Did You Know?
March is Women’s History Month. A month commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in the world. It was started as Women’s History Week in Northern California.
In Santa Rosa, California, the schools in the area designated a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. They decided that it should be the week of March 8 since it corresponded with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the U.S. and is now growing in importance worldwide as more women are being recognized for their important contributions. This month we will be sharing social media posts, blogs, articles, and children’s books that honor the world’s women. We encourage you all to share the materials and post your comments, highlighting the important women of your country so that we can share.
A Month-long Celebration
To kick off the month, we wanted to start with you three children’s books about an incredible Arabian woman, The Queen of Sheba, or also known as The Queen of Saba.
Our first book is part of an exciting series of Arabic children’s books called “Immortal Women.” A set of 12 storybooks for young children, highlighting the unique roles of women in Arabic history. It is one of my favorites, and I especially love the book on the Queen of Saba – ‘the wise believer.’ She is also known as Queen of Sheba, Bilqees (Arabic), and Makeda (Ethiopian). What makes her so special is that she is powerful as a leader in the Torah, the Quran, and the Bible.
Learning more about the Queen of Saba, I think that you will find what a wonderful role model she is because not only was she intelligent and strategic, but throughout history, she was known as a diplomatic leader. The Queen of Sheeba is known to have formed a committee with the most brilliant and powerful men in her country. She only made decisions after listening to this committee and then openly inviting different opinions and constructive criticism. I cannot think of another more powerful trait to introduce into our world than that!
At the time the Queen lived, King Suleiman ruled Arabia and was a robust and intelligent ruler with the magical gift of talking to animals. One citing states that birds in the Suleiman’s court would fan their wings out and provide shade for him. One day, a bird called Hudhud (a type of Hoopoe bird) was absent from the court. Suleiman inquired about his absence and threatened to punish him unless he had a reasonable explanation for his absence. When Hudhud reappeared, he explained that he discovered a magnificent kingdom near Yemen’s Saba region, ruled by a remarkable queen. Suleiman wrote a letter and ordered Hudud to hand it to the Queen. Upon receiving the letter, the Queen was intrigued and requested council from her trusted advisors. The advisors told the Queen not to negotiate with Suleiman and reminded her how strong and capable her kingdom was that could easily defeat Suleiman. Yet, as an extraordinary leader with a long-term vision, she knew to trust her instincts, and she responded to them :
“We are strong and have power but in the manner that Suleiman has delivered his message shows that we should carefully consider what steps to take. Also, peace and friendship are better and wiser; war only brings humiliation, enslaves people, and destroys the good things.”
A leader takes people where they want to go, but a great leader takes people they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be (Rosalyn Carter).
The adventurous Queen undertook a 1400-mile journey across the desert sands of Arabia to meet and converse with Suleiman. It is cited that she was so impressed with Suleiman’s faith and wisdom that she brought back that new knowledge and shared it with her people.
Despite the contesting narratives, many historians believe that the Queen of Saba’s journey was a diplomatic expedition to secure favorable trade agreements for her people. Some believe that with her new relationship with Suleiman, she could extend her power and kingdom to new lands. She used her witts, intellect, and elegance to benefit her people, trade, overcome her competition, and become one of the most powerful women in Arabian history.
Let’s Read & Share Books on The Queen of Sheba
Here are three children’s stories that will delight you and kick off the #WomensHistoryMonth. Please let us know which one you prefer and share any other stories on this remarkable woman or other women who have impacted.
Makeda: Queen of Sheba