cover image Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies

Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies

Cokie Roberts, illus. by Diane Goode. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-078002-9

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.)