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Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies

Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies

4.5 2
by Cokie Roberts

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Fans of number one New York Times bestselling author and celebrated journalist Cokie Roberts will love this stunning nonfiction picture book based on her acclaimed work for adults, Founding Mothers, which highlights the female patriots of the American Revolution.

Beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor–winning artist Diane Goode,


Fans of number one New York Times bestselling author and celebrated journalist Cokie Roberts will love this stunning nonfiction picture book based on her acclaimed work for adults, Founding Mothers, which highlights the female patriots of the American Revolution.

Beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor–winning artist Diane Goode, Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies reveals the incredible accomplishments of the women who orchestrated the American Revolution behind the scenes. Roberts traces the stories of heroic, patriotic women such as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay, and others. Details are gleaned from their letters, private journals, lists, and ledgers. The bravery of these women’s courageous acts contributed to the founding of America and spurred the founding fathers to make this a country that “remembered the ladies.”

This compelling book supports the Common Core State Standards with a rich time line, biographies, an author’s note, and additional web resources in the back matter.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Sarah Harrison Smith
…Roberts's style and tone is warm and casual, bringing a feeling of immediacy to distant 18th-century lives…Goode's illustrations, in of-the-era pen and ink, help define the spirit of the women whose lives Roberts sketches. With their determined, amused glances and double chins, they look well prepared for the task of nation-building…Roberts certainly succeeds in providing an accessible and very attractive introduction to the entrepreneurial, resolute, daring and brave ladies of the Revolution, whom George Washington attested were "in the number of the best patriots America can boast."
Publishers Weekly
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.)
School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-11-13
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)

ALA Booklist
“An engaging and educational historical reference.”
“Highlights the roles of the expected (Abigail Adams, Martha Washington) and unexpected (Mercy Otis Warren, Catherine Littlefield Green) sheroes who attended to the birth of our nation.” From the article “Rad Women Your Girls (and Boys!) Should Read About”
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Drawing upon the research from her book for adults, Founding Mothers (2004), Roberts presents two-page spreads on ten women who were wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters during the time of the American Revolution. These women were actively engaged in helping win the war against England in a variety of ways. Martha Washington spent her winters in the army camps and she volunteered to be inoculated against smallpox to set an example for the soldiers. Eliza Lucas Pinckney, at age nineteen, successfully planted indigo on her plantation making it “the biggest money-making crop in South Carolina before the American Revolution.” Mercy Otis Warren and Phillis Wheatley wrote plays, letters, and poems that inspired patriotism. Esther DeBerdt Reed raised support and funds for the American soldiers. There are two other two-page spreads that provide background on the importance of women writers and women soldiers. Paragraph profiles are provided for these women. Equally important are Goode’s illustrations. Her use of antique pens and inkwells adds a further dimension to her artwork, and hark back to that time and place. She presents serious portraits and has recreated the signatures of each of these ten women. Alongside these are other drawings, sometimes humorous, that relate to the text and will help the reader remember the work of each woman. The Liberty Tree at the end serves as a reminder of women’s role in American history. The drawing of a pen and inkwell on the left-front endpaper leads the reader to Abigail Adams’ now famous letter to her husband advising him to remember the ladies. Be sure to take note of Abigail’s gown as well. Turn to the back endpapers for a handwritten copy of Esther DeBerdt Reed’s “Sentiments of an American Woman.” This will serve as an introduction to these women, and also inform the reader of the important roles women performed before, during, and after the American Revolution. While only a brief amount of information is given for each “Founding Mother,” if readers look at the book in its entirety, they will gain insight into how these women used their personalities and knowledge to further the cause. A timeline at the beginning and a conclusion at the end round out this picture book presentation. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo; Ages 8 to 12.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.60(d)
1120L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and NPR. She has won countless awards and in 2008 was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, Founding Mothers, Ladies of Liberty, and, with her husband, the journalist Steven V. Roberts, From This Day Forward and Our Haggadah.

Diane Goode is the illustrator of more than fifty beloved and critically acclaimed picture books, including the Caldecott Honor Book When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. Inspired by the handwritten letters of the Founding Mothers, she begins with their quill and sepia handwriting and spins out the line to re-create their images and the remarkable events of their lives for a new generation of young readers.

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Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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