It was fun to reimagine an iconic adult male character as a teenage girl. The best part is that not much had to change about the character to make it work. The Robin Hood legend and character have been reimagined numerous times over the years–why not reimagine him in this particular way? The archetype is a playful, good-hearted, yet mischievous character, who rights the wrongs of a society by robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Traditionally Robin is represented as a child of privilege turned marginal person who uses his power to help the working class and the poor, all those whose livelihood and survival is threatened by the whims and greed of the ruling class. But these economic struggles are ageless, and the individuals who fight for justice historically come from all corners of society, and inhabit all kinds of identities.
My Robyn Hoodlum is a twelve year old girl whose parents have disappeared, after which she finds herself on the run for her life. She takes cover in the struggling neighborhood of Sherwood, where she gathers a band of misfit teens and fellow outlaws to confront the dictator and bring equality back to her people. I especially love the idea of a girl Robyn Hood because, while boys are often rewarded for being strong, independent, rebellious, and leaders, girls are typically encouraged to fall in line and follow the rules. Flipping the script on those cultural norms and expectations is a great deal of fun!
Kekla Magoon is the author of Shadows of Sherwood, How It Went Down, Camo Girl, 37 Things I Love, Fire in the Streets, and The Rock and the River, for which she received the ALA Coretta Scott King New Talent Award and an NAACP Image Award nomination. Raised in a biracial family in the Midwest, Kekla now teaches writing in New York City, conducts school and library visits nationwide, and serves on the Writers’ Council for the National Writing Project. Kekla holds a B.A. in History from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.