Wednesday, February 23

"Remember the Ladies!" History from Another Perspective

Any time we can learn through novels and short stories, we do!  You guys know just how much we love our novel studies - we've created more than a hundred of them, after all - and when we discovered this book series that brings early American history to life through female lead characters...we knew we had to share!

Abigail Adams once admonished her husband to "Remember the ladies!"  That's exactly what Libby Carty McNamee does with her American history series for children and young adults.

Currently, there are two books in the series, with a third coming soon.  Each has its own accompanying study guide, too.  These highly organized workbooks include chapter-by-chapter vocabulary words and multiple- choice reading comprehension questions, along with an answer key. In addition, there are discussion questions pertain to each chapter and the novel as a whole. And an interesting factoid -- these books are so well-researched that In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly unanimously created “Susanna Bolling Day” on December 5, which is Susanna's birthday, based upon Libby’s research!

As the former Colonies struggle for freedom, the American Revolution is in the hands of a brave and resourceful teenage girl. At sixteen, Susanna Bolling is like America in rebellion; she craves independence. While her brothers are off fighting for the Patriots, she longs to do more than tedious household chores and attend spinning bees in sleepy City Point, Virginia. When British General Cornwallis invades her family’s Bollingbrook Plantation, she overhears his secret plan to defeat the Patriots. Much to her shock, she finds herself at the center of the war. Now America’s fight for liberty hinges on her. But can she overcome her mother’s objections, face her own fears, and outwit the famed General and his entire Army? Based on the TRUE story of revolutionary courage and conviction that’s sure to captivate readers of all ages.

Libby has done an excellent job of researching the era, both in historic fact and in cultural terms.  She brings the reader right into the action through her use of sensory language, description, and period-relevant language.  This book was a fabulous read-aloud...even to a house full of boys!  It features Susanna, a real-life female from Revolutionary War history, who overcame her fears to help the colonies in her "life's moment."  It also details everyday life during this era, including the struggles and small things that defined this time.  It's a story of courage, sacrifice, and everyday heroes.

Best Book in U.S. Historical Fiction, Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Fall 2021

Amidst the nonstop turmoil of the War of 1812, the decisive First Lady takes action and inspires an anxious nation.  Dolley Madison faces a bitterly divided Washington City when her husband, James Madison, becomes our fourth president. The prospect of war against Great Britain threatens to tear our fragile republic apart. The "Presidentess" hosts open parties in the new President's House to unite political foes and cultivate an American identity.  When President Madison declares war with disastrous results, Dolley carries on, ignoring the threats against her. However, as British soldiers march toward Washington City, she becomes their target. Now America's Second War of Independence hinges on her. What must she do to save the United States while also saving herself?  The true story of a woman with humble Quaker roots who rallies America during the War of 1812!

Similar to the first book, this one is well-researched and teaches a lot of history in its pages.  The War of 1812 was sort of like the Second Revolutionary War, and not something that gets much attention in the grand scheme of things, so for that reason alone this is an important one to add to your read-aloud collection.  It tells the story of the fourth "presidentess," Dolley Madison, and how she navigated the tumultuous struggles of this era.  It's a fast-paced book, full of real-life adventure, that will keep your students engaged and wanting to learn more on their own.


Want to know about the third book?  It hasn't released yet, but we've got the details for you.  Titled "The Union Spymistress in Richmond: Elizabeth Van Lew,” it features Elizabeth Van Lew, a Unionist in Richmond who organized an extensive spy ring that orchestrated a prison escape, infiltrated the Confederate White House, and reported directly to General Grant.  Exciting stuff!!  Go ahead and check out the first two so you'll be ready when it drops later this year...  

Visit the author & learn more:

  • Website:
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  • Instagram:  libbymcnameeauthor
  • Goodreads:  Libby McNamee

Find ALL the novel studies...

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