“Grace O’Malley, Queen of the Sea” by Elizabeth O’Neill-Sheehan
As part of the Family Locket Book Club, we’ll be featuring a children’s book each month. Please share your comments on the books in our Goodreads group or in the comments section! The criteria for the children’s books we share will be:
- books that are about someone’s ancestors
- books that give ideas for writing family history stories for children
- books that teach about genealogy and family history
- books that inspire young people to learn more about history, especially as it pertains to their own family
*This post contains affiliate links. If you click the link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission but it doesn’t change the price of the item.
Grace O’Malley, Queen of the Sea
Elizabeth O’Neill-Sheehan, an elementary school counselor and children’s book author, just released a new book inspired by the bedtime stories her mother shared about their legendary ancestor.
Published in February of this year, Grace O’Malley, Queen of the Sea is about a famous female pirate, chieftain, and warrior who lived in the 1530s and met Queen Elizabeth of England. In an interview with Chris Goudreau of Reminder Publications, O’Neill-Sheehan said the book is about Grace’s character more than her life story. The book is written in an “Irish song-like manner” with rhythm and rhyme.
O’Neill-Sheehan illustrated the book with her own artwork inspired by Celtic designs.
I read Grace O’Malley to my five year old. Although it wasn’t my favorite book, Jacob liked it and asked questions throughout. The story of an interesting historical person never fails to disappoint! I appreciate the efforts of O’Neill -Sheehan to write the story of her ancestor in a way that a child can digest. I’m actually kind of inspired to try drawing my own artwork in the next ancestor book I make. Why not?
I don’t think we’re related to Grace O’Malley, but learning about our own Irish ancestors will be an enchanting way for our family to celebrate Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month this year. With Saint Patrick’s day around the corner, I’m always trying to think of ways to incorporate family history into our traditional green eggs breakfast and leprechaun games.
My husband’s second great grandmother, Margaret Ann McCleve Hancock, emigrated from her birthplace in Belfast, Ireland, to the United States in 1856. She and my third great grandmother from England actually sailed on the same ship – the May 1856 voyage S. Curling to Boston. Margaret’s family found it difficult to leave their beloved homeland where she had played at the beach and beautiful grounds of the property her father was caretaker over, but ultimately decided to join the other Mormons who had emigrated to Utah.
We visited Margaret’s log cabin in Taylor, Arizona last May and learned about her family and career as a midwife. Margaret delivered hundreds of babies and cared for the sick in her town for over twenty-five years.
Like Elizabeth O’Neill Sheehan’s mother, we can tell bedtime stories about our unique ancestors and inspire them with tales of the past!