We’ve all heard the stories here and there of women and their roles in fighting for our country’s independence, but many of these stories are apocryphal at best and some are almost certainly untrue. Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution sets the record straight on the many—and true—accomplishments of women during the Revolution.
Laurie Halse Anderson has compiled numerous true stories of how women helped win the war, from acting as spies to actually joining the army. Each page has conversational text that is engaging even for reluctant readers. There are also comic book-style illustrations with text boxes telling about specific ladies and their exploits. At the bottom of each page is a timeline combining major events from the Revolution with deeds from those daring dames. The book is geared toward elementary students (and I would use it with older kids, too, due to the sheer amount of information), but even adults are going to learn something new.
At the end of the book, Anderson includes even more information with sections on even more women, details about whether some of those stories we’ve heard are true or not, and background on the different groups in the country at the time. If that’s not enough, there is a lengthy bibliography for those who want to learn more and there are web resources listed, too.
Independent Dames is a book that proves that women didn’t sit back and let the men do all the hard work and that history is definitely not boring!