of the Center for Children's Books
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based list of titles available only on-line. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months. |
Women warriors are everywhere these days. Xena, Buffy, and assorted
characters in the new movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, are
at the forefront of popular culture. Here is a Bulletin dozen
which includes fictional as well as historical women who made their mark
in the world by wielding a sword, excelling in martial arts, and defending
their homes, families, and country by means usually associated with men.
Let the adventures begin!
Not all of these extraordinary women could properly be called women warriors, but Joan of Arc and Nzingha, a West African queen, most certainly led their troops in battle, Eleanor of Aquitane went on the Second Crusade at the head of troops of women warriors, and Isabella I of Spain worked with the army on the battlefield behind the scenes as supply organizer and military advisor. (BCCB 9/00)
A dozen heroines from many cultures appear in this anthology. From Hiera, the Amazon queen who defeats a greedy king to Yakami of Japan who slays a sea monster, this collection will lure even reluctant readers. (BCCB 10/99)
This anthology won high praise in our Big Picture for November, 2000. Not all of the heroines fit the warrior profile, but the title story, "The Rebel Princess," and "Tokyo" each have fighting heroines. (BCCB 11/00)
This folktale collection includes many stories of women warriors in tales that may be new to readers. (BCCB 4/00)
Joan of Arc
It seems that every year someone writes a new version of the story of Joan of Arc. Four recent biographies examine one of the most enduring warrior heroines from varying perspectives.
Aimed at a very young audience, Hodges uses simple language to attract new readers to the tale of the Maid of Orléns. (BCCB 12/99)
Joan's story unfolds within-a-story as a modern-day girl living in Orléans longs to portray her heroine in a procession. (BCCB 7/99)
A dramatic telling that focuses on the story as story. Joan's power, drama, and tragedy are strongly portrayed in this excellent introduction for younger readers. (BCCB 9/98)
This detailed approach situates Joan in historical context rather than as a merely dramatic figure. Stanley gives attention to Joan's life as well as the progress of her legend after death. (BCCB 9/98)
Queens, Pirate and Otherwise
We usually think of Cleopatra as a lover more than a fighter, but she, along with Marc Anthony, led the Egyptians in a futile effort to defeat Rome. Brooks captures a Cleopatra who is at once an intelligent stateswoman and a proud Egyptian.(BCCB 12/95)
Grania (a.k.a. Grace) O'Malley is the subject of McCully's rich combination of story and illustration. A highlight of the tale is her meeting with "another woman warrior," Elizabeth I. (BCCB 10/95)
To some, inclusion of Gloriana as a warrior queen may be a stretch, but I can't think of anyone more likely to have taken up arms to defend her turf, had it been necessary. Thomas's entertaining account is filled with historical gossip, but also explores deeper issues of her role in the important political and religous conflicts of the time. (BCCB 12/98)
The only fictional queen in this group, Attolia is determined to hold on her throne no matter what it takes. A dark and complex tale, this will appeal to sophisticated readers who like a taste of political intrigue. (BCCB6/00)
A Miscellany of Female Fighters
Not one but two heroines from the land of Damar. In The Blue Sword, orphan Harry wants to become a proper young lady, but winds up getting kidnapped, training intensively, and then leading an army into battle with the blue sword of the title. The Hero and the Crown, a prequel, tells how Arien, using the same sword, wins acclaim as a slayer of both dragons and evil wizards. For a profile of the author, see this month's focus piece. (BCCB 2/83)(BCCB 10/84)
A fictional treatment of Wu Mei, legendary Ming dynasty scholar, nun, and kung fu master. This account tells how Wu Mei teaches a young woman to defend herself in order to avoid marrying a brigand. The lush illustrations are as much a factor in telling the story as is the excellent text. For a longer review, see the Big Picture from March, 1998. (BCCB 3/98)
Ten-year old Keladry of Mindelan has one year to prove herself worthy of becoming a page (and thence a knight). Despite unfair treatment from her fellow pupils, teachers, and trainers, (all of whom are male) she manages to hang on. In Page, Kel continues her training, remaining true to herself and the knight's chivalric code. (BCCB 6/99)(BCCB 9/00)
It is hardly unusual for a woman to enlist in the army these days, but in 1775, Deborah Sampson had to disguise herself as a man in order to fight for America's freedom with the Continental Army. This version of her life is simply told and serves as an excellent introduction for young readers. (BCCB 9/84)
This page was last updated on February 1, 2001.