Ten Queens: Portraits of Women of Power

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Dutton Children's Books, 1998 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 134 pages
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Powerful female rulers interpreted in striking words and paintings

From the courage and beauty of Esther to the reforming spirit of Catherine the Great. here are essays about ten queens by an author who has been called "arguably the best writer of social history for children and adolescents ever". Meltzer, by his own description, is accustomed to presenting history "from the bottom up", but he takes a "top down" approach for these monarchs, revealing the personal and political natures of women who commanded power not because "they happened to marry a king" but because they "ruled in their own right, by themselves. Or if they sat on thrones beside kings, they had as much or more to say about governing than their husbands".

Most were, by today's standards, astonishingly young. Many were physically powerful, accomplished women. Some were schooled to rule, others not. But all were ambitious, passionate, and determined to hold power. All were subject to suspicion and envy. And all, in their successes and failures, ideals and compromises, assumptions and privileges, present interesting contrasts with the lives of women today.

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User Review  - ADReed - LibraryThing

"Why this book about the ten queens? These are not women who were called queens because they happened to marry a king and had little or nothing to say about ruling the country. These ten were women of ... Read full review

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User Review  - ImperfectCJ - LibraryThing

I read the section about Eleanor of Aquitaine to my kids. It was a little long for a read-aloud, but they followed it fairly well. My daughter seemed excited to learn about Richard the Lionheart and ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Historian Milton Meltzer was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1915. He attended Columbia University, but had to leave during his senior year because of the Great Depression. He got a job writing for the WPA Federal Theater Project. During World War II, he served as an air traffic controller in the Army Air Corps. After the war, he worked as a writer for CBS radio and in public relations for Pfizer. In 1956, he published his first book A Pictorial History of the Negro American, which was co-written by Langston Hughes. They also collaborated on Langston Hughes: A Biography, which was published in 1968 and received the Carter G. Woodson award. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 110 books for young people including Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? about the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression; Never to Forget about the Holocaust; and There Comes a Time about the Civil Rights movement. He also addressed such topics as crime, ancient Egypt, the immigrant experience, labor movements, photography, piracy, poverty, racism, and slavery. He wrote numerous biographies including ones on Mary McLeod Bethune, Lydia Maria Child, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Sanger, and Henry David Thoreau. He received the 2000 Regina Medal and the 2001 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his body of work and his lasting contribution to children's literature. He died of esophageal cancer on September 19, 2009 at the age of 94.

Bethanne Andersen received her MFA from Brigham Young University, and has studied illustration in the Masters Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is the illustrator of But God Remembered: Stories of Women from Creation to the Promised Land. Her work is in many museums and university private collections.

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