Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World by Jane Yolen

Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the WorldSea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World by Jane Yolen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I came across this book in the midst of my "where the heck are women in history?" kick. This came up as a recommended resource on lady pirates, so I picked it up from my library.

The book is, indeed, full of information, much of which I didn't know or that I found out from someone who'd read it in this book. It discusses several women pirates, starting well before the time period we normally associate with piracy. Women escaped arranged marriages or lives of prostitution by taking to the sea, and they didn't all have to hide their genders.

The book covers a decent range of time periods and places, but it lacks depth. It's an introductory book for younger readers, not a primary reference. It definitely gets the point across that pirates weren't all male, nor did women pirates have to be a particular type of woman. But this book is a jumping-off point, not where your research should end.

I've always found Jane Yolen's style engaging and easy to follow without talking down to her younger readers. This book is no exception. Once I got past the large print and vivid illustrations, I lost my embarrassment at reading a "kid's book". It's written to be understood by an eight-year-old, and it softens some of the rougher realities of piracy for its younger intended audience. But it's not so childish that parents wanting to screen it for their younger readers would grow impatient with it.

I recommend this to any young readers interested in pirates, and who want to hear more of the story than what's commonly depicted.


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