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Sea Queens Hardcover – July 1, 2008

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Sea Queens + The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 1040L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge; 1 edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580891314
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580891318
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,356,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Much has been discovered about female 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 pirating trade that it’s hard to say with absolute certainty that all the women pirates on these pages are real.” The lack of in-text documentation is a disappointment, and although the scratchboard illustrations work well as portraits, the unlabeled maps fall flat. Still, the book is filled with fascinating, dramatically told stories and sidebars, and this could serve as good starting point for further research, as well as discussions about historical accuracy and bias. Grades 4-7. --Gillian Engberg

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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.

Thirteen female pirates of varying infamy, villainy, and tenacity are presented in Jane Yolen's chronological listing of various deeds and misdeeds. After clearing up some piratical misconceptions and truths about the women who worked in that particular field (ballads, clothing, vocabulary, etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy K. Cornell on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This title highlights those women we seldom discuss: PIRATES! The stories are well written and very useful for everything from Women's history month to unusual biographies. This volume draws the young girl readers into the whole pirate scene. It's a fun read for everyone. Not enough information for reports but definitely great for catching interest to search out more information. Good for school and public libraries and personal collections.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for stories about women at sea and came across Jane Yolen's, Sea Queens book. Whoever said women were the weaker sex? Yolen starts her nonfiction book with Artemisia, Admiral Queen of Persia: 500-480 BC. What? Lady sea captains in that era? Yes, there were and she continues her exploration of pirate queens through the early 19th century. Yolen has done extensive research and includes three pages of bibliographic references, helpful websites and an index at the end of her book. Stories about pirates are bound to be a little bit violent, but she handles this with a matter-of-fact frankness that does not include gore. She also looks at clothing and disguises worn by the women (a necessity in most cases) as well as the respect they garnered from their ship mates. This is good read for girls with an adventuresome spirit--especially on "talk-like-a-pirate" day.
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Why are only male pirates ever taught in school? The women were far more ruthless, fearless, and often able to command more ships and wreck more havoc than their male counterparts. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed this book and takes pride in telling the boys in her classroom that girls are the best pirates ever while having facts to back her up.
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