Girl-powered Goosebottom Books expands both their Thinking Girl’s Treasuries of Real Princesses and Dastardly Dames this month. After nearly paralyzing herself writing the first six royal titles, Head Goose Shirin Yim Bridges swore she would get some help as the series grew. True to her word, she gives authorship of the latest, Sacajawea, to fellow goose Natasha Yim. I might just mention (and give a shout-out to) artistic goose Albert Nguyen, who continues to diligently serve the princesses. Not bad for a first illustrating gig!
But back to Sacajawea, she of the dollar coins that never seem to circulate much (why is that?). Born around 1788, Sacajawea was the daughter of a Northern Shoshone chief whose nomadic tribe moved between Idaho and Montana. At about age 11, Sacajawea was kidnapped during a brutal raid by a rival tribe, the Hidatsa, and taken to North Dakota, where she lived as a slave. She was “thrust into marriage” at 15 as the second wife of a French Canadian trapper, Touissant Charbonneau, three times her age who either bought her from the Hidatsa or won her gambling.
One year after her marriage, in November 1804, the U.S. Corps of Discovery led by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived on their great journey across the continent, documenting new territories on behalf of President Thomas Jefferson. Charbonneau was hired to guide the contingent through the Rocky Mountains; Sacajawea – with a two-month old baby strapped on her back – went along to translate in her native Shoshone language.
The rest, as they say, is some remarkable girl-power history. You’ll need to pick up the book yourself to find out just how this audacious teenage mother became one of America’s most famous early pioneering women. Go, girl, go …
You can definitely judge a book by how many times a reader will blurt out, ‘did you know …?’ and ‘wow, I didn’t know …!!’ [Guilty! I'm notorious at babbling out loud, especially when enjoying kiddie books. Must have been all those years I spent reading out loud to the (now overgrown) chillins!] Sacajawea is indubitably one of those intriguing titles that not only causes excessive blathering to anyone willing to listen, but for which you will at least triple your reading time with post-read googling to find out more, more, more.
Readers: Children, Middle Grade