From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–A beautiful book from cover to cover. A portrait of Princess Njinga (of Matamba c. 1582-1663) graces the cover of the volume, representing the qualities of strength, pride, and conviction that the six royal women profiled in this title possessed. Hansen's introduction addresses the varied nature of the continent's land and people and informs readers that the six "…princesses and queens whose stories are told in this book give us views of Africa we do not often see." The map of the continent that faces this introduction features small portraits of each person positioned over the area in which she lived and ruled. Each chapter covers the life and times of one leader from Hatshepsut (c. 1497-1457 B.C.) to Elizabeth of Toro (1940-), and opens with a stunning, full-page portrait. In addition, there are quality reproductions of artwork and photos of artifacts, sites, and individuals. In the early profiles, the author sometimes shares what she imagines the women might have thought or felt given the time or circumstance. Chapters on later individuals include a few quotes. Captions and occasional sidebars add additional information. These intelligent and dedicated women all overcame obstacles, took risks, and often challenged the status quo. Their stories will provide inspiration to all readers.–Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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Gr. 4-8. The history is compelling in this collective picture-book biography of six highly successful African women--warriors, builders, businesswomen, and administrators--whose exciting personal stories show the rich diversity of the continent and celebrate their achievements during times when most women had little power. From Hatshepsut of ancient Egypt and Amina of sixteenth-century Zaria (now part of Nigeria) to contemporary Princess Elizabeth of Toro, a Ugandan lawyer, model, foreign minister, and U.N. ambassador, Hansen's lively, well-researched accounts bring close each woman's struggle and place it within the context of her country's changing politics and culture. The spacious book design is inviting: the paper is thick and glossy, the type is small but clear, and attractive geometric designs border the pages. The six full-page artist renderings of the women are glamorized, but there are also plenty of fully captioned historic prints and photos of carvings and artifacts. Hansen is always careful to distinguish fact from surmise, and her research will stimulate readers to find out more. Unfortunately, the bibliography is very brief, and there's no further documentation, even for direct quotes. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved