Pirate Queen

Pirate Queen

A Story of Zheng Yi Sao

Written by: Becker, Helaine
Illustrated by: Wong, Liz
ages 6 to 9 / grades 1 to 4

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An inspiring story of Zheng Yi Sao, the real-life pirate queen who took control of her life — and the South China seas — in the early 19th century.

The most powerful pirate in history was a woman who was born into poverty in Guangzhou, China, in the late 1700s. When pirates attacked her town and the captain took a liking to her, she saw a way out. Zheng Yi Sao agreed to marry him only if she got an equal share of his business. When her husband died six years later, she took command of the fleet.

Over the next decade, the pirate queen built a fleet of over 1,800 ships and 70,000 men. On land and sea, Zheng Yi Sao’s power rivaled the emperor himself. Time and again, her ships triumphed over the emperor’s ships.

When she was ready to retire, Zheng Yi Sao surrendered — on her own terms, of course. Even though there was a price on her head, she was able to negotiate her freedom, living in peace and prosperity for the rest of her days.

Zheng Yi Sao’s powerful story is told in lyrical prose by award-winning author Helaine Becker. Liz Wong’s colorful, engaging illustrations illuminate this inspiring woman in history.

An author’s note provides historical context and outlines the challenges of researching a figure about whom little is known.

Key Text Features
author’s note
historical context
sources

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

An inspiring story of Zheng Yi Sao, the real-life pirate queen who took control of her life — and the South China seas — in the early 19th century.

The most powerful pirate in history was a woman who was born into poverty in Guangzhou, China, in the late 1700s. When pirates attacked her town and the captain took a liking to her, she saw a way out. Zheng Yi Sao agreed to marry him only if she got an equal share of his business. When her husband died six years later, she took command of the fleet.

Over the next decade, the pirate queen built a fleet of over 1,800 ships and 70,000 men. On land and sea, Zheng Yi Sao’s power rivaled the emperor himself. Time and again, her ships triumphed over the emperor’s ships.

When she was ready to retire, Zheng Yi Sao surrendered — on her own terms, of course. Even though there was a price on her head, she was able to negotiate her freedom, living in peace and prosperity for the rest of her days.

Zheng Yi Sao’s powerful story is told in lyrical prose by award-winning author Helaine Becker. Liz Wong’s colorful, engaging illustrations illuminate this inspiring woman in history.

An author’s note provides historical context and outlines the challenges of researching a figure about whom little is known.

Key Text Features
author’s note
historical context
sources

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Mar 1, 2020
Specifications 36 pages | 6.5 in x 8.875 in
Written By

HELAINE BECKER is an award-winning author who has written over eighty books for children. Her picture books include You Can Read, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann; Sloth at the Zoom, illustrated by Orbie; and Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. She has also written non-fiction, chapter books and poetry. She is a two-time recipient of the Lane Anderson Award and a winner of the Silver Birch Award and the Bank Street College of Education Cook Prize. Helaine lives in Toronto.

Illustrated by

LIZ WONG was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she spent her early childhood painting and clambering about in mango trees. Winning the first-place trophy in her elementary school poster contest encouraged her to pursue art instead of a sensible career in finance like the rest of her family. Liz holds a BFA in art and a BA in anthropology from the University of Washington and currently resides in Edmonds, Washington, with her husband and son.

Written By

HELAINE BECKER is an award-winning author who has written over eighty books for children. Her picture books include You Can Read, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann; Sloth at the Zoom, illustrated by Orbie; and Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. She has also written non-fiction, chapter books and poetry. She is a two-time recipient of the Lane Anderson Award and a winner of the Silver Birch Award and the Bank Street College of Education Cook Prize. Helaine lives in Toronto.

Illustrated by

LIZ WONG was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she spent her early childhood painting and clambering about in mango trees. Winning the first-place trophy in her elementary school poster contest encouraged her to pursue art instead of a sensible career in finance like the rest of her family. Liz holds a BFA in art and a BA in anthropology from the University of Washington and currently resides in Edmonds, Washington, with her husband and son.

Audience ages 6 to 9 / grades 1 to 4
Reading Levels Guided Reading U
Fountas & Pinnel Text Level U
Key Text Features author's note; historical context; sources
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3

[A] wonderful book … fascinating!

” —Book Riot

[A] fascinating read about a strong woman.

” —The International Educator Blog