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Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution

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Listen up! You've all heard about the great men who led and fought during the American Revolution; but did you know that the guys only make up part of the story? What about the women? The girls? The dames? Didn't they play a part? Of course they did, and with page after page of superbly researched information and thoughtfully detailed illustrations, acclaimed novelist and Listen up! You've all heard about the great men who led and fought during the American Revolution; but did you know that the guys only make up part of the story? What about the women? The girls? The dames? Didn't they play a part? Of course they did, and with page after page of superbly researched information and thoughtfully detailed illustrations, acclaimed novelist and picture-book author Laurie Halse Anderson and charismatic illustrator Matt Faulkner prove the case in this entertaining, informative, and long overdue homage to those independent dames!


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Listen up! You've all heard about the great men who led and fought during the American Revolution; but did you know that the guys only make up part of the story? What about the women? The girls? The dames? Didn't they play a part? Of course they did, and with page after page of superbly researched information and thoughtfully detailed illustrations, acclaimed novelist and Listen up! You've all heard about the great men who led and fought during the American Revolution; but did you know that the guys only make up part of the story? What about the women? The girls? The dames? Didn't they play a part? Of course they did, and with page after page of superbly researched information and thoughtfully detailed illustrations, acclaimed novelist and picture-book author Laurie Halse Anderson and charismatic illustrator Matt Faulkner prove the case in this entertaining, informative, and long overdue homage to those independent dames!

30 review for Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luisa Knight

    I didn't like the prevailing attitude in this book, which could easily be summed up with "I am woman, hear me roar." Here's a sample of two paragraphs. Notice the perspective of the guys got it wrong and the women got it right?: "American men held meetings and wrote letters and sent politicians to ask the British to treat us fairly. Didn't work. "American women stopped buying British stuff. It was a boycott. (Maybe we should call it a girlcott. Or a ladycott.)" I'll pass, thanks. How about a book I didn't like the prevailing attitude in this book, which could easily be summed up with "I am woman, hear me roar." Here's a sample of two paragraphs. Notice the perspective of the guys got it wrong and the women got it right?: "American men held meetings and wrote letters and sent politicians to ask the British to treat us fairly. Didn't work. "American women stopped buying British stuff. It was a boycott. (Maybe we should call it a girlcott. Or a ladycott.)" I'll pass, thanks. How about a book showing men and women both working hard and working together? **Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Brimming with tidbits about all the women who helped with the American Revolution in numerous ways, this book is almost overwhelming visually and in terms of content. There's the main narrative, the illustrations (almost cartoon-strip like with characters speaking in bubbles), and a running border along the bottom of each page giving even MORE info on women and their deeds. But, this is also a very important book as the women of the American Revolution are so often overshadowed by the men and th Brimming with tidbits about all the women who helped with the American Revolution in numerous ways, this book is almost overwhelming visually and in terms of content. There's the main narrative, the illustrations (almost cartoon-strip like with characters speaking in bubbles), and a running border along the bottom of each page giving even MORE info on women and their deeds. But, this is also a very important book as the women of the American Revolution are so often overshadowed by the men and those dames did some pretty darn amazing things! Also, the book is full of humor which sometimes borders on the flippant (unintentionally so, I think) but should generally enrich the experience for kids and make history FUN!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I wanted to love this book so, so much. It's right up my alley: fantastic illustrations and my favorite subject matter - ladies of the American Revolution! However, there were quite a few complaints. One being that the "story" or the narrative part of the book was much too heavy-handed. I felt as if I was being slapped in the face with the author's radical feminism with every page. Now, believe you me, I consider myself a feminist, but the rude, sarcastic text was abrasive and I did not enjoy it I wanted to love this book so, so much. It's right up my alley: fantastic illustrations and my favorite subject matter - ladies of the American Revolution! However, there were quite a few complaints. One being that the "story" or the narrative part of the book was much too heavy-handed. I felt as if I was being slapped in the face with the author's radical feminism with every page. Now, believe you me, I consider myself a feminist, but the rude, sarcastic text was abrasive and I did not enjoy it. I eventually stopped reading that part and stuck to the information about the different ladies, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The fact bubbles about the different women and their contributions and why those actions were important were VERY WELL DONE! My other complaint would be that the pages were over-loaded with information as to be overwhelming. In addition to the narrative portion and the individual fact bubbles, there was a running timeline of events in the war at the bottom of the page. It was a nice touch that ended up being superfluous and just tipped the scale into too-much to look at.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Did not like this brand of humor.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christina Mitchell

    "Hello? How about the women?"(p.6). This young reader book is profound in its message toward youth as well as adults. From the outset, the book drives the point that women are not mentioned in the history of the making of the United States, not because they did not act, but because they simply were not written about. Black, Native American, and White, women rode farther than Paul Revere; were the impetus for the strength of the boycott against English tea and merchandise (not afraid to tar and fe "Hello? How about the women?"(p.6). This young reader book is profound in its message toward youth as well as adults. From the outset, the book drives the point that women are not mentioned in the history of the making of the United States, not because they did not act, but because they simply were not written about. Black, Native American, and White, women rode farther than Paul Revere; were the impetus for the strength of the boycott against English tea and merchandise (not afraid to tar and feather traitors to the cause); wrote pamphlets, newspapers, and inspirational lyrics; and followed men to the front lines and dressed in men's clothing to take up arms fighting bravely, suffering injury, freeing prisoners of war, nursing the wounded, burying the dead, and carrying secrets. And, their service was once acknowledged! George Washington recognized African slave Phillis Wheatley for her famous poems of the Revolution, and called the women who cooked and cleaned for soldiers "Women of the Army." Women earned military pay and military pensions, and were renowned for fighting off enemy troops. Yet, only the great men of the Revolution earned their names in print. Anderson knows the way to rectify this is to start digging through our own family histories for the truth. The dedication of the book leads the charge. It reads, "Dedicated to my Revolutionary grandmothers," listing the author's own 22 mothers of the Revolution.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim Snell

    Genre: Informative Copyright: 2008 The American Revolution is one of the most important periods in the history of the United States. We know the key events and people who helped the U.S. gain its independence from Britain: Paul Revere and his famous ride, George Washington and crossing the Delaware, The signing of the Declaration of Independence, etc. It's easy to overlook the many people who helped contribute in their own ways, especially during a time where women were not considered equals among Genre: Informative Copyright: 2008 The American Revolution is one of the most important periods in the history of the United States. We know the key events and people who helped the U.S. gain its independence from Britain: Paul Revere and his famous ride, George Washington and crossing the Delaware, The signing of the Declaration of Independence, etc. It's easy to overlook the many people who helped contribute in their own ways, especially during a time where women were not considered equals among men, but many women played key roles in America's time of need. Have you ever heard of Sybil Ludington? How about Jane Thomas? "Independent Dames" is a book full of rich and historic events where women are the main focus and showcases the events that these brave and heroic women took part of. One of the things I loved about this book was the time-line which ran on the bottom of each page. The book's illustrations are great! The illustrator adds humor and great "bubble captions" that enhance the story even more. This book is great for students studying the American revolution, yet may be too difficult to read for younger students. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about America's past, as well as the characters who helped shape the history of our United States.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate Hastings

    Growing up, I learned very little about women and minorities in our American History books. It wasn't always because our teachers didn't want us to know-- it's just that there was very little recorded. Now historians are digging through letters, journals and other first-hand accounts to bring us a rounder picture of history. This is the story of women and how they helped win the Revolutionary War. These were not women who fainted and dropped hankies. Their heroics went beyond feeding their familie Growing up, I learned very little about women and minorities in our American History books. It wasn't always because our teachers didn't want us to know-- it's just that there was very little recorded. Now historians are digging through letters, journals and other first-hand accounts to bring us a rounder picture of history. This is the story of women and how they helped win the Revolutionary War. These were not women who fainted and dropped hankies. Their heroics went beyond feeding their families and running their households while the men were away. Because women were pretty much considered 1/2 people in those days, they had access to information and could cross boundaries because they were not seen as threatening. They defended their homes with weapons, caught spies, acted as spies, cleaned up battlefields and set up hospitals. Another example of how thousands of average citizens--women citizens--helped to change history and make America what it is today.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Absolutely Delightful book full of fascinating stories of the women of the American Revolution. It really gives one an appreciation of what it takes to keep an army of men functional.........and that is an army of women. Finally, their story is being delightfully told in this very informative and entertaining book! HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joenna

    Learn about unknown yet important historical women of the American Revolution including spies, soldiers, writers, and leaders in the rebellion. Cartoon like illustrations and text with a timeline to follow at the bottom of the page. A great book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I loved this picture book about women who are not well known but helped the Revolutionary War. I love the author Laurie Halse Anderson, and recommend it for adults also because it is entertaining and you learn a lot. Spencer and Genevieve kept asking me I was crying and laughing as I read it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    A wonderful picture book that can be used across the curriculum! Once again, I love how LHA tells us a story about strong women and girls! What an interesting take on the history I thought I knew...now, I know more about HER-story!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a great book for elementary students. It's cleverly written to inform and entertain the readers with facts about these women who made contributions to our country but who are rarely mentioned in traditional history books.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    This is such a plethora of information about the women who helped make the American Revolution successful. Interesting dialogue, great illustrations, and just a teensy-weensy bit of feminine indignation that these stories aren't told along side the ones of Paul Revere, Nathan Hale, and others.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    Breathtaking, informative, empowering. This edgy, unique portrait of our most important war boldly unearths true history, not just the male half, with no apology. A must-read for every student of the American Revolution.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Anderson, Laurie Halse Independent Dames, illustrated by Matt Faulkner. Simon and Schuster, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Slowly the women of the American Revolution are gaining the recognition that they deserve. Anderson’s book brings these women’s storied to the elementary age with her picture book which can be read on several levels. Each page has an illustration, accompanying explanation, a more detailed blurb about a particular woman and detailed information on the timeline running below each page. T Anderson, Laurie Halse Independent Dames, illustrated by Matt Faulkner. Simon and Schuster, 2008. PICTURE BOOK. Slowly the women of the American Revolution are gaining the recognition that they deserve. Anderson’s book brings these women’s storied to the elementary age with her picture book which can be read on several levels. Each page has an illustration, accompanying explanation, a more detailed blurb about a particular woman and detailed information on the timeline running below each page. The information is rich enough that almost every level of American History teacher can use this in their classroom. EL – ESSENTIAL, MS – ADVISABLE, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library-Teacher.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shelli

    Non-fiction reads about empowering woman of history are my favorite books to share with children; Independent Dames is filled with them. That being said this was not a great format for the quantity of information that Laurie Halse Anderson was trying to deliver. There was just the smallest amount of information on each of the woman presented, making none of them particularly memorable. Instead I would love to see this put out as a collection of mini-biographies, especially since many of these wo Non-fiction reads about empowering woman of history are my favorite books to share with children; Independent Dames is filled with them. That being said this was not a great format for the quantity of information that Laurie Halse Anderson was trying to deliver. There was just the smallest amount of information on each of the woman presented, making none of them particularly memorable. Instead I would love to see this put out as a collection of mini-biographies, especially since many of these women do not have one available about them for school age readers and listeners.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Micheale

    I really enjoyed this book that I happened upon in a high school English class, while substituting. It's a great introduction to some of the strongest women of the American Revolution. The artwork and writing are done so well. Definitely worth the 5 minutes it takes to read it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Definitely on the shelf for next Revolutionary War unit. I love Faulkner’s illustrations that pair perfectly with the extensive information and notes from Anderson. Great job of providing lots of info in small bits and sketches!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Risinger

    good info but tons on a page that I didn't read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ms Threlkeld

    Informative and funny. Great class resource when studying the American Revolution.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Watson

    Thorough and funny

  22. 5 out of 5

    Makenna Quinby

    his fic. I loved how it brought facts to women and how they helped my country form. I enjoyed how it showed the feminist side of how she writes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Packed full of interesting stories of women and girls in the American revolution. Excellent!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Holly Halberg

    My favorite part in this book is the parts where it told stories about individual women and the things they did to help in the American Revolution. I could use this book in my class when learning about powerful women in history or lessons on the American Revolution.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Audra Gayle

    Selah picked out this gem, and it was a fun read!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Patterson

    Educational and interesting! I plan on using it in my 5th grade classroom when we cover the American Revolution.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shel

    Anderson, L.H. (2008). Independent Dames. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 0689858086 Appetizer: As a class prepares to put on a play about the American Revolution they showcase some of the women who helped create the U.S.A. This information picturebook very intentionally pushes the ladies of the revolution (or the daughter of liberty) into the spot light, giving voice to historic figures that are usually left in the background or worse, not included at all. The stories of female Anderson, L.H. (2008). Independent Dames. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 0689858086 Appetizer: As a class prepares to put on a play about the American Revolution they showcase some of the women who helped create the U.S.A. This information picturebook very intentionally pushes the ladies of the revolution (or the daughter of liberty) into the spot light, giving voice to historic figures that are usually left in the background or worse, not included at all. The stories of female revolutionaries will educate, inspire and amuse many readers. Anderson uses succinct language to share the women's stories. She avoids being metaphorical (which is one of my favorite parts of her YA novels, but I was thankful to see it excluded from this picturebook). Anderson makes sure to include an African American voice, that of Phillis Wheatley. Older students could go from this picturebook to reading her poetry as fast as a teacher can hand them a second book. The stories of Sally St. Clair a Creole girl, and Iyonajanegen a Oneida woman are also included. While I love the message of this book, I really wasn't rocking the illustrations. Even more so than with the color, all of the watercolor illustrations feature a lot of pen lines in the drawings, criss-crossing and adding depth and dimension. But really, all those lines just made the pictures too busy and a bit overwhelming to look at. Also, since there's the general narration text on each page, side boxes of various women's biographies or stories and dialogue boxes, it's hard to know what the reader should read when. Along the bottom of each page, runs a who's who and timeline to help share the history of the time period. It include major events like the dates of various wars, proclamations, etc. And while this is a nice touch, I know my ten-year-old-self. Ten-year-old-me would never have bothered to read all those details. I think some of my close friends would have. But then, that's why ten-year-old me always secretly hated all of my friends. Nerds. So, in conclusion, yes to the concept of this book. No, no, no to how busy each page of the book was. Dinner Conversation: "Look, another school play about the heroes of the American Revolution. How sweet." "Of course, you're missing part of the story. In fact, you're missing about half of it." "Hello? How about the women? What about the girls? They wanted a free country too." "Deborah Sampson cut her hair, dressed as a man, and lived as a male soldier for eighteen months. She was wounded twice in battle--once by a saber blow to her head and later by a gunshot in the leg. Deborah was discharged when a doctor discovered she was a woman, but she received a military pension." To Go with the Meal: This picturebook would be a wonderful supplement to a standard textbook. Students can pick among the women described to research further and they can act out scenes from the story, or write letters in the voices of the women, etc. Students could add to some of the brief stories of the various women throughout the book. They could imagine dialogue and scenes to help the stories come alive. Tasty Rating: !!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne Hsu Feldman

    I like Anderson's main text and even though the illustrations are a bit too busy, they are fun to pore over, especially the funny speech bubble text. The book as a whole tries to do a LOT: there is Anderson's main text; there is the smaller caption sized inserted panels; there is the cartoon characters' dialogs; and there is the minuscule prints of the running timeline on the bottom of all the pages. I am all for the information within the book and am delighted to read about all these many femal I like Anderson's main text and even though the illustrations are a bit too busy, they are fun to pore over, especially the funny speech bubble text. The book as a whole tries to do a LOT: there is Anderson's main text; there is the smaller caption sized inserted panels; there is the cartoon characters' dialogs; and there is the minuscule prints of the running timeline on the bottom of all the pages. I am all for the information within the book and am delighted to read about all these many female movers and shakers of the Revolutionary War! The issues all lie in the design. Aside from having way too many elements crammed on each page, there are also these: The names of the Dames are printed in calligraphic font, making it not easy to discern (especially for a younger reader who has not mastered cursive). The extremely small type size in the timeline makes it really difficult to read and retain information presented there. The many pages of back matters present fascinating further information but can be overwhelming to a young reader. (Of course, we know that this is there so that a teacher can read more about the back stories and doesn't have to dig too much deeper or further to gain more info.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erin Reilly-Sanders

    While I found the first couple pages a bit disjointed, I ended up really liking the entire piece. The format is a little difficult to get used to with four different types of text per page. There's a timeline at the bottom, an overview to the left, diaglog in a comic strip style across the main portion of the page and detailed story snippets called out in ovals. With the first spread having mostly stuff in the less interesting timeline area, no snippets, and almost no dialog, it's a little diffi While I found the first couple pages a bit disjointed, I ended up really liking the entire piece. The format is a little difficult to get used to with four different types of text per page. There's a timeline at the bottom, an overview to the left, diaglog in a comic strip style across the main portion of the page and detailed story snippets called out in ovals. With the first spread having mostly stuff in the less interesting timeline area, no snippets, and almost no dialog, it's a little difficult to get into. However, the theme of the book is excellent, and as it written by Laurie Halse Anderson, her passion for the subject and the rigor with which she researched it really comes through to the reader. The style of the illustrations is fun and appropriate for the tone of the book. Somehow at first it seemed a bit of a sort of trite response to the male dominated history of the revolution, but the author's take on the subject really won me over and filled me with pride and admiration in the sense of strength of these figures that are typically unrecognized. It's a nice read as companion to Chains, as the reader can follow a little of Laurie thought process that brings her to writing about a slave girl in New York City during the revolution.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marissa Elera

    In a refreshing and interactive change-up, American women's history is introduced to girls in find-the-fact illustrated scenes, in which readers can dip in and read a fact about a certain woman or girl who influenced the scene's subject area. Learn about Phillis Wheatly, the African slave who became one of the most famous poets of the Revolution, "Mom" Rinker, who smuggled notes for spies in balls of her knitting yarn, or Ann Hennis Bailey, the army courier who masqueraded as a man to join the w In a refreshing and interactive change-up, American women's history is introduced to girls in find-the-fact illustrated scenes, in which readers can dip in and read a fact about a certain woman or girl who influenced the scene's subject area. Learn about Phillis Wheatly, the African slave who became one of the most famous poets of the Revolution, "Mom" Rinker, who smuggled notes for spies in balls of her knitting yarn, or Ann Hennis Bailey, the army courier who masqueraded as a man to join the war effort. Panels of further detailed information accompany the scenes, making the book as informative as it is humorous and entertaining. A delightful resource for academic pursuits, this fun non-fiction read includes a timeline spanning the bottom portion of every page, as well as an extended list of influential American heroines that could not be included in the main part of the book. Ages 8-10. "Hello? How about the women? What about the girls? They wanted a free country too. They worked, they argued, they fought, and they suffered - just like the men and the boys. They didn't teach you this yet? Listen up".

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