Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, no. 2” as Want to Read:
Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, no. 2
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, no. 2 (Tales of the Talented Tenth #2)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  101 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Kirkus Reviews, Best Historical Teen Book of 2016

Imagine a five-foot-two-inch-tall woman riding a Harley eight times across the continental United States. Now imagine she is black and is journeying across the country in the pre-Civil Rights era of the 1930s and ’40s. That is the amazing true story of Bessie Stringfield, the woman known today as The Motorcycle Queen
Paperback, 158 pages
Published October 1st 2016 by Fulcrum Publishing
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 Bessie Stringfield, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bessie Stringfield

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
David Schaafsma
The second in a series by Gill about remarkable African Americans you never heard about. A story for young people with brightly colored art about a woman who was a pioneer in motorcycling in the thirties and forties. A black woman that rode all over the country in a time when there were greater dangers for black women than now, maybe. She founded he iron Horse Motorcycle club, was a civilian courier for the U.S. military. A time of Jim Crow, so a little cornily, the KKK have crow heads. It's mor ...more
This is an interesting and well illustrated read. I think this series is perfect for kids. Grade school age and up.
Marjorie Ingall
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think some of the negative reviews are from people who wish this were a book for adults. It isn't. It's a *children's book,* and it's one that I think could appeal to reluctant readers. Bessie Stringfield was the first black woman inducted into the Harley Davidson Hall of Fame -- she rode her Harley cross-country in the 1930s, under full-on Jim Crow. What a story! And the art is simple, clean-lined, bold and welcoming. (I hate saying it's cute, but it's also cute.) The graphic novel format wor ...more
What a cool lady!! I only wish this had more information, but it is for a younger audience, so I guess it's just right. :)
LynnDee (The Library Lush)
This is a short graphic biography about Bessie Stringfield, badass motorcycle maven and the first African-American to ride solo across the United States. I liked the artwork and learning about Bessie, but I just wish there was more. She seems like a really fascinating woman!
Rod Brown
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
A biographical sketch that manages to provide only a modest introduction to what seems to be a bold and spirited figure in African American history. Unfortunately for the pacing, motorcycles are not even introduced until about a third of the way through the book and some of Stringfield's major accomplishments seem to get glossed over in the final twenty pages while her five marriages are basically dismissed with a sentence. Too much time is wasted in weak framing and dream sequences. Also, the a ...more
Ms. Arca
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I want to know SO MUCH more about her now! I was so intrigued that I couldn't put this one down..
I read a book, a while back, that had Bessie Stringfiled in it, and that was how I found out that she was real, so it is wonderful to find this book about this Black woman motocycle rider from the 1930-1950s.

The drawings are a lot of fun, and the attitude shown in the book is great. There is a section where she is running away from the KKK, and she takes a flying leap with her motocycle, and escapes, and all she thinks is, wow, that was fun.

When asked why she didn’t do more for the Civil Rights
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wooohooo! Reading about Bessie Stringfield, the Motorcycle Queen of Miami, gave me such a rush. Told in an oral history recounting, Stringfield shares her memories of her orphaned childhood and her years criss-crossing the country, working in carnivals, serving in the military, and finally settling down. I could have used some more facts about her life, but this is a solid graphic biography for middle grades.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A 3+ star read for me. Interesting comic that provides a high level view of the fascinating life of motorcyclist Bessie Stringfield. I liked the folk art style of the illustrations and found much of her story pretty interesting. A lot of things get glossed over pretty quickly (her marriages, what she lived on when she wasn't working for the circus or the Army, etc.), especially in the second half of the book, and I really wanted more. Hopefully, this will inspire more work about her.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is No. 2 in a series I have to get my hands on more of. I loved reading about Bessie Stringfield, a black woman who rode her motorcycle all over the U.S. and the world, defying racial and gender stereotypes as she rode. She lived an incredible life, and this short graphic novel was full of information about her. Well illustrated and easy to read without being too simplistic.
Great Books
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ages-12-14

This is a remarkable graphic novel and true story of the life and adventures of motorcyclist, Bessie Stringfield. Bessie, also known as “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami,” was the first African-American woman to ride solo across the U.S.A. in 1927.

reviewer 21
Don Kathke
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read about an extraordinary lady. Amazing that a black lady survived riding a motorcycle in the country during some very harsh times. Well worth reading for those interested in either motorcycle or black history.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A fast introduction to an amazing woman's life. I wish that there was more information but hopefully this graphic novel will lead others to read more about the astonishing Bessie Stringfield.
Wayne McCoy
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
'Bessie Stringfield' by Joel Christian Gill is the second entry in his Tales of the Talented Tenth series. This is my introduction to the series and I really liked this story aimed at younger readers.

We meet Bessie Smith late in her life, and hear her story from her. She immigrated to America from Jamaica and lost her father and mother in Boston. She adopted by a kind woman amd moved to Florida. Her interest in motorcycles led her to cross the United States 8 times. She served as a civilian cour
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very pleasantly presented, and very worthwhile, read about a pioneer from the unsung corners of USA. Bessie's father abandoned her and her dying mother, but she was lucky to be fostered by a woman generous enough to give her a prime birthday wish – a motorbike. Never before had a black woman been so prominent on two wheels – she lived on the road, did wall of death rides and other stunts in the circus, then became a civilian bike courier for the WW2 effort – and mostly in the racist so ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I almost skipped over this book, but I'm so glad I didn't! This deceptively simple looking graphic novel is so enjoyable. The author is focused on shining a spotlight on talented names in black history who might not be as well known as their white counterparts. I was really taken aback by how positive and uplifting this graphic novel feels. Gill uses illustrations and symbols to stand in for hateful slurs and racial injustice (ie: crow-like people for Jim Crow in the deep South). To me this was ...more
I wasn't sure I would like this, mostly because I have absolutely no interest in motorcycles. But I found it to be a quick, illuminating, and positive biography of a figure from American history I had never heard of before. I particularly liked the way that Stringfield's experience of the Jim Crow South was portrayed in light of the fact that she always stayed ahead of those who wanted to do her harm, that the ugliness of racial epithets was conveyed without using any swearwords (the "n-word" is ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
For, me, this was too brief! I wanted to know so much more about Bessie Stringfield. I also felt like a lot of content was glossed over. This is where I am kind of stuck with a rating. Obviously, this is aimed at younger readers, and it is not meant to be exhaustive. However, maybe it could have gone a little deeper in parts? I did like the question asked of Mrs. Stringfield towards the end of the book about her part (or lack of a part) in the Civil Rights Movement. I also respect her answer. Ov ...more
Bessie Stringfield is badass and awesome and keeps popping up in my life lately. The first black woman to be inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Stringfield was stubborn and clever and so so cool. Gill does a great job of showing her life from her early youth to her badass elderly lady-ness, framed as Stringfield telling her own life story to a reporter.

I liked this better than the Bass Reeves one, I think because it was more coherent and also because I knew what was going on with the Jim
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book about an amazing woman. I really like her attitude and the symbols used in place of awful words and the crows for bigots. The subject was well-handled and interesting. Wish I could do something this remarkable.
Casey Jo
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish this book were a little edgier, as the real life Bessie seemed pretty b*d*ss, and also fatter and butcher than drawn here, but still so glad this book exists. I really appreciate the ways Gill portrayed the Jim Crow South, it's people, and its language.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A somewhat light treatment of a remarkable person. I appreciated the framing of the narrative in an interview setting, throwing in dashes of dream sequences and having evil crows representing Jim Crow laws and the people who enforced them.
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rated 5 stars!
Ages 12+
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, teen, children-s
graphic biography (appropriate for all ages).
Yes! More, please!
A fascinating introduction to a spitfire of a woman. Would love to see who else gets profiled in this series.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly illustrated, this comic is a beautiful and inspiring story of a brave American woman you've never heard of - Bessie Stringfield! Check it out, I really enjoyed it!
Mar 13, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2017-new
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Kline
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Certainly left me wanting to learn more. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the bibliographical information is on newspaper and magazine articles. An extremely quick read that offers a glimpse into what must have been a fascinating life, despite the matter-of-fact manner in which the subject discusses her own story.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Joel Christian Gill™ is the chairman, CEO, president, director of development, majority and minority stock holder, manager , co-manager, regional manager, assistant to the regional manager, receptionist, senior black correspondent and janitor of Strange Fruit Comics. He is the author/illustrator of 2 forth coming books from Fulcrum Publishing Strange Fruit vol I Uncelebrated Narratives from Black ...more
More about Joel Christian Gill

Other books in the series

Tales of the Talented Tenth (2 books)
  • Tales of the Talented Tenth: Bass Reeves