Review: Pirate Queens by Leigh Lewis

Pirate Queens by Leigh Lewis

Pirate Queens
Leigh Lewis
Illustrated by
National Geographic Kids
Published January 11, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Pirate Queens

This wow-worthy book proves that women have been making their mark in all aspects of history―even the high seas!

Meet Ching Shih, a Chinese pirate who presided over a fleet of 80,000 men (by contrast, Blackbeard had some 300). Get the scoop on Anne Bonny who famously ran away from an arranged marriage to don trousers and brandish a pistol in the Bahamas. And there are more!

Each pirate profile includes a dramatic original poem presented against a backdrop of gorgeous full-color art by award-winning illustrator Sara Gómez Woolley. Each profile is followed by fascinating information about the real life and times of these daring (and dangerous!) women.

Vetted by the world’s leading pirate experts and historians, this book is a cool and edgy gift. It’s also perfect for any curious kid who dreams of adventure and for parents who are eager to show their tweens and teens that history is more diverse, daring, and surprising than what is typically found in textbooks.

Pirate Queens on Goodreads

My Review

What a cool idea for a book! I had no idea there were female pirate captains, much less that there were so many or that one commanded 80,000 pirates. Wowza.

I like that the author included a note at the beginning of the book talking about why she wrote the book. Basically, her daughters were playing a game and she discovered that they were all thinking of pirates as only men. She wondered if there were female pirates, and from there, the book was born. I also like that she clarifies that this book isn’t to glorify the piracy or romanticize what is a violent life. It’s about bringing to light stories of powerful women who history may have otherwise forgotten.

The book is divided up into six biographies: Artemisia of Caria, Sela, Sayyida al Hurra, Grace O’Malley, Anne Bonny, and Ching Shih. Each biography features a poem telling the story of a critical moment in the pirate captain’s life followed by historical information. I learned a lot of things, and I’m really excited to have read this book.

I think PIRATE QUEENS would make a great addition to a library or classroom, and it’s a great nonfiction book for readers who love seafaring adventures.

Pirate Queens on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Details the lives of six pirate queens. One is Chinese. One is Muslim and Moroccan.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Reference to marriages.

Spiritual Content
Sayyida al Hurra was a Muslim who grew up in Spain when its rulers forced Muslims out of their homes. As a pirate, she specifically sought out Christian vessels as revenge for how she and her people were treated.

Violent Content
References to battles and stealing/looting. References to execution.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of PIRATE QUEENS in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

3 Responses to Review: Pirate Queens by Leigh Lewis

  1. What a great addition to the powerful women in history-themed titles that have been so well-received by readers. Clearly should be on every school and public library’s shelves.

    • Kasey says:

      Yes! I thought so, too. I had no idea there were women pirates, much less women pirates as powerful as these! Really fascinating stuff. ?