#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes Warrior Women and Social Justice

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Meet Female Ninja Mochizuki Chiyome

Based On The True Story Of A Fearless Ninja And Her Network Of Female Spies

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

I learned about this title from a fellow kidlit enthusiast, my linguist friend, who shared a Facebook post of this book featuring a network of female ninjas from Japan. Naturally I had to find it in our libraries!

Shadow Warrior: Based On The True Story Of A Fearless Ninja And Her Network Of Female Spies

Written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi Illustrated by Celia Krampien
Published by Annick Press (2017).
ISBN: 1554519659 (ISBN13: 9781554519651)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This book tells the fairly-lengthy story of a Mochizuki Chiyome, whose existence while believed to probably be grounded in reality, remains in question.

According to the Epilogue:

Mochizuki Chiyome was probably real. In the 1600s, Japanese writers and artists created storybooks, the ancestors of today’s graphic novels. Some of these tales featured a woman ninja trainer, a widow who lost her husband and went to work for his uncle, training spies in an undercover school. There are enough of these stories, and enough details to match, to make historians believe Chiyome was a real person.

This was a pretty compelling narrative about a vigilant young woman who trained to become a ninja, then accepted her fate when her family arranged for her marriage to a powerful man’s nephew. The powerful man was Takeda Shingen, a fierce daimyo, known across Japan. Rather than rebel, whine, or complain about life’s injustice, Chiyome accepted her fate and did her duty.

When Chiyome’s husband died in battle, she saw an opportunity to practice what she has been trained to do – and proposed a highly unorthodox idea to Takeda Shingen, her dead husband’s uncle, who had enough foresight to listen. Chiyome went on to gather a group of women to be trained by her as professional spies.

This is different from other picturebooks, in that it is more text-heavy in comparison. However, Celia Krampien’s illustrations were lovely and the narrative had an arresting beat and pace to it, urging the reader to flip through the pages to know more. The delineation between what is fact and fiction also makes for good reading, alongside a list of references for further research to those who are keen on knowing more. Definitely a worthy addition to any school’s library.

#WomenReadWomen2019: Country – Canada (both author and illustrator are based in Canada)

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Meet Female Ninja Mochizuki Chiyome

  1. This is a new one to me, Myra. It makes me wonder how many ‘secrets’ are kept in shadows in history. Thanks for sharing the book!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] My 2019 in Books: Favourite Reads Across Quarterly Reading Themes – Gathering Books

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