Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves and Other Female Villains” as Want to Read:
Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves and Other Female Villains
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves and Other Female Villains

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  887 Ratings  ·  244 Reviews
From Jezebel to Catherine the Great, from Cleopatra to Mae West, from Mata Hari to Bonnie Parker, strong women have been a problem for historians, storytellers, and readers. Strong females smack of the unfeminine. They have been called wicked, wanton, and willful. Sometimes that is a just designation, but just as often it is not. "Well-behaved women seldom make history," i ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by Charlesbridge (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bad Girls, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bad Girls

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Society has long looked at tough, smart, ambitious women and written them off as bad. But whether it's a criminal act or a moral lapse, wrongdoing needs to be viewed within the context it occured. Then again, bathing in blood, poisoning pesky husbands, and axe-murdering your parents doesn't usually win a girl any fans!

You would think with my reading tastes I would have been all over this book. It's written in short chapters that just gloss over the woman in history's story though and at the en
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of those nonfiction books that has a lot of very short chapters, all related to central theme. Here, it's history's "bad girls". Each woman gets a brief (5-10 page) overview of their personal history, written in a conversational, accessible way. It's a pretty decent selection. There are women that most readers would have heard something about (Cleopatra, Lizzie Borden), women that may have crossed the radars of some (Calamity Jane, Mary Read), and women that will almost certainly be ...more
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I thought the comics at the end of each chapter were contrived and self-indulgent of the writers. I like the idea of exploring both the research process and the context of the women's lives, but I did not like the way the authors presented it. The "bad girls" were fascinating, and I liked the illustrations of them. Also, they cited Wikipedia as a source plenty if times. While I imagine they verified the info they found on that site, I don't trust the facts now.
LynnDee (The Library Lush)
I've read better history books, and the little side comics in between each chapter that featured the author and her daughter discussing the previous "bad girl" were dumb. I get that they were trying to promote discussion and that these "bad girls" may really not have been all that bad, but I just didn't like them. The only thing I liked about this book was the artwork.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I started reading this book thinking it might be interesting to take on school visits to booktalk, but was disappointed right away. I only read the first few chapters. They were extremely short and not very informative, and when I got to the death of Cleopatra, I was surprised that the authors relied on the much-theorized death by asp. I have read other books about Cleopatra which delved into other possibilities for her death. For example:

From the website
Although Cl
I've been intrigued by this book ever since I laid eyes on it's gorgeous cover. Who doesn't want to be seen reading a book with this bad girl on the cover? I felt instantly cool, just by association. Prolific and popular Jane Yolen teams up with her daughter to enlighten and inform a new generation of readers about the escapades and lives of some of history's most notorious bad girls, from Cleopatra to Bonnie (of Clyde fame). I like the range of characters they explore and the two or three pages ...more
Pack children
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: jesse
This is the strangest book. I took it home expecting it to read much like "How They Croaked" by Georgia Bragg..and it is similar- 2-3 page retellings of why each of these women throughout history was seen as such a bad girl..from Cleopatra to Bonnie and Clyde's Bonnie, etc.

The tales are great and fun to read..but then between each woman's condensed life story there's a page of graphic novel style interactions between Jane Yolen and her page they're going shoe shopping and talking
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graduate-school
This book was quick and fun. The tone was entertaining, though I question the 9 and up age level I saw for it on Amazon. I wanted more from each chapter. However, I did like the graphic pages at the end where the authors debate whether these women were "bad" and brought up points about the historical and cultural contexts.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow! This book is something else. It is refreshing on tired eyes. You are able to sit back and enjoy the stories of "bad girls" throughout history. Lovely Illustrations. I just don't like the graphic novel part so I skipped over it....oops!!!
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, ya, read-in-2013
Hailee Christman
Yolen, J., & Stemple, H. (2013). Bad girls: Sirens, jezebels, murderesses, thieves and other female villains. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
Selection process: Booklist, starred review, February, 2013. Retrieved from

In Bad Girls, mother and daughter team Yolen and Stemple collect a biography of some of history’s most notorious female villains. Starting the collection in Biblical times with Delilah in 110 BCE and Salome in 17 CE among them and continu
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Why'd They Wear That?: Fashion as the Mirror of History
  • Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty
  • Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Becoming Babe Ruth
  • The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
  • The Great American Dust Bowl
  • Donner Dinner Party (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, #3)
  • Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall
  • My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth
  • Pure Grit: How WWII Nurses in the Pacific Survived Combat and Prison Camp
  • The Anne Frank Case: Simon Wiesenthal's Search for the Truth
  • First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low
  • Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature
  • Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
  • Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World
  • The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins
  • Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud
Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
More about Jane Yolen...