An inspiring story of Zheng Yi Sao, the real-life pirate queen who took control of her life — and the South China seas — in the early 19th century.
The most powerful pirate in history was a woman who was born into poverty in Guangzhou, China, in the late 1700s. When pirates attacked her town and the captain took a liking to her, she saw a way out. Zheng Yi Sao agreed to marry him only if she got an equal share of his business. When her husband died six years later, she took command of the fleet.
Over the next decade, the pirate queen built a fleet of over 1,800 ships and 70,000 men. On land and sea, Zheng Yi Sao's power rivaled the emperor himself. Time and again, her ships triumphed over the emperor's ships.
When she was ready to retire, Zheng Yi Sao surrendered — on her own terms, of course. Even though there was a price on her head, she was able to negotiate her freedom, living in peace and prosperity for the rest of her days.
Zheng Yi Sao's powerful story is told in lyrical prose by award-winning author Helaine Becker. Liz Wong's colorful, engaging illustrations illuminate this inspiring woman in history.
An author's note provides historical context and outlines the challenges of researching a figure about whom little is known.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.