Courageous Queens, by Angela Buckingham, Illustrations by Debora Islas
Courageous Queens brings us ten previously untold stories of fearless, resilient and clever women throughout history who have held positions of leadership and power around the world. These women have fought for their people, made ground-breaking discoveries, and persevered through tumultuous times.
Each story is breath-taking - filled with adventure and action, kindness and humanity. I imagine young readers will be spellbound while reading about the remarkable achievements of these women against seemingly impossible odds. Once I started reading these stories I couldn't put them down. The writing style flows effortlessly, and is accessible for all ages. The author draws us immediately into the story, setting up the place and surroundings through descriptions of sights, smells and sounds, transporting us back to these moments in time.
I was particularly taken with the story of the daring Queen Lakshmibai who daringly attempts to escape the invading British on horseback with her young son. I also loved learning about the observant Queen Leizu's surprising discovery as she rests under her favourite mulberry tree, and Nanny's fearless campaign to free slaves from British plantation owners.
The illustrations accompanying these stories are a visual delight - exquisite use of light and colour highlighting the strength and beauty of these women.
I love that these stories work to reverse the prevailing less than positive narrative of women in power (for example the evil stepmother or Queen in fairytales). Additionally, these stories add the voices of strong and empowered women to the overwhelmingly male-centred stories of men in positions of power throughout history. We are shown the human side of these great female leaders.
The stories are empowering, exciting, fast-paced and completely compelling, and shine a light on the true meaning of bravery.
Centralising the voices and experiences of women empowers our young readers - both girls and boys - to understand the ways in which women have contributed to and helped shape our history. I would love to see more stories like these shared with our young people throughout schools.
Published by Five Mile Books