Troublemakers in Trousers
Women and What They Wore to Get Things Done
by Sarah Albee
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Pub Date 25 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 25 Oct 2022
Girls and women have historically been denied access to work, been blocked from the arts, refused the opportunity to lead and fight, and much more, simply because of their gender. From Hatshepsut to Joan of Arc to Frida Kahlo, Troublemakers in Trousers highlights twenty-one women who, for different reasons, wore men’s clothing, pretended to be men, and broke the rules in order to do something they wanted—or needed—to do.
The perfect modern-day introduction to women throughout history who broke boundaries and pushed the limits set by society.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 19 members
This is a cute children’s book, Troublemakers in Trousers by Sara Albee.
Much like the books about famous women that are out there for children, including the Rebel Girls , and Little People, Big Dreams series. And like those two series, this is a mix of very famous women, and probably women you have never heard of, and should have.
Much more detailed than Rebel Girls, which tends to be one pagers, and LIttle People, Big Dreams, which tends to be very short picture books, this volume has a five or six page section for each woman, explaining why the women had to wear trousers, and what happened when she did.
So, we have Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman and Amelia Bloomer, who we have all heard of, thand then we have Marguerite Johnson, and Jeanne Baret, who I would expect most of you have never heard of. Jeanne Baret was the first woman, in disguise, to circumvent the globe. Marguerite Johnson was the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco in the 1940s, and was the childhood name of Maya Angelou, celebrated writer.
Delightful illustrations, and side notes on what was going on at the time of each woman highlighted make for a very informative book.
<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.</em>
I had some idea about the events mentioned but not THIS MUCH!
Oh and I am so glad I got this ARC now. I was busy thinking about the issues faced by the characters of Heartstoppers by Alice Oseman having watched its recent adaptation. Now I am convinced again that this issue of gender limiting is not something new and it will go on for generations to come.
This book is such an eye opener for so many things when it comes to gender and the different stereotypes attached to it.
I love how effortlessly I read the book and at the same time gained so much knowledge, cleared up so many things I have been thinking about making me see how different people have struggled throughout the ages just because they are classified under a distinct gender and opportunities were limited for them.
I can guess the efforts put in by the team in compiling this collection, the artist contributing this much gorgeous artwork, the script that must have been edited over and over again to bring out a book this perfect. Also, reliable sources and references are given for further reading as well.
I appreciate how the book has some precious real rare photographs. This was really unexpected!
Revolutionary I say. Kudos to each and every person involved in the production of this book. You all deserve recognition.
Thank you, Charlesbridge, for the advance reading copy.
This book tells the story of a number of women who made history for doing exactly what they were not supposed to do! From Joan of Arc to Harriet Tubman and many more, each chapter tells the story of a woman who pushed boundaries, faced adversity and still made her way into (some) history books! Each chapter is about 5-10 pages long, includes both photographs and detailed illustrations and has text boxes with interesting facts. It is a really neat book and I think it would be a great option for young girls who want some pretty intense historic role models!
My only caution is that some of the content would be a bit concerning for some parents of younger readers. While it is not graphic, there is mention of things like being burned at the stake or prostitution. As a result, I would recommend this book for children and teens in the 11-15 age range, but I wouldn't stop a mature grade 4 or 5 student from reading it, I think it just might need some discretion on the part of the parents/adults. The content in these stories is very interesting and I think this book is perfect for families and teachers wanting to give young history lovers a chance to learn about some important people who aren't always on the front of textbooks or starring in our history lessons! Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this awesome book!
A very entertaining account of the lives of twenty mould-breaking women from different periods and countries, told chronologically and in a manner that makes it easy for young audiences to grasp the importance of what these women did, with succinct summaries of the historical context for each woman so it's easy to see in what ways their behaviour (and dress!) was subversive, and accompanied by colourful illustrations by Kaja Kajtez for each.
The list begins with a name you might have heard: Hatshepsut, the first female Pharaoh of Egypt, and ends with one you might not have: Marguerite Johnson, the first female streetcar driver in San Francisco. Well, you might have heard of the latter with her more famous name, Maya Angelou. But famous or almost unknown, each woman in "Troublemakers in Trousers" has a very interesting life, all were courageous, and didn't let something like their gender and the social expectations to stop them, they defied it through their actions and their clothes. Women like Joan of Arc, Frida Kahlo, and Anne Bonny are here. Rulers, feminist activists, pirates, warriors, you name it.
At the beginning, there's a chapter that sets up the historical context of crossdressing throughout history, how it was viewed socially and legally, and what compelled a number of women to adopt transgressive clothing styles, and what it said about them. And at the end, there's a bibliography for further reading, in case some of the women caught your eye and you'd like to read more about them. I know I liked a few I'd definitely read more about. And also a bit about the author, her story, and her motivation to write this book. The package is pretty thorough and complete for a book aimed at young readers, which makes it a quality book for personal read or for schoolrooms, but it also is great for adult readers that'll both enjoy this and learn a thing or two about the women that made it possible for us to have more rights and opportunities in life than their times allowed them.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It is a quick and easy read. Some names were new to me, other names I already knew, but it still made for an interesting and informative book.
The stories in this book have a great amount of information and variety. I expected from the description that this would be a collection of historical warrior women and not much else. I was pleasantly surprised to find a wide variety of different types of women within the pages of this book. I was particularly drawn to the stories of the artists, writers, scientists, and general feminists.
I'm not the biggest fan of the writer's style, it's a bit too chummy and glib for my taste, a little "hey there fellow kids" if you know what I mean? BUT I am not the target audience for this book and I suspect that this style might be perfectly suited to the age demographic it was written for. I think this book would be a great addition to many classroom shelves and home collections. The sections are long and quite detailed though, so don't think that this will be a quick bedtime read.
One problem I did have was when the author compared Amazons to fictional warrior women like "Mulan or Xena Warrior Princess". While it might be an accurate description, it felt a tad dismissive to reduce a cherished folk hero who was likely based on some kernel of truth like Mulan to a completely fictional, modern creation like Xena. There were a few other moments like this in the book, where it felt a little reductive. Perhaps that is the nature of writing for children, but I can't help thinking that the subject matter might have been better served by having a variety of voices author the book rather than a lone white woman.
I also was mildly frustrated by how much time men were given in each section. It's understandable to have a sentence or two for general comparison, but some of the stories gave several paragraphs to the men of the era when it didn't feel necessary. We have lots of men's histories to read. They don't need to take up so much space in a women's history book intended for young girls. Why do I need to know details on everyone's husband, but openly gay Rosa Bonheur just "lived with her friend" for 40 years? Just say lesbian.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC
Troublemakers in Trousers is an anthology that celebrates people of history who chose to go beyond the gender binary to achieve great things, especially via clothing. I learned a lot, and even learned some names I haven't heard of before. People have had to hide their queer* identities for a long time, so it's always great to learn about people who aren't forgotten to history and makes you wonder about how many out there we don't know about who made a difference. I thought this was really interesting and enjoyed it a lot! I like the setup and the illustrations and that the book provides a little more than just surface level information.
*Of course not everyone who ever swapped a dress for trousers through the centuries falls under the queer umbrella, but...
Thank you to netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The concept of women in trousers is really good and sets the book apart from the other children’s books on women.
I like the mention of gender being a spectrum and not knowing fully if the people mentioned in this book would have used female pronouns.
The biographies are hefty in such a short period of time and incredibly well-written. I found that I didn’t know a lot of the women mentioned in this book and I was so happy to see that. I’ve read a lot of children’s books like this so it’s kind of difficult to find someone I didn’t know already.
While I read the ebook, I think the hardcover/physical copy would be the better choice, if possible. The artwork is beautiful and I absolutely adored it, but I can imagine it’s even more incredible to witness on a physical copy.
This book is obviously a children’s book, but I would say it’s geared toward a child from 10 to 12 years old. It’s not so much the content, but the biographies are too long for a child who’s just learning how to read.
I really enjoyed reading the biographies of women who wore trousers to enable them to reach a goal. What I especially appreciate is how the author also deals with the process of historical thinking--speculating when only incomplete evidence is available, acknowledging conflicting accounts and speaking directly to the reader to establish a connection. The book is very well written and illustrated. It is also highly informative. It's an excellent choice for read alouds, for group discussion, and for history and social studies classes. I also like the mix of well-known women in history and not so well-known women. (at least to me!).
Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and review Troublemakers in Trousers by Sarah Albee.
This is a very sweet, but also comprehensive book! It covers a lot of women from different parts of the world and does it's best to be pretty inclusive. While this book is geared towards children, I know that an adult reading along won't find this one boring or lacking.
A fascinating look at 21 women who broke barriers (and some laws). Their stories span the globe over centuries. Readers will learn new details about formerly known heroines and discover some new ones. This is an engaging and informative book that is sure to surprise and inspire.
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this middle grade nonfiction. Here is my honest review.
"Troublemakers in Trousers: Women and What They Wore to Get Things Done" is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it for middle grade and young adult readers. Adults will learn from the book as well. The premise is to highlight forgotten women in history who were high achievers, perhaps gender fluid, and who made a difference in the lives of their people. Oh, by the way, these women also wore trousers, bloomers, or other garb that was considered only appropriate for males.
Twenty women were featured. Here are a few of them:
*Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) - We all know who Frida was
*Ellen Craft (1826-1891) - Successfully escaped slavery by posing as a wealthy white man
*Khutulun (1260 - ?) - Mongolian warrior, undefeated in wrestling, great granddaughter of Genghis Khan
*Lilian Bland (1878-1971) - First woman to "design, build, and fly her own motor-powered aircraft"
*Marcenia "Toni" Stone (1921-1996) - "the first woman to play professional major league baseball"
*Lady Mary Montagu (1689-1762) - Promoted variolation (similar to vaccinations) in Great Britain, even convincing the Princess of Wales to have her children variolated. This was 17th and 18th century!
I am very impressed how thoroughly Sarah Albee researched these woman troublemakers. There are chapter notes, an index, a bibliography, as well as image credits. She uses copies of primary resources, including photographs, playbills, and paintings.
The illustrations by Kaja Kajfez are absolutely gorgeous. Each woman's chapter begins with a full-page illustration by Kajfez which jumps off the page and challenges the reader. We know these are bold woman through Albee's writing and definitely through Kajfez's pictures. She truly captures the spirit of these troublemakers in trousers.
I love this book and plan to send a copy to all of my grandnieces and nephews!
This collection of tales about women defies the norm when it comes to her-story books. Featuring an introduction about the reality of clothing for each gender. And then it goes into the women with far more detail than most nonfiction books do when they feature multiple individuals. It was comprehensive and diverse, and the illustrated images that accompanied the summaries were breathtaking. There were additional pictures of the real person, as well as pictures of artifacts and other relevant items. One phenomenal and informative book.
NOTE: I read this book courtesy of NetGalley (and a recommendation from my friend Jan), but all opinions and comments are mine and mine alone.
I inhaled this book. Every chapter was chock full of information I didn’t know, told in a charming mix of formal English and current slang. This is listed as being Children’s non-fiction, but I think it should be included in any adult collection as well. Seriously, information is presented in a most engaging manner, and the sidebars are relevant. Also, the artwork is wonderful, with jewel-like colors that draw attention.
Several times, I paused reading to share a fact or other information with my wife - the retired reference librarian - and was surprised at how much of the info I shared was news to her.
One small caveat: The bibliography the book presents has made my poor TBR list explode with fascinating new things to explore.
Caveat aside, I highly recommend this book, especially if you can get a hard copy. And I hope Ms. Albee and Ms. Kajfez are planning a few more books of this sort and caliber.
5-star read - cw: discussions of war, violence, racism, death, child abuse, prostitution, gender stereotypes and other sensitive issues
What a perfect way to start this intense ride through history using the fashion choices of brave women as our guide! Sarah Albee’s text provides an unflinching, yet middle-grade-friendly view of history and Kaja Kajfez’s illustrations transport you to the past. Truly, turning the page on the full-page flower patterns made me feel like I was walking into a drawing room of yore. The stories span history, the globe, and topics ranging on everything from wrestling to religion to infectious disease to pirates. I learned so much as an adult reader about women I’d never encountered before! In addition to the individual stories, Albee draws an incredibly helpful line from fashion in ancient times to the present to show the fallacy of boys-versus-girls clothes, an important lesson as many children (and their grownups readers!) forge their own path of self-expression through what they wear. The introduction also directly addresses historical notions of gender and the decision to use she/her pronouns in the book, and there is a text box in Chapter 9 discussing gender-fluidity and the concept of two-spirits in some cultures. I think this book will appeal most to early middle school readers—for upper elementary students it really depends on their comfort level with the more sensitive content issues. Already pre-ordered a copy for our family it was so good! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read.
Wow, Troublemakers in Trousers is such an incredible piece of nonfiction. This will be a must purchase for my classroom because of the thoroughly researched and expertly written biographies of so many wonderfully diverse women of history. Each biography quickly hooks the reader and offers context and well as important details to help the reader understand the historical significance of each women included in this book. There are also blurbs with additional information included in each chapter as well as beautiful illustrations throughout. My history teacher heart grew a size each and every time Sarah Albee included primary sources and cited where the information she was using to tell each story was from. This book was a delight and I highly recommend it for classrooms and young history enthusiasts. I'm so grateful to have received this ARC from NetGalley so I could read this title prior to publication.
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