Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bad Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple

Bad Girls by Jane Yolen

Bad Girl Power! This book is full of fun, engaging stories about powerful women in history, many of whom were labeled as "bad girls". Catherine the Great, labeled the "Queen of Coups" had two sons who were not (gasp) from the tsar of Russia! When her husband leaves, a palace coup occurs, and guess who is granted the charge of the kingdom? You guessed it! Catherine. She was pretty ruthless in ensuring she was the queen on the throne. There are so many other stories of women who were "bad", and though this book and its content sin my opinion is written for students 13 and older, I am certain that teachers will enjoy reading stories about "bad" girls who paved the way in history. The short illustrations at the end of each story provide a little vignette and insight in to the lives of Jane and Heidi. 

From Jezebel to Catherine the Great, from Cleopatra to Mae West, from Mata Hari to Bonnie Parker, strong women have been a problem for historians, storytellers, and readers. Strong females smack of the unfeminine. They have been called wicked, wanton, and willful. Sometimes that is a just designation, but just as often it is not. "Well-behaved women seldom make history," is the frequently quoted statement by historian and feminist Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. But what makes these misbehaving women "bad"? Are we idolizing the wicked or salvaging the strong?

Happy reading!

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