Little Girl Pirates

Elizabeth Bluemle -- December 13th, 2012

A customer came in yesterday, brandishing a holiday card with a photo of two adorable girls. “I can’t help showing this around,” said our customer. “You must get this all the time.” We don’t, actually, but it is always a happy occasion when we do. “I need books,” she continued. “Cora and Emiline have decided they’re pirates.”

Opening the card, she showed us two self-portraits the little girls had drawn. The five-year-old had done an impressive job in ballpoint pen, rendering herself with an eye patch, a huge grin, and a twinkly gold tooth. The three-year-old’s picture was understandably more free-form, but it was definitely human-shaped, with a face and hair, and you could see that one eye had been drawn with a fiercer pen pressure: her piratey eye patch.

We happen to have quite a few pirate books, in our section labeled “Fairies, Princesses, Mermaids, Ballerinas, Pirates, Knights, Dragons, Trucks.” And there happen to be several that feature or at least include female pirates. Hooray for progress! So I pulled out a big stack for our customer to look at; some, I explained, would be a little beyond the girls’ current ages. “That’s the beauty,” she said. “They can grow into them!” Have I mentioned how delightful a customer she is?

She settled down on one of our soft cube chairs to look over the stack, and I headed off to help another customer find a book about the Red Sox. Next time I saw our Pirate Aunt, she was at the counter, ready to be rung up. She handed a few titles to Sandy at the register. “These aren’t quite right for the girls just yet,” she said politely, then handed Sandy another stack. “These are perfect.”

And which were the perfect plunder? Well, thanks to their thoughtful and fun aunt, Cora and Emiline will be swashbuckling their way through Christmas with Lilly and the Pirates by Phyllis Root, illus. by Rob Shepperson, Violet and the Mean & Rotten Pirates by Richard Hamilton, illus. by Sam Hearn, The Barefoot Book of Pirates by Richard Walker, illus. by Olwyn Whelan, and Pirate Handbook, by Monica Carretero. I can’t wait to see what next year’s holiday card will bring.

I’m thinking ninjas….

6 thoughts on “Little Girl Pirates

  1. James

    Martha -

    I’d recommend these:
    “Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken: Troublems With Frenemies” by Ray Friesen
    “Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja” by Noah Child
    “Pirates Vs. Ninjas: It Takes A Pillage” by Dan Conner

  2. Mary Quattlebaum

    Hooray for girl pirates! Who knows, those two may never age out of pirates so that next year’s list will just include more pirate books for slightly older readers. In my family of 7 kids (4 of whom were girls), we had 6 pirates and only one fairy princess type. :)

  3. Christi Zellerhoff

    Fantastic article Elizabeth! I applaud you for lending space on your bookshelves to stories that empower little girls!

    “Who says only boys can be pirates?” My son, of course, protesting his little sister’s request to play “pirates” with him while she was dressed in her princess costume. “Oh YES they can!” she retorted. Sure enough, she proved him wrong! Voila! “Princesses Can Be Pirates Too!” was born. Let’s keep empowering our little ones!

    Warmly,
    Christi

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