Quick, how many important women did you learn about in history class?
Now, think about all the men you learned about.
I bet the names of more men came to you than those of women. The truth is that there is a whole horde of women that you’ve most likely never heard of. In his book Rejected Princesses, Jason Porath hunts down the stories behind these women. Over 100 women are covered, and I’m ashamed to say that before reading the book I had only heard about a few of them. And that was after reading Rad Women Worldwide.
Porath does a great job covering all races, religions, nationalities, social statuses, sexual orientations, and even throws in a mythological woman or two.
Some of the highlights include:
- Noor Inyat Khan– An Indian princess who became a spy during WWII
- Annie Jump Cannon– a deaf astronomer who cataloged more stars than anyone alive at the time
- The Night Witches– a group of badass Russian women who became the German’s worst nightmare
- Joan of Arc– one of the few you’ve probably heard of
- Ada Lovelace– a coder way before computers even existed
- Hatsheput– a woman pharaoh so great that the rest of her family tried to wipe her from existence.
The stories are all noted with a maturity level, and any graphic/sensitive topics they cover (rape, abuse, sex, violence). The book is organized to the level 1 stories are at the beginning, and work their way up in intensity as you progress. Some of the stories are pretty graphic, so if you are a parent reading this with your child (which is awesome), take note that some viewer discretion is advised.
Another great part of each entry is the artwork. The author is an animator at DreamWorks, who actually learned how to draw art for this project (as mentioned in the Introduction. Yes, I read that). Some of the women have photographs to base their images off of, but a lot of them don’t. They barely have any records of existing. So, he pieced together what he could and came up with an artistic representation of them. While the art isn’t quite my style, it’s amazing some of the thought and detail he put into each. A lot of them have art notes that get you further pieces of the story.
I’m always looking to learn more about the women who have shaped our world, and this book was one of the best gifts I received this Christmas. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone else who appreciates strong women who change the world. Available pretty much wherever books are sold.
Note: I did not receive any compensation for this. I just really like the book.