The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses from Goosebottom Books -- Women's History Month

Disclosure: I was sent these books to review free of charge from Goosebottom Books. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

Back in January I had the pleasure of reviewing my first Goosebottom Book for Multicultural Children's Book Day. The book was Hatshepsut of Egypt and we learned about the first female pharaoh of Egypt. At the time I reviewed an e-book and loved the book, but now that I have actually seen the hardcover book I have to tell you the e-book does not do it justice. I actually passed on the book to Hazel's school since the third grade class learns about Hatshepsut during their study of Ancient Egypt. The principal loved the book as well. Along with the hard copy of Hatshepsut of Egypt I was sent five more of the books in the Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses to share with you today. I love learning about these amazing women most of whom I had not heard of previously. Update: My review of Isabella of Castile is now published.

What I love about the book series is that the books cover not only when and where the "princess" lived but what she would have worn and eaten. There are so many facts brought in to really bring the reader to the time and place and get a full understanding of the lifestyle of the princess. The pictures are also beautiful throughout the books. Some are photographs and others are drawings.  The first in the series chronologically is Hatshepsut and second is Artemisia of Caria by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Albert Nguyen. 

Artemisia of Caria

Artemisia lived in Caria, part of Ancient Greece. Caria is now the southwest corner of Turkey. She lived during a time when women had less rights than slaves. Women were property of men and were suppose to be more submissive than slaves to the men.This was true even for princesses. However Artemisia grew up as a princess who learned to be a sailor and ship captain. There is not much known about her childhood, but we do know that she became a ship captain and eventually an admiral of a fleet of Ancient Greek's warships. She also spoke her mind even when men did not and she was respected. At one point King Xerxes of Persia was in battle with Ancient Greece. Much of Greece had surrendered to Persia but a few city states refused. Xerxes used all the armies and fleets of Persia and the surrendered city states to fight. Artemisia was one of the admirals and was the only one who told Xerxes his idea to attack after losing a battle was a bad one. He listened but did not take her advice and regretted it. After this he listened to her advice for battles. Hazel got very excited to see King Xerxes in the story since he is also the king in the story of Queen Esther (her favorite Bible story). 

Sorghaghtani of Mongolia

The next book in chronological order is Sorghaghtani of Mongolia by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Albert Nguyen. Sorghaghtani was a princess of the Kereit tribe which is one of the tribes that inhabited the grasslands north of China. When she was eleven or twelve she married ten-year-old Tolui, son of Genghis Khan. This made her a member of the Golden Family. Prince Tolui was earmarked to inherit the ancestral lands. The royal family of Mongolia did not live in a palace, but rather they lived the nomadic lifestyle of Mongolia in gers. The royal gers would be surrounded by other royalty, attendants and guards. While the men were off fighting the women made the decisions as many foreign diplomats would come to request things. The women always made the decisions of when to move and where to move for the animals to have the enough food. 
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Around 1227 Genghis Khan became injured and ill and eventually died. He had commanded his sons and grandsons to work together to conquer the world. Four years later Prince Tolui died. Tolui's brother, the Great Khan Ogodei, made Sorghaghtani the ruler of all of Tolui's lands. He then tried to have her marry his son, Guyuk. She refused since she was too busy educating her four sons. She taught them by example and took the wartorn lands and brought them back to the wealth they once knew. In 1246 Prince Guyuk was made the Great Khan. He moved against the rest of the Golden Family but Sorghaghtani acted quickly and eventually had her eldest son Mongke named the Great Khan with his three brothers as generals. She fought hard and used her wisdom for her family.

Qulugh Terkan Khatun of Kirman

The story of Qutlugh Terkan Khatun of Kirman by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Albert Nguyen  reads like a story in Arabian Nights. She was born Halal Khatun which means "lawful princess or queen." Her family were nobles of Kirman which was then part of Persia and now is in Southern Iran. At the time noble families were trying to topple each other to rule new states forming under the new conqueror of  Hulegu Il-Khan (brother of the Great Khan Mongke from Sorghaghtani's story above). It was a violent time and as a young girl Halal Khatun was captured in a raid and she was torn away from her family--never to see them again. She was taken to the great city of Isfahan and sold in the slave market. She somehow caught the attention of Hajji Salih, a merchant passing the slave market. He purchased her and adopted her as his own daughter. She received a good education as was custom for Persian women at the time. She blossomed into a beautiful and intelligent young woman. The chief magistrate decided he wanted Halal khatun for his wife, but Hajji Salih did not find him acceptable. The magistrate decided he would just take her. Halal Khatun was saddled up and fled to a neighboring prince, Ghiyath al-Din for protection. The two were soon married and she became a real princess. However Ghiyath was caught in the power struggles of the time and fled leaving Halal Khatun behind. He was soon killed by his rival, Baraq Hajib. After a struggle, Baraq Hajib took Halal Khatun back to Kirman and made her his wife. A few years later Baraq Hajib died. His nephew Qutb al-Din inherited the throne as well as his choice from the royal harem. He chose to inherit Halal Khutan. Qutb al-Din treated Halal Khatun with respect and love. She changed her name to Qutlugh Terkan Khatun which meant "lucky and free princess." Together they had three children and Qutb made it known that they were partners in affairs of the state. Qutlugh Terkan Khatun proved herself very capable of governing. She was given complete credit for the good fortune and prosperity that fell upon the couple. Qutb died sixteen years later but since Qutlugh was so well loved and respected by everyone the Il-Khan, Hulegu, made her in charge of all affairs of Kirman. When a group of nobles tried to oust her by spreading lies about her Qutlugh Terkan Khatun spared them from their death sentences and brought them back home to Kirman. Her stepson tried to take her throne as well and again she intervened to save him from punishment. Her favorite daughter married Hulegu's son who would become Il-Khan himself. Qutlugh Terkan Khatun remained in power for 26 years and her reign is considered to be Kirman's golden age. It was a time of great prosperity when trade highways were save for travelers and merchants. She improved the lives of even the poorest peasants. She had water and drainage installed in villages and provided wheat and corn to the clergy and poor. 

Nur Jahan of India

 Nur Jahan of India by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustated by Albert Nguyen tells the tale of a girl, Mihr al-Nisa which means "sun among women," born to a Persian nobleman who worked in India. There is a story that as a young girl she followed her father to work and met the future emperor of India, Jahangir, and the two fell in love that day. However Mihr al-Nisa married a diplomat who was posted in the province of Bengal. Many years later her husband died and Jahangir had become king, Mihr and her daughter, Ladli Begum, returned to the Moghul court. Mihr joined the palace zenana as the lady-in-waiting to one of Jahangir's stepmothers. Zenana was the woman's quarters and there she was surrounded by Jahangir's many wives and 300 concubines that she met Jahngir again. Mihr had the reputation of being beautiful and intelligent. At 34 years old she was too old for remarriage, but Jahangir fell in love with her and married her in 1611. He renamed her Nur Mahal which means light of the palace and made her the senior wife, whom all the women in the zenana had to obey. Traditionally this position went to his first wife so it must have caused some issues with his first 20 wives. 
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The couple spent a lot of time together (see picture above of tiger hunting trip) and she began to help run the country. Jahangir even had her portrait put on a coin which is the first coin to honor a queen in any Muslim country. He renamed her again to Nur Jahan, which means light of the world. It became known that she Nur Jahan governed the country. She improved trade in those days. She built caravanserais or stopping places for the caravans of merchants and travelers along all the major routes. Jahangir's generously patroned the arts and the increased revenue Nur Jahan brought in made Moghul arts reach its peak. She also worked to improve life for women. Although the court was Muslim most of India was Hindu and a widow was expected to throw herself onto her husband's funeral pyre. She ordered ti to be sure that widows were no longer forced to commit suicide and made attempts to stop the practice of killing baby girls. Jahangir died in October 1627 and for a short time Nur Jahan lead an army behind the closed curtain of a howdah on an elephant (royal women were not to be seen outside of the zenana). She had made the mistake of marrying Ladli Begum to Jahangir's youngest son, Prince Sharyar so her stepson and ally, Prince Khurram, no longer was an ally. His army was too strong with her own brother as one of his generals since the prince had married his daughter. Prince Khurram exiled Nur Jahan to Lahore with a pension of 200,000 rupees a year. Nur Jahan was the first to use white marble in architecture. This inspired the Shah Jahan to use white marble for the mausoleum built for his wife -- the Taj Mahal. 

Sacajawea of the Shoshone

Here is the story of the "princess" I had heard of, Sacajawea of the Shoshone by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Albert Nguyen.  Sacajawea is well known from American history and in many ways is glorified by the white people's history since she aided Lewis and Clark in exploring the wilderness of the west. What I really enjoyed with this book was learning some of the things I did not know. Sacajawea was the daughter of the chief of the Agadika band of the Shoshone. They were a nomadic tribe and traveled during the year for food in the areas of Idaho and Montana. When she was around eleven she helped her mother load their teepee and cooking utensils onto a travois or sled and they traveled for miles to the buffalo hunting grounds. While the women picked berries in the woods Hidasta raiders attacked. They killed most of the Shoshone there but took Sacajawea to the Hidasta village over 500 miles away along the banks of the Missouri River in North Dakota. She was now a slave and could no longer roam the woods free. She had many of the same duties as at home but now she learned the Hidasta life of growing food. When she was fifteen she was married to a French-Canadian fur trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau. He lived among the Mandan neighbors of the Hidasta. It is thought that Charbonneau either bought Sacajawea or won her in a gambling game. He already had a Shoshone wife named Otter Woman. This new family lived in a teepee outside the Mandan village which would have reminded her of home unlike the earthen lodge she lived in as a slave. When the Corps of Discovery, Captains Merriweather Lewis and William Clark, arrived in the Mandan village with soldiers trying to find a water path to the Pacific Ocean. The Mandan told them they would have to cross the Shining (Rocky Mountains) to reach the Big Water. They would need horses and someone to help them negotiate with the Shoshone. Charbonneau was hired as the guide for the expedition however he only spoke Hidasta. For some reason pregnant Sacajawea was chosen over Otter Woman to accompany the expedition. Sacajawea gave birth to a son in February of 1805 and named him Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau whom Clark nicknamed Pomp. Clark took a liking to Pomp and Sacajawea. They often walked along the shore togetherer. At one point the Charbonneau's boat filled with water and it was Sacajawea with Pomp in  in her arms she managed to scoop up the important papers, instruments, and trading goods. When they arrived at the Shoshone village imagine the surprise as Sacajawea saw her brother as chief. It was the only time she saw a family member after being taken by the Hidasta. She translated for Lewis and Clark to buy twenty-nine horses from her brother. The trip was treacherous. At times they were half starved and frozen, however Sacajawea carried Pomp throughout it and they eventually got to see the Big Water. At times she had to fight to go with the men to see things like the whale that washed up. Sacajawea spent a year and four months with the Corps of Discovery. Clark offered to adopt and educate Pomp. When Pomp was four Sacajawea and Charbonneau went to St. Louis, Missouri to give Pomp this chance. For two years Charbonneau stayed in St. Louis and tried farming, but they found they liked the Native American life better. They left Pomp with William Clark and moved to South Dakota. There Sacajawea gave birth to baby girl, Lizette. She was about twenty-five years old and a few months later she died to what is believed to have been typhus. 

 So if you are looking for some non-pink and frilly princess stories for your child or for excellent books to supplement your own lessons, you should check out this great series of books from Goosebottom Books. We love them!!

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs 
Join us for our second annual Women's History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don't miss our series from last year, and find even more posts on our Women's History board on Pinterest: Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs's board Women's History on Pinterest.
March 1 A Crafty Arab on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 7 Women Artists Who Changed History

March 3 The Art Curator for Kids: Songs We Can See - The Art of Peggy Lipschutz
March 4 Kid World Citizen: Children's Books about Women Scientists
March 7 Mama Smiles: Picture Books about Great Women in History Your Kids Need to Know
March 8 Hispanic Mama: 4 Latina Women Who Made It Happen
March 9 Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes: Spanish Children's Book on the Life of Felisa Rincón de Gautier, First Female Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico Colours of Us: 28 Multicultural Picture Books about Inspiring Women & Girls
March 10 Witty Hoots: Some Awesome Women in My Life
March 11 MommyMaestra: Women in World History Trading Card Template
March 14 Crafty Moms Share: The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses
March 15 The Jenny Evolution: Non-Fiction Books about Women for Kids
March 16 Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes
March 17 Living Ideas
March 18 La Cité des Vents
March 21 A Crafty Arab
March 22 La Cité des Vents
March 23 Peakle Pie
March 24 All Done Monkey
March 25 The Art Curator for Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs
March 28 Creative World of Varya
March 29 Family in Finland
March 30 The Jenny Evolution
March 31 For The Love of Spanish