Pirate Queens

by Leigh Lewis (Author) Sara Woolley (Illustrator)

Pirate Queens
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

This wow-worthy book proves that women have been making their mark in all aspects of history--even the high seas!

Meet Ching Shih, a Chinese pirate who presided over a fleet of 80,000 men (by contrast, Blackbeard had some 300). Get the scoop on Anne Bonny who famously ran away from an arranged marriage to don trousers and brandish a pistol in the Bahamas. And there are more!

Each pirate profile includes a dramatic original poem presented against a backdrop of gorgeous full-color art by award-winning illustrator Sara Gómez Woolley. Each profile is followed by fascinating information about the real life and times of these daring (and dangerous!) women.

Vetted by the world's leading pirate experts and historians, this book is a cool and edgy gift. It's also perfect for any curious kid who dreams of adventure and for parents who are eager to show their tweens and teens that history is more diverse, daring, and surprising than what is typically found in textbooks.

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Publishers Weekly

Reminding readers that "women have made their mark in every area throughout time," Lewis (It's Not the Puppy) sails into treacherous waters with this ode to women across the globe who ruled the high seas from 520 BCE to 1844 CE. Noting that women turned to piracy for reasons "as varied and complex as the women themselves," the text cites "greed, adventure, pride, revenge, love, nationalism, and sometimes just the lack of any other option." Beginning with Artemisia of Caria, who alternated flying Greek and Persian flags depending on whom she wanted to raid, the narrative also includes Sayyida al Hurra, a Moroccan ruler who sought vengeance after her family's expulsion by raiding Christian ships, and Ching Shih, who helmed a pirate empire that faced the Chinese navy. Lewis combines poetry with prose, introducing each new historical figure in a different verse form, from double sonnet to ghazal. Choppy blocks of text can make the historical narrative hard to follow, but sidebars offer historical facts and trivia alongside photographs and ephemera. Woolley's (Charlotte and the Quiet Place) digital illustrations in the style of classic comics highlight an ethnically inclusive selection of real-life women who commanded ships, wielded cutlasses, and struck fear into the hearts of others. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Leigh Lewis
LEIGH LEWIS is a children's writer and poet who has been "playing pirates" since she could walk. She does her best work in loud cafes, on long journeys, or in bed, late at night while everyone else sleeps. Her adventures on the high seas have enabled her to call many places "home," including Turkey, Greece, England, and Russia, as well as cities all over the United States. Eventually, Lewis navigated her way back to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, where she spends her time dreaming up stories for kids of all ages.

SARA GÓMEZ WOOLLEY is an award-winning children's book illustrator whose clients include Scholastic, Random House, and more. Her recent children's book, Charlotte and the Quiet Place, received a Foreword Reviews 2015 Book of the Year Gold Medal, an IPPY Award Silver Medal, and has been featured in Creative Quarterly's Journal of Art & Design.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
National Geographic Kids
Publication date
January 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JNF042000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Poetry | General
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
JNF025000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | General
JNF066000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Pirates
Library of Congress categories
Children's poetry
Women pirates

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