Just How Wicked Were They?


Girls Meet History’s Most Notorious Women In New Goosebottom Books Series

Society has historically seen powerful women as a threat. When a woman rules a country – or an empire – she is usually treated with hostility and suspicion, whether or not she’s done anything wrong.

Goosebottom Books’ new series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames, profiles six women who wielded great power, from ancient Rome to twentieth-century China—women who accumulated nicknames like “The Black Queen,” and “The Dragon Empress.” Some, like Cleopatra, are well-known, while others, like Cixi, will be new to many young readers. These rulers’ crimes and misdeeds are legendary. But did they really happen? Here, kids can learn the truth about some of history’s most notorious women, and in the process explore and consider a very topical concern: the consequences of name-calling.

The series includes:

Cleopatra “Serpent of the Nile” – She was the richest, most powerful woman in the world, who ensnared men with her cunning and charm. But did Cleopatra deserve to be called the “Serpent of the Nile”?; written by Mary Fisk Pack

Agrippina “Atrocious and Ferocious” – The sister, wife, and mother of Roman emperors, Agrippina was once revered as a goddess. How did she fall so low as to end her life “Atrocious and Ferocious”?; written by Shirin Yim Bridges

Mary Tudor “Bloody Mary” – As Queen of England, Mary Tudor sought to save her country—by burning hundreds at the stake. Was she just a ruler of her times, or did she earn the name “Bloody Mary”?; written by Gretchen Maurer

Catherine de’ Medici “The Black Queen” – Queen of France, Catherine de’ Medici would stop at nothing to keep her family in power. But was she responsible for the nation-wide killing spree that branded her “The Black Queen”?; written by Janie Havemeyer

Marie Antoinette “Madame Deficit” – Although she probably never said “Let them eat cake,” Marie Antoinette indulged while her people starved—earning herself the name, “Madame Deficit.” But was she really heartless?; written by Liz Hockinson

Cixi “The Dragon Empress” – The last empress of China, Cixi brought down not just a dynasty, but a whole system of government. Was she just out of touch, or the evil “Dragon Empress”?; written by Natasha Yim

Each ruler is placed in historical context. Kids learn how each came to power and wielded influence, as well as what she wore and ate. Details help young readers understand the rumors and accusations that swirled through court, castle, and marketplace, and evidence is presented as to whether or not each woman was guilty or innocent. Illustrator Peter Malone’s paintings, along with prints, photos, maps, and historic artifacts, bring the rulers and their eras to life.

Goosebottom Books, founded by award-winning author Shirin Yim Bridges, is a new press that focuses on “fun non-fiction.” Their previous series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Real Princesses, won a silver medal for children’s multicultural nonfiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Learn more at http://goosebottombooks.com.

The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames includes the following books, illustrated by Peter Malone and published by Goosebottom Books. September • Ages 9-13 • 32 pages • $18.95 hardcover.


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