Natasha Yim chose to write about Cixi, The Dragon Empress because she wanted to know more about this period in Chinese history. Moreover, she had been more and more interested in getting back to her cultural roots and heritage—and her writing reflects just that. Yim was intrigued with this fascinating, complex woman. Cixi was handcuffed as a ruler in many ways by the cultural traditions and biases of her time. There was such upheaval during her reign that her responses or lack thereof changed the political landscape of China forever.
Yim hopes that kids can read this book and know that women can have power, but with great power comes great responsibility. Whether we’re men or women, the decisions we make can have lasting consequences.
Here's a description of the book:
Cixi, The Dragon Empress is about the last empress of China whose alleged greed and lust for power brought down the Ching Dynasty that had ruled China for 260 years, and ended a 5,000 year-old imperial system. Cixi ruled China for about 50 years, at a time when women had very little say at all. In fact, as a woman, she couldn't be seen as governing. So she had to give orders from behind the emperor's throne, shielded by a yellow silk screen. She then had to make it look like the emperor's male advisors were really the ones in charge by saying, "I leave it to you".
Cixi was bad tempered and flew into terrible rages, sometimes gouging servants with her six-inch long fingernails (a fashion statement for noble women.) She spent lavishly on clothes and jewelry while the people of China suffered floods, famine, and starvation. She was also accused of poisoning rivals. Her dastardly deeds earned her the nickname, The Dragon Empress.
The book, as in all the books in the series, questions whether the women really deserve their wicked nicknames. Were they unjustly vilified because they were women in power? The books also ask kids to consider the long-term consequences of name-calling. In Cixi's case, some of the dastardly rumors whispered about her were not true, or at least there was no evidence to support them, but they have stuck with her for over 100 years.
You can find out more about Natasha Yim and Gretchen Maurer’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/YimandMaurer.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Yim and Maurer, along with the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.
In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Natasha Yim and Gretchen Maurer about their books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Yim and Maurer will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life. The show will be live November 14, 2011 at 2pm EST.