, young women, and adults in the winter of their years. From the story of Britain's proud queen Boadicea to that of the Sioux warrior Winyan Ohitika, Marianna Mayer re-creates twelve thrilling tales of war and bravery, bitterness and triumph. Twenty-four ...

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Overview

From days of old, they have intrigued people all over the world: brave, defiant warrior women who stir imaginations, rouse passions, and often inspire thousands of followers. These fierce and fearless spirits are goddesses, queens, and peasants; they are children, young women, and adults in the winter of their years. From the story of Britain's proud queen Boadicea to that of the Sioux warrior Winyan Ohitika, Marianna Mayer re-creates twelve thrilling tales of war and bravery, bitterness and triumph. Twenty-four full-color illustrations and a map, bibliography, and annotated index are included in this striking anthology for all ages.

A collection of twelve traditional tales about female military leaders, war goddesses, women warriors, and heroines from around the world, including such countries as Japan, Ireland, and Zimbabwe.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
A rich text filled with twelve anecdotes drawn from international folklore, this is a wonderful collection about women warriors ranging in geographical location from Africa to Japan. These women as military leaders, war goddesses and heroines demonstrate the strength of the females and their capabilities to persevere. Each story is approximately three to five pages in length, and is retold in a captivating manner that reveals the passion of the warrior's cause. While providing insight into the lives of heroic women, this book also lends inspiration for those who are deeply committed to a cause. A spectacular tale is that of Queen Gwendolen, who makes a courageous yet violent move in the name of righteousness, more specifically for the sanctity of the marriage vow. Gwendolen, the warrior queen of Britain, slays her husband Locrin, who is found committing adultery. Real social issues and human foibles such as adultery, greed, competition and pride surface in this book making these tales timeless in nature. Rich illustrations boldly capture these heroines. An excellent choice for a teacher to use for studying historical and mythical women while opening the door for lively discussion. 1999, Morrow Junior Books/HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12, $18.00. Reviewer: Melinda Tierney—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Twelve stories of heroines are told in accessible, rhythmic prose. The myths and legends derive from a broad cultural base, representing India, Africa, Japan, North America, and the British Isles, and tell of goddesses, military leaders, queens, tribal members, and others. Each three- to six-page selection is prefaced by comments on its origin and history and accompanied by a full-page watercolor painting showing the protagonist in action. The book includes an informative introduction, a pronunciation guide, and a map locating heroic females from around the world. These stories would be great for reading aloud or to begin a discussion on motif and derivation. Teachers might also like to introduce them in a comparative literature class as some of the tales are similar to other well-known works, e.g., the story of Yakami, a young Japanese girl who kills a sea dragon, parallels the ancient Chinese legend of Li Chi, which in turn resonates through the work of Lawrence Yep. A sound addition to folklore collections.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688155223
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/29/1999
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 9 years
  • Lexile: 1000L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Marianna Mayer lives in Roxbury, Connecticut.

"I see folktales and myths as humankind's first stories," says Marianna Mayer. "They are a kind of collective dreaming, filled with timeless symbols and images we can all relate to, regardless of age or culture. And, much as an oyster must be disturbed by a grain of sand in order for the pearl to be created, I often choose to retell stories in which I find unresolved fragments that are somehow perplexing to me."

Though widely known as a children's book writer, Marianna Mayer's early education focused on visual art. "It seems to me there was never a time when I didn't want to be an artist, " she says. "I liked to tell stories with pictures and compose music. My sister and I put on plays made up from my stories. And then I decided to start writing a book, at the age of nine." She published her first book at the age of nineteen. After college, she studied painting at the Art Students League in New York City. Her experiences as an artist provided many images that she began to incorporate into writing. Gradually, she shifted to the written word as a medium of expression. She explains, "I began to feel more freedom when using words as my paints and plots as my canvases.

"While in the midst of a writing project, I live so much in my mind that what takes place in my imagination becomes quite real to me. I try to become part of the culture of a particular tale as much as possible. While working on Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, for example, I read all I could about Russia. What I learned about Slavic mythology helped to deepen my understanding of the story. I listened to Russian music, ate Russian food (which I love!), and tried in other small ways to enter into the essence of that culture."

"My writing is deeply personal. First and foremost I write for the child who still lives within me. Then to the child in others, whether that child resides in a young person or an adult. I'm striving to reach out to that spirit of wonder within us all. The stories I was told as a child, those half-remembered folktales and myths, have become the foundation for what I continue to work on in my books. The sense of hope that books instilled in me as a child saw me through many difficult times. Because of this, I choose characters who face overwhelming odds but triumph through courage and perseverance. Similarly, myth allows a child to believe in his or her own dreams and can instill a boundless hope for the future."

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