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Sea Queens
Sea Queens
By author: Jane Yolen   Illustrated by: Christine Joy Pratt
Product Code: 
91318
ISBN: 
978-1-58089-131-8
Binding Information: Hardback 
Ages: 
9  - 12
Availability: 
In stock
Price: $18.95
Qty:
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"O come list a while, and you shall hear..."

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.

This book is good for your brain because:
Nonfiction, Women's History, Multiculturalism







Author's Note

When I wrote an earlier book on women pirates, there was little easily obtained information about them. I didn't know then about Grania O'Malley, or Artemisia, or Teuta. In the over forty years since publication of that book, Pirates in Petticoats, scholars have done much work on the subject of women pirates. This book uses a lot of that new material.

The Sweet Trade

Pirates called pirating "the sweet trade," and it is not surprising that girls and women throughout the centuries took part in it. After all, they already went disguised as boys into the navies and armies around the world, so why not into pirating as well?

Of course, there is so much storytelling, exaggeration, and just plain lying about the pirating trade that it's hard to say with absolute certainty that all the women pirates on these pages are real. I have tried to stick with those that most scholars agree actually lived. Except... except even the real ones have hugely exaggerated exploits attached to their names. It seems that old tars--old sailors--do tend to tell big yarns.



Click here to listen to an interview of Jane Yolen on NPR's Here and Now with Robin Young. The show aired on September 19, 2008--Talk Like A Pirate Day!.
Click here to visit the Sea Queens Website!
Download the cover image.



If you like this book, you'll love these:
  • Pirate Bob
  • A Pirate's Life for Me
  • Fluffly: Scourge of the Sea
  • Rickshaw Girl
  • Amelia to Zora
  • Also Available As:
    Binding Information: Paperback 
    ISBN: 978-1-58089-132-5
    Availability: In stock
    Price: $9.95
    Qty:

    Awards
      
  • A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
      
  • Bookbuilders of Boston's 52nd Annual New England Book Show
      
  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

  • Reviews
      Kirkus Reviews - June 1, 2008
    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.
    Sea Queens tells readers this much is true about pirates: "They pillaged and murdered and sank many ships. Even the women. Especially the women." This gorgeous volume gives pirate-addled little girls the down-and-dirty on 13 female pirates and their riotous misdeeds. It's no easy feat to negotiate the undeniable romance of the pirate and the seamier truth, but veteran Jane Yolen, whose fascination with women pirates stretches back to seventh grade, manages with ease. "I don't think I was ever unaware or dismissive of the nasty elements in pirate histories," says Yolen, an award-winning author who's written almost 300 children's books. "Death and destruction are as much a part of piritania as courage and connivance. The first book I ever wrote about pirates--Pirates in Petticoats--was revised with a warning by my . . . editor. She said, 'Show the horrors, just not finger by finger.' It is advice that has stuck with me."
      Booklist - June 1, 2008
    Much has been discovered about pirates since Yolen wrote her first book on the subject, Pirates in Petticoats, in 1963. This new volume builds on those revelations in 12 portraits of sword-swinging, seafaring women throughout history, from Artemisia, in 500 B.C.E. Persia, to Madame Ching, an early nineteenth-century Chinese woman and named here as "the most successful pirate in the world." A long bibliography is appended, but there are no chapter notes to separate fact from folklore, and Yolen's conclusion further moves her subjects into the territory of legend: "There is so much storytelling, exaggeration, and just plain lying about the pirate trade that it's hard to say with absolute certainty that all the women pirates on these pages are real." . . . Still, the book is filled with fascinating, dramatically told stories and sidebars, and they could serve as a good starting point for further research, as well as discussions about historic accuracy and bias.
      A Fuse 8 Production - July 17, 2008
    Do you remember that whole Girl Power craze roundabout ten or so years ago? It was the oddest thing. Girls were supposed to seek empowerment in an era of Spice Girls and Ally McBeal on the one hand while appreciating Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the other. The term "Girl Power" has long since faded, but the quest continues to find books for our future female leaders that contain ladies with pizzazz. Now the publishing industry is more than willing to churn out a million pretty pink princess books on the one hand and biographies of people like Harriet Tubman and Jane Goodall on the other. That's all well and good, but you know what the problems with these books are? They're all about the GOOD girls. The ones who took on the bad guys and kicked some serious tuchis (metaphorically, usually). I'm all for strong female characters that are pure as newly driven snow, but what about all the bad girls? Is there something to be gained from reading a book about ladies who killed, robbed, and broke the law with impunity? I think so. If boys get their fare share of true life pirate titles, it should be no different for the fairer sex. So gals, if you want to go out and lead a crew of rough and tumble men across the seven seas to fame and infamy, take a gander at Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World, and see how it's done. Just bear in mind that aside from all the moral implications, nine times out of ten you'll reach a nasty, sticky end. Read More
      School Library Journal - July 15, 2008
    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.
      Parent: Wise Austin - September 1, 2008
    Talk about girl power! This slim volume relates the stories of thirteen female pirates throughout history. From Artemisia, in 500 B.C.E. Persia, who led ships in action against Greek city-states, to Madame Ching, an early nineteenth-century Chinese woman who is heralded as the "most successful pirate in the world," the stories are intriguing and well-researched. Piracy is never pretty and Yolen explores the reasons these women turned to a life of violence and danger, outlining what is fact and what is unsubstantiated mythology. Beginning with an overview of pirate lore--vocabulary, the pirate code, and the real scoop on booty--Yolen then provides brief profiles of each pirate. Interspersed are more facts and interesting tidbits about piracy in general, including quotations from other sources and original documents. Although the material is new, the collection is a great complement to Yolen's previous works, Pirates in Petticoats and The Ballad of the Pirate Queens. Girls--and boys--in third through sixth grade will enjoy the mostly-true stories and they are great for sharing on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept 19. (www.talklikeapirate.com)
      Curriculum Connections - October 1, 2008
    Beginning with Artemisia of ancient Persia and ending with China's Madam Ching in the early 19th century, Yolen gives the skinny on a bunch of sword-swinging, cargo-stealing, bold-as-brass buccaneers. Illustrated with alluring pen-and-ink on scratchboard artwork, each lively biographical sketch distinguishes between documented fact and colorful confabulation.
      BayViews - November 1, 2011
    It is a popular belief that pirates were fellows who sailed the world’s ocean and seas flying the skull-and-crossbones flag from the top of their ship’s mast. A pirate was a “low class dog, a dirty down-and-outer” who sported a black patch, and who was usually drunk.

    Though pirates were for the most part thieves who “committed horrible deeds,” they did not all fit the above stereotype. Some pirates were from the upper class, and most worked hard, taking pride in their “democratically-run” ship. Though they might get drunk after a successful raid, much of the time they did their jobs, abiding by the articles of their ship, and living by the honor code they held dear.

    Pirates were not always “fellows” either. Some were women. Indeed a few of the “greatest” pirates of all time were members of the fairer sex. In this book, Jane Yolen tells the stories of some of these women.

    The first account is about Artemisia, who was an admiral and queen around 500BC. It is known that she led pirating raids against neighboring city-states, and she was so successful that the Greeks put a sizeable price on her head for her capture.

    Later in the book we read about Anne Bonney and Mary Read, who many consider to be the most famous women pirates. Anne was raised in the Carolinas, and when she was still very young she eloped with a man called James Bonney. The couple went to the Bahamas, which is where Anne met Calico Jack Rackham. Anne and Jack fell for one another and Anne, dressed as a man, ran away from her husband. She, with Jack and eight other men, stole a sloop called the Vanity and became pirates.

    When Mary Read was still very young, she dressed up as a boy and ran away to sea where she served as a powder monkey. While Mary was serving as a soldier she fell in love ,and after she revealed her true identity, she and her former tent mate were married. Together than ran an inn until Mary’s husband died. Not long after this event, Mary donned trousers and ran off to sea again. When her ship was attacked by pirates, she chose to join the pirate crew, and eventually she ended up serving on the Vanity with Anne Bonney.

    Readers will find this carefully researched and beautifully written book quite fascinating. In all, Jane Yolen tells the stories of thirteen women who became pirates. In addition, she tells us – briefly – about ten other women pirates “about whom little is known.”

    With a text that is complimented by Christine Joy Pratt’s woodcuts, this is a book that will intrigue readers. The stories will remind one that women are just as resourceful as men when it comes to breaking the law, fighting battles, and ruling criminal organizations. In short, they are not to be underestimated.

      Through the Looking Glass - November 21, 2011
    It is a popular belief that pirates were fellows who sailed the world’s ocean and seas flying the skull-and-crossbones flag from the top of their ship’s mast. A pirate was a “low class dog, a dirty down-and-outer” who sported a black patch, and who was usually drunk. Though pirates were for the most part thieves who “committed horrible deeds,” they did not all fit the above stereotype. Some pirates were from the upper class, and most worked hard, taking pride in their “democratically-run” ship. Though they might get drunk after a successful raid, much of the time they did their jobs, abiding by the articles of their ship, and living by the honor code they held dear. Pirates were not always “fellows” either. Some were women. Indeed a few of the “greatest” pirates of all time were members of the fairer sex. In this book, Jane Yolen tells the stories of some of these women. The first account is about Artemisia, who was an admiral and queen around 500BC. It is known that she led pirating raids against neighboring city-states, and she was so successful that the Greeks put a sizeable price on her head for her capture. Later in the book we read about Anne Bonney and Mary Read, who many consider to be the most famous women pirates. Anne was raised in the Carolinas, and when she was still very young she eloped with a man called James Bonney. The couple went to the Bahamas, which is where Anne met Calico Jack Rackham. Anne and Jack fell for one another and Anne, dressed as a man, ran away from her husband. She, with Jack and eight other men, stole a sloop called the Vanity and became pirates. When Mary Read was still very young, she dressed up as a boy and ran away to sea where she served as a powder monkey. While Mary was serving as a soldier she fell in love ,and after she revealed her true identity, she and her former tent mate were married. Together than ran an inn until Mary’s husband died. Not long after this event, Mary donned trousers and ran off to sea again. When her ship was attacked by pirates, she chose to join the pirate crew, and eventually she ended up serving on the Vanity with Anne Bonney. Readers will find this carefully researched and beautifully written book quite fascinating. In all, Jane Yolen tells the stories of thirteen women who became pirates. In addition, she tells us – briefly – about ten other women pirates “about whom little is known.” With a text that is complimented by Christine Joy Pratt’s woodcuts, this is a book that will intrigue readers. The stories will remind one that women are just as resourceful as men when it comes to breaking the law, fighting battles, and ruling criminal organizations. In short, they are not to be underestimated.