Booktalk: Bad Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple

Bad Girls cover

Bad Girls is an excellent example of a nonfiction book in an easy-to-read format (collective biography, with one chapter per person) with an additional comic-style page at the end of each chapter in which we see the mother-daughter author team discussing each of these women.  I like booktalking books like these because even if I get distracted and miss one of the segments, ONLY I WILL KNOW.  Well, okay, you’ll know, too.  But I think we can keep that under our collective hats, right?

And be sure to check out Jane Yolen’s website to discover the MANY books she’s written for kids and teens over the last several decades.


There are a lot of women throughout history who had bad reputations.  Delilah was paid in silver to find the weakness of the strong and powerful Sampson.  Cleopatra seduced Julius Caesar and Marc Antony to get more power for herself and for Egypt.  Anne Boelyn encouraged the attention of King Henry VIII, which led to the creation of the Church of England and, ultimately, her own death.  When Tituba the slave was accused of being a witch, she confessed, which added more fuel to the fire of the Salem witch trials.  Lizzie Borden might have killed her father and stepmother … but then again, maybe she didn’t.  Typhoid Mary spread a disease through the food she cooked, and when she was ordered to stop cooking she changed her name and did it anyway.

Some of these women were definitely villains who hurt people, killed people, or changed history for the worse.  But some of them might not have been as guilty as people thought.  Some of them were caught and punished, but some of them escaped.  This book will tell you all about queens, spies, pirates, killers, and many more bad girls throughout history.

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