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Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought)

Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought)

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Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought)

4.5/5 (2 évaluations)
123 pages
1 heure
Sep 1, 2000


Not all governments have been run by men. Lives of Extraordinary Women turns the spotlight on women who have wielded power, revealing their feats--and flaws--for all the world to see. Here you'll find twenty of the most influential women in history: queens, warriors, prime ministers, first ladies, revolutionary leaders. Some are revered. Others are notorious. What were they really like?
In this grand addition to their highly praised series, Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt celebrate some of the world's most noteworthy women, ranging from the famous to those whose stories have rarely been told.
Features twenty extraordinary women, including:
Joan of Arc
Elizabeth I
Harriet Tubman
Eleanor Roosevelt
Eva Perón
Sep 1, 2000

À propos de l'auteur

Kathleen Krull is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young people, including Lives of the Explorers, Lives of the Musicians, and all other books in this popular series illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt. She is also the author of Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, as well as The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) and Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country), both co-written with Paul Brewer and illustrated by Stacy Innerst. She lives in San Diego, California. Visit her online at kathleenkrull.com. 

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Aperçu du livre

Lives of Extraordinary Women - Kathleen Krull


1. Cleopatra

2. Victoria

3. Harriet Tubman

4. Indira Gandhí

5. Eleanor Roosevelt

6. Marie Antoinette

7. Tz’u-hsi

8. Rigoberta Menchú

Well-behaved women rarely make history.


Athena, Greek goddess of handicraft, war, and wisdom

Text copyright © 2000 by Kathleen Krull

Illustrations copyright © 2000 by Kathryn Hewitt

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to trade.permissions@hmhco.com or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.


The illustrations in this book were done in watercolor and colored pencil on watercolor paper.

The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows:

Krull, Kathleen.

Lives of extraordinary women: rulers, rebels (and what the neighbors thought)/written by Kathleen Krull; illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references (p. 95).

[1. Women in politics—Biography—Juvenile literature. 2. Women heads of state—Biography—Juvenile literature.] I. Hewitt, Kathryn, ill. II. Title.

HQ1236.K8 2000

320'.082—dc21 99-6840

ISBN: 978-0-15-200807-9 hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-544-24761-1 paperback

eISBN 978-0-547-54164-8


Much gratitude to Jeannette Larson, Queen of Editors, as well as Diane D’Andrade for her royal influence, Jean Ferris, Susan Cohen, Sandy Schuckett, Vicky Reed and her extraordinary class at the University of San Diego, and, as always, Kathryn Hewitt.

—K. K.

Love and praise to glorious Jeannette Larson, Diane Dondratey (aka Diane D’Andrade), Susan Cohen, Kathleen Krull, Gracie Strauss, and my extraordinary mother, Mary Moore.

—K. H.


NOT ALL GOVERNMENTS HAVE BEEN run by men. Here, in chronological order, are twenty women who wielded significant political power, as queens, warriors, prime ministers, revolutionary leaders, Indian chiefs, first ladies, or other government officials.

Each of these extraordinary women triumphed (some at a very young age) over attitudes and conditions that couldn’t have been more adverse. Many of the women who are today’s beloved heroines were once candidates for Most Hated Woman on Earth—and were spat upon, jailed, even murdered. Their electrifying personalities can seem larger than life—but are they really so different from us? What were they like as human beings? What might their neighbors have noticed?

Traditionally, historians have talked most often about what powerful women looked like. This book focuses on daring deeds—and it asks unusually nosy questions, seeking a full picture of these women’s lives. Whose secret to success was the library? (Cleopatra.) Who tickled her favorite companion’s neck when she thought no one was looking? (Elizabeth I.) Who could raise $50 million in one night, and also did other people’s laundry, by hand? (Golda Meir.) Who launched her career at the youngest age? (Joan of Arc, at thirteen.) Who wished she could quit and write novels? (Eleanor Roosevelt.) Who took only two baths in her entire life? (Isabella I.) Whose lips turned green after she nibbled her macaroni necklace? (Eva Perón.)

And who dressed like a man, in animal skins, armed with every possible weapon? (Nzingha.) Who attended séances with her own royal psychic? (Victoria.) Who cut power to the microphones of obnoxious interrupters? (Wilma Mankiller.) Who had three thousand boxes of everyday jewels? (Tz’u-hsi.)

Not all of these women are role models. Like any group of individuals, male or female, this one includes the good, the bad, and some who were both. Their stories are offered here to inspire awe at the power of women throughout history—and ever after.

—Kathleen Krull





Queen of ancient Egypt, famous for glamorous love affairs, ambition, and political genius

WAS CLEOPATRA’S FAMILY too CLOSE? To keep their power as Egypt’s rulers, the Ptolemy family deliberately married one another—sister to brother, parent to child. But some days they weren’t close at all. When fighting over the throne, they frequently resorted to murder.

Her father’s favorite, Cleopatra spent her childhood in the royal women’s apartments. She studied the same subjects as boys, immersing herself in literature, philosophy, the sciences, music, and art. With ambitious relatives and other enemies seething dangerously around her, she developed nerves of steel. At age eighteen she was still alive—and queen. She coped with the required marriage to her ten-year-old brother by pretending he didn’t exist. (She was not a good big sister—this brother turned up drowned, and another was poisoned.)

As queen, Cleopatra dedicated herself to keeping Ptolemies in power, with Egypt productive and independent. Above all, she wanted to avoid war with the mighty Roman Empire. The eight languages she spoke came in handy during diplomatic negotiations. She cultivated the good opinion of ordinary Egyptians and conducted the country’s business shrewdly.

During her travels, Cleopatra looted foreign libraries for precious papyrus scrolls to add to her world-famous library in Alexandria. She spent much of her time alone there, and it is thought that she may have made her own literary contribution—a volume on cosmetics. With a flair for drama, she constantly experimented with makeup, hairstyles, and new perfumes made from exotic flowers. She bathed in donkey’s milk, had servants remove all her unwanted body hair, and soothed her flawless skin with fresh aloe vera leaves.

She did know how to make an entrance. When Julius Caesar, Rome’s brilliant military leader, visited Alexandria, he received one of history’s most famous gifts: an Oriental carpet—with the queen wrapped inside. (Had she been caught, guards would have killed her on the spot.) Cleopatra and Caesar fell in love instantly; how thrilling that he also happened to be the most powerful ally Egypt could have. Together they cruised the Nile on a royal

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Avis des lecteurs

  • (5/5)
    This short, non-fiction chapter book is a historically accurate account of impressive and influential women leaders of the past. I was blown away by some of the accounts of their deeds. I am sad to say that I had not heard of every woman included in this book, but after reading it I think it is an excellent addition to any humanities classroom or young woman's bookshelf! I think what I enjoyed most was how the author mixed events in each leader's life with tales of their own personality and personal history. For example, I had no idea Queen Isabella I was so powerful and acted as the real decision-maker when it came to ruling Spain. Her cruelty and influence in the Spanish Inquisition rocked me for a moment, because she is so often taught in school as just the ruler who funded Columbus' journey to the New World.I think this would be a great mentor text in a history project that asks students to research an influential historical figure. Students could read through the book, or even just selected excerpts, and then pick a leader to research more in-depth for their own projects. Reading Level: Grade 3 and up.
  • (4/5)
    A quick survey of great women throughout history, from Cleopatra to Eleanor Roosevelt. Very interesting book.
  • (5/5)
    Krull turns her talents yet once again to lives ofextraordinary people, this time the lives of extraordinary women.She examines such well known women as Eleanor Roosevelt and QueenElizabeth I along with less well known women such as Rigoberta Menchuand Nzingha. Each chapter is filled with fascinating details aboutthe women.
  • (5/5)
    This book carefully interweaves important facts, along with trivia and gossip, allowing to fully engage the reader in this series. Krull studies the lives of extremely influential women, from Cleopatra all the way to Rigoberta Menchu. I would give it my highest rating, but I feel there could be a little more information in the way of historical fact. Very well suited for middle-schoolers.
  • (4/5)
    Simple, fun, and interesting. This book provided a nice light read that I managed to learn a little from. I liked it quite a bit.
  • (4/5)
    This collection of short biographies on memorable women throughout history packs a lot of interesting information into each short story. Among the women include in this book are Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Nzingha (a West African queen), Catherine the Great, Harriet Tubman, Tz'u-hsi (a Chinese empress), Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir (prime minister of Israel), Indira Ghandi (prime minister of India), Wilma Mankiller (chief of the Cherokee Nation), Aung San Suu Kyi (revolutionary leader inBurma), and Rigoberta Menchu (a Guatemalan leader who focuses on Native Indian rights). Each short biography includes quirky, interesting details about the woman in question and keeps the reader interest and engaged. I appreciated the broad range of women described in this book, although it was still dominated by white wome of European ancestry. I think this book would appeal especially to female readers, because it really stresses empowerment and is obviously all about famous women throughout history. I think that male readers could also enjoy this book, but that it would be preferred by female readers.
  • (4/5)
    This book gives short introductions to 20 extraordinary women throughout time. From Cleopatra to Harriet Tubman to Eleanor Roosevelt, the collection is surprisingly diverse, including women from Africa, Asia, India, Latin America, and Native America (although it must be said that a full half of the women are European and/or white American). This is a great choice for women's history units and will likely inspire children to find out more about some of these powerful ladies.
  • (4/5)
    Great text to use during Women's History month. I think the cheeky title may appeal to students or at least get them to pick up the book.
  • (5/5)
    This is a biography about some of the most powerful women in history – or at least women in the most powerful positions. Things that they are known for are mentioned, but most of the information is personal facts about their lifestyles. From their influence and actions to their interests and attitudes, these women lived very extraordinary lives. At the end of each biography, more information is given about what happened after their death, or if they are still alive, how they are currently living.I really liked this book. All the personal information kept me interested. And, sad to say but many of these women I had never even heard of and/or did not know anything about them. I now have enough facts to allow future knowledge of these women to build on. The illustrations were very beautifully done – after reading a few sentences, I would go back and look at the picture and could see almost clearly each woman in action. This is a great biography collection.I would have the students write a biography about any woman they choose (if the lesson is about biographies, then man or woman would do, but if it is about women in power, well obviously only a woman would be allowed). They can present their research in any fashion they choose as long as a written paper is turned in also. Power points, music and/or song, illustrations, and props are welcomed. They can share their presentations with the class. A more fun extension would be to have the students get into small groups and act out the life of one of the women discussed in the book (each group chooses a different lady). They can do some research, use references from the book, bring props, dress for the part, and act out a skit that would appropriately portray that woman’s lifestyle and actions. Wouldn’t that be fun to watch the students get involved and “become” the women of the past?