Anna brought home another library book from school last week, and once again she chose well. The Night Pirates by Peter Harris, illustrated by Deborah Allwright, tells the story of Tom, a little boy who is awakened by the sound of someone stealing the front of his house. Could it be “monsters or trolls . . . gremlins or ogres . . . bandits or pirates?”
“Pirates! Rough, tough, little girl pirates.”
Tom joins the pirates as they sail off hidden behind the front of Tom’s house in search of treasure. It a fun, imaginative story with delightful illustrations, but, best of all, the pirates are girls.
It’s so hard to find role models for little girls in books and movies. Everybody’s a princess, and what little girl doesn’t want to dress up in pink? As I wrote in The Pernicious Pink Princess Plot (May 10, 2011), Anna “loves pink, and princesses and pink princesses.” But she also loves superheroes—especially Super Girl—and she loves pirates.
The other day we were in a toy store. After the obligatory trip own the pink aisles filled with princess dolls and fairy dolls and barbies, I managed to get her to go down one of the blue aisles: the Lego aisle.
“This is boy stuff.”
I persisted. “Look Anna, there’s a castle.”
“I like castles. Look, another one!”
“And a pirate ship.”
“I like pirates too.”
“So I guess it’s not just boy stuff, is it?”
“No, it’s for boys and girls.”
And that’s why I recommend The Night Pirates. Any other writer would have left the girls out. Tom’s a boy, why wouldn’t the pirates be boys like him? It’s the obvious way to go. But Peter Harris made the pirates “rough, tough, little girls” who take Tom along on their adventure even though he’s a boy. He made The Night Pirates a book for boys and girls.
And Anna likes it so much that she going to put it on her Santa list.
I have a funny feeling he’ll be bringing her a copy for Christmas.