INDEPENDENT DAMESBy Laurie Halse AndersonIllustrated by Matt Faulkner
This Who’s Who cast of women proves that it wasn’t just men who were responsible for the birth of this nation. Women dressed as men picked up muskets and took to the battlefields, some became scouts and spies, and others became fundraisers for the war effort. Still others took charge of the family businesses while the men were away at war. PREREADING ACTIVITY
Bring library books on the American Revolution to class. Ask students to look in the index of at least three titles and make note of the women mentioned in the books. Who were the women of note? How did they contribute to the war effort? Check out the number of women mentioned under the American Revolution in a U.S. History textbook. Keep this in mind while reading Independent Dames.DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Anderson presents Independent Dames as a school play. How do the dialogue bubbles make the book modern and funny? Discuss the section of the book where Anderson acts as narrator. The “story” of the play unveils what really happened with the women during the American Revolution. Compare Anderson’s writing style as “narrator” to her style as she reports the facts of the story. What is the purpose of the time line at the bottom of each page?