I don’t often review elementary school books, but every so often a really good book comes along, and I can’t resist. As a father, Library Media Specialist, and educator, I constantly look for ways to inspire young children to dream big, and then make those dreams their reality. When I first heard about Queen Girl Publications, I was instantly drawn to the idea of of taking the stories of inspiring women and turning them into fairy tales. Not only do these books have strong, multicultural female protagonists, but they transport readers into stories that grab their attention, and inspire them to realize that the only limitations in life are the boundaries of our dreams.
As a father to a three-year-old little girl who is obsessed with every Princess that Disney can create, I often find myself towing a line between letting my little girl be a princess, and inspiring her to be a great scientist or inventor or lawyer or doctor or politician or whatever she wants to be. I’ve found that I have to spend a lot more time looking for stories that have well-rounded female protagonists that will leave my daughter inspired, than I do searching for stories with well-rounded male protagonists that will leave my son inspired. So I found “Bessie, Queen of the Sky” and read it to my daughter. One thing that appealed to me about the books from Queen Girl Publications is that all of the girls become Queens, not Princesses. This particular story is inspired by Bessie Coleman, the world’s first black female to earn her pilot’s license.
My daughter instantly loved the story, and the amazing illustrations, and wanted me to read it again. What I found to be one of the greatest aspects of the book, is that it gave us an easy segway into a surprisingly fluid back and forth conversation about overcoming obstacles and working hard to do things that nobody ever thought would be possible. The book did a great job at taking the true story of Bessie Coleman and bringing it down to a level that my daughter could understand, which allowed the conversation to contain really good two-way dialogue, that prior to reading this, I didn’t even think would be possible.
I am very excited for the next book from Queen Girls Publishing, and I know my daughter is as well. The Queen Girls Publications website has “Isadora, the Rebel Queen” and “Savi, Queen of Education” listed as the next books to be released. The following are the write-ups listed for each book:
Isadora, The Rebel Queen
Inspired by the story of Isadora Duncan, a ballerina who danced away from rigid ballet technique towards what she perceived as natural movement. Influenced by the sea, she started dancing like no one ever did before, imitating the waves of the sea with her arms and feet – She defied conventionalist minds by creating what today we refer to as Modern Dance or “Barefoot Style.”
Savi, Queen of Education
Inspired by the story of Savitribhai Phule, a woman poet, an educationalist and a social reformer, Savi was one of the earliest crusaders of education for girls in India. She defied all odds to become the first female teacher at the first women’s school founded by her and her family.
Another great feature of these books is that co-founders Jimena Durán and Andrea Doshi are so committed to fighting illiteracy and empowering young girls, that for every book purchased, they donate one book to local and international organizations to help kids reach their dreams. During this new school year, I plan on sharing “Bessie, Queen of the Sky” with the elementary school students, and sharing Ms. Durán and Ms. Doshi’s story with the middle and high school students. With a mission of giving girls a positive view of life and helping them envision their dreams as possible, while also giving back to the community to help fight illiteracy and empower girls across the world, Queen Girls is definitely a publishing company to keep an eye on.