Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladiesby Cokie Roberts, Diane Goode
While much has been written about the men who founded our nation, this history includes only part of the story. Though they may not have signed the Constitution, written the Declaration of Independence, or fought in battles, the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters behind the scenes of the Revolution contributed to their country's birth as significantly as… See more details below
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While much has been written about the men who founded our nation, this history includes only part of the story. Though they may not have signed the Constitution, written the Declaration of Independence, or fought in battles, the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters behind the scenes of the Revolution contributed to their country's birth as significantly as the men in the spotlight.
New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts presents the contributions of these patriots, the women who fought the Revolution as courageously and heroically as the men, often defending the doors of their very homes. The stories of these founding mothers are found in their personal correspondence, private journals, ledgers, and lists. Roberts reveals the surprising tales of fascinating women such as Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Lucas Pinckney, Catharine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington. The extraordinary triumphs of these women created a shared bond that urged the founding fathers to "Remember the Ladies."
They wrote letters and literature, kept the home fires burning, ran the family farm, rallied support for the troops, and even fought alongside them. The women of the American Revolution get sprightly, affectionate tributes from Roberts, who covered this material for adults in 2004’s Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. Goode (the Louise the Big Cheese books) contributes quill-drawn portraits and historical vignettes, beautifully rendered in sepia tones and delicate watercolor washes reminiscent of images from journals and letters of the era. Together they celebrate the already beloved (Dolley Madison, Phillis Wheatley, and Deborah Sampson, who fought disguised as a man) and redeem a few figures from stereotype (who knew Martha Washington was such a dynamo?). Roberts’s disciplined concision—the major profiles run just five or six paragraphs, along with a smattering of single-paragraph nuggets—means that some stories feel rushed or missing a narrative arc. But readers will close the book confident that Abigail Adams herself would feel that these ladies are well remembered. Ages 7–12. Author’s agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)
Gr 3–6—Most children know that the "Founding Fathers" are the men who helped the 13 colonies develop into the United States. What about the women of the time period? While some of them, such as Martha Washington, Dolley Madison, and Deborah Read Franklin, are famous because of their husbands, Roberts goes deeper into the historical record to find individuals who were quite accomplished in their own right. In addition, many less-well-known women aided the war effort, ran businesses, wrote, spoke, and generally contributed a great deal to the development of the nation. The book begins with a time line of women in history from 1765 to 1815, followed by double-page chapers that detail individual women, including First Ladies Washington, Madison, and Abigail Adams, as well as others such as Sarah Livingston Jay and Catharine Littlefield Greene. A formal portrait and lovingly re-created signature are accompanied by a more humorous illustration of each figure. In addition, sections about writers and warriors highlight other significant accomplishments. Grammarians may not appreciate the author's colloquial style, but the conversational tone is appealing. Beautifully intricate illustrations, rendered with antique pens, sepia ink, and watercolors, suit the text well. Thoughtful design, well-chosen facts, and an approachable format combine to make a book readers will enjoy and appreciate.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
ABC and NPR correspondent Roberts and Caldecott Honoree Goode forge an attractive and compelling version for young people of Roberts' adult book of the same title. Goode's illustrations are often breathtaking. On the endpapers, she has reproduced in sepia tones with antique pens some of the source documents that allow readers to know these women. Roberts' lively text is illuminated with flourishes and curlicues along with winsome or whimsical portraits in what looks like ink and watercolor. Some women get two-page illustrated spreads, like Esther DeBerdt Reed, who wrote one of the endpaper pieces and who raised thousands of dollars for Washington's troops. They bought linen for 2,000 shirts for the soldiers, and into each was sewn the name of the woman who made it. There are briefer vignettes on women writers and women warriors, as well as an illustrated timeline from 1765 to 1815. Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison and Martha Washington are included of course, and there's also Mercy Otis Warren, who wrote letters and poems championing the cause of freedom, and Eliza Lucas Pinckney, whose "little schemes" included raising silkworms and cultivating indigo as a cash crop. Roberts' "Letter of Introduction" sets the stage, and the acknowledgments from writer and illustrator tell a compelling story of research and support. It is a wonderful package, adding the women who made it work to the men we thought we all knew. (websites) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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