The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History


Product Details

Little Brown and Company
Publish Date
Compact Disc

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About the Author

Nathalia Holt is the author of Cured: The People Who Defeated HIV and a former fellow at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard University. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times,, Slate,, and Popular Science. She lives in Boston.
Saskia Maarleveld is an experienced audiobook narrator and voice-over actress based in New York City. Raised in New Zealand and France, she is highly skilled with accents and dialects, and many of her books have been narrated entirely in accents other than her own. In addition to audiobooks, Saskia's voice can be heard in animation, video games, and commercials. She attributes her love and understanding of reading books aloud to coming from a large family where audiobooks were the only way to get though car rides without fighting! Visit to learn more.


"Nathalia Holt's richly detailed group biography shines a welcome light on Disney's true heroines--not the princesses on the screen, but the talented female artists and writers working hard behind the scenes. The Queens of Animation is also a crisp reflection on Hollywood's charged and changing relationship with beauty, race, and fame."

-- "Margot Lee Shetterly, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Figures"

"A remarkable true story, unforgettably told. Walt Disney gave women artists a chance when few others would. Their experiences included opportunity, discrimination, heartbreak, and beauty. Holt has unearthed a vivid, soaring, vitally important untold story of women's contribution to technology, entertainment, and art."

-- "Lisa Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girl"
"Readers who loved Nathalia Holt's Rise of the Rocket Girls will find so much to enjoy in this deeply researched, loving celebration of Disney's long-overlooked female pioneers. In The Queens of Animation, Holt evocatively blends social history, technological advances and the personal lives of these forgotten artists to champion their achievements and their legacy."-- "Kate Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Radium Girls"

"Holt's marvelous The Queens of Animation grips from the first page with its alternately harrowing and inspiring tale of the women who breathed life into iconic Disney characters. This important book not only corrects cultural history, it subtly changes it. As Holt shows so masterfully, the bright colors and curved lines that become those fairy tale figures are the results of real women's brains, strength, and passion."

-- "Mary Gabriel, author of Ninth Street Women"

"Disney's female artists and writers have finally been receiving long overdue recognition. Holt's heartfelt, deeply researched tome, however, is the first to truly highlight the sexism they experienced at the studio...Using letters, interviews with family members, and archived documents, Holt captures the full scope of Disney history, from Snow White to Moana, through intimate portraits of the women who worked there. This groundbreaking work laments the discrimination these artists endured while celebrating the verve, creativity, and resiliency they drew on to bring beautiful art and three-dimensional characters to the big screen."

-- "Booklist (starred review)"

"This is one you don't want to miss--and won't want to put down. Holt brings her empathy, smart writing, and knack for research to the story of another group of extraordinary, unsung women heroes: the remarkable women who overcame sexism, intimidation, harassment, and no small amount of mansplaining to reshape Walt Disney Studios, and even transform the way Walt Disney himself thought about art and storytelling."

-- "Brian Jay Jones, author of Becoming Dr. Seuss and George Lucas: A Life"

"Eye-opening and empowering...Holt rectifies a serious she tells the often-omitted stories of these enormously talented women."

-- "Library Journal (starred review)"

"Think of this book as if Hidden Figures were about Walt Disney Studios instead of NASA. The Queens of Animation pulls back the curtain on a handful of influential, and largely under-recognized, women writers and animators who helped shape the early aesthetic of Disney during a time when the industry was largely a boy's club...Holt goes from Snow White up to Frozen in this essential read ahead of the launch of Disney+ this fall."

-- "Jeva Lange, The Week, 25 Books to Read in the Second Half of 2019"
"The contribution of women to human creations is so often ignored, often kept behind the scenes, unrecognized or even secretly shielded by men who took all the credit--in the halls of power, in NASA engineering meetings, in Hollywood productions, and even, it seems in the world of animation. The Queens of Animation draws on the revealing and engagingly personal stories of many talented women who had a hand in the creation of the animated Disney films we all love--a long overdue recognition for their contributions. It's time to resuscitate and honor all that women have clandestinely--by design--molded and shaped."-- "Kara Cooney, author of When Women Ruled the World"

"A riveting and essential read about the women who helped create many of the most famous Walt Disney films. Like Hidden Figures and Rise of the Rocket Girls, The Queens of Animation tells us a story we need to hear, one that was lost to history until now."

-- "Charlotte Gordon, author of Romantic Outlaws"

"Engrossing...While restoring these women to their rightful place in history, Holt also covers the evolution of Disney's animated features, such as how the studio continually integrated new technological innovations, including the multiplane camera, stop-motion animation, Technicolor, and many others. Going up to the present to highlight how women have continued to play key roles in making films like Brave and Frozen, Holt's thorough and enchanting account will be a must-read for Disney enthusiasts and champions of women's artistic contributions."

-- "Publishers Weekly"