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Children's Literature @ NYPL
Booktalking "Founding Mothers" by Cokie Roberts
Unfortunately, there is not much written about the formative female figures in our nation's history. In many cases, women assisted famous male figures, but some also did amazing things sheerly of their own volition.
Eliza Lucas Pinckney was placed in charge of three plantations in South Carolina at age sixteen. She came up with the idea of planting indigo to make blue dye for the soldiers' uniforms for the Revolutionary War.
Deborah Read Franklin was married to Ben Franklin, who became postmaster of Philadelphia in 1737. She ran the postal service in Ben's absence for years while he was away at war.
Phillis Wheatley was a slave who wrote poetry. She came to the United States on a slave ship when she was seven or eight years of age to Boston, MA.
Martha Washington spent eight long winters at military camps to improve the morale of the soldiers. She and the other wives also sewed, cooked, nursed, prayed for and entertained the soldiers in Valley Forge. She spent the summers in Mount Vernon, NY, where she helped produced many supplies for the warriors.
Deborah Sampson signed up for army service as Robert Shurtleff, and she fought for years until a physician treating her wounds incurred in battle discovered her gender. She was discharged from the service, but she received a soldier's retirement pay.
Emily Geiger rode a horse carrying a message from General Green through enemy territory at age eighteen. She was able to memorize it and swallow it in order to evade punishment.
Esther DeBerdt Reed raised $300,000 with the help of like-minded people in Philadelphia for troops. She wrote a newspaper article entitled, "Sentiments of an American Woman," which entreated women to support the troops.
Dolley Madison was married to James Madison. She saved a portrait of George Washington before enemy troops set fire to the White House. She also created the Female Orphan Asylum for girls whose fathers were killed during wartime.
I was thrilled to see Cokie Roberts giving a lecture about this book to a group of kids on bookTV. This is the first children's book that I have seen featured on the program. Roberts also wrote a version of this book for adults.