Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls

Written by: Jane Yolen

Illustrated by: Susan Guevara

For Ages: 8-12 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Historical Figures, Strong Women, Courage, Historical Fiction, Independent Thought.

Summary: This book is a compilation of stories about strong historical women. Nana Miriam, Li Chi, Burd Janet, and Mizilca are just a few of the figures covered. Jane Yolen collected and retells these stories to inspire future generations of young girls to be heroes. Each of the stories has an illustration of the hero, but the book is mostly print. Each story is a few pages, a good length for a short story time or bedtime story.

Reflection Questions:

  • Which one of these heroes is your favorite?
  • Are any of these stories from near where you live?
  • Have you heard any of these stories before?
  • How are you a hero?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Find more stories about strong women that aren’t in this book. They could be from your community, your country, or a place that isn’t featured in Yolen’s book at all!
  • Write your own story, with yourself as the hero! Develop a problem that only you can solve and help save the day.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

jane yolen
Jane Yolen
is an author of children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century. Jane Yolen’s books and stories have won the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, the Golden Kite Award, the Jewish Book Award, the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award among many others. This website presents information about her over three hundred books for children. It also contains essays, poems, answers to frequently asked questions, a brief biography, her travel schedule, and links to resources for teachers and writers. It is intended for children, teachers, writers, storytellers, and lovers of children’s literature.

susan guevara
Photo by Norman Mauskopf

Susan Guevara is a visual storyteller. She tells her tales with illustrations, paintings, drawings and sculptures. For 27 years her work as a children’s picture book illustrator has been recognized many times, often for its contribution to literature set in Latino culture. Her recognition includes a 2005 New York Times Ten Best Illustrated books of the Year recipient, a two time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner, the first Tomás Rivera Award winner and most recently, a Pura Belpré Honor Award winner for her last book, Little Roja Riding Hood by Susan Middleton Elya. Her illustrations for Chato’s Kitchen by Gary Soto contributed to the book being recognized as one of the Best 100 Books of the Last 100 Years by the New York Public Library.

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