Independent Dames

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 made up part of the story?

Of course they did, and with page after page of superbly researched information and thoughtfully detained 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!

Whether the women were disguising themselves as men in order to be soldiers, raising money for suffering soldiers, sewing and knitting for the troops, or participating in protests or a boycott of British goods, their actions were significant.

School Library Journal

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    Reviews & Awards


    • Nominated to 12 State Reading Award Lists
    • "The stories of 22 "Revolutionary Grandmothers" take center stage in this well-illustrated volume. ...but as the author establishes, there are many women and girls whose large and small contributions to the cause of independence have been largely ignored. ... Whether the women were disguising themselves as men in order to be soldiers, raising money for suffering soldiers, sewing and knitting for the troops, or participating in protests or a boycott of British goods, their actions were significant." School Library Journal

    • "I LOVED the voice in this book. Absolutely loved it. This is a picture book built for intermediate grades and middle schoolers, and the voice will speak to them. Middle schoolers are sarcastic, they are know-it-alls, and they certainly don’t want to be treated like babies. Too many non-fiction picture books talk down to students, dumbing down the information and making the topic dry and dull. Anderson makes the information accessible and dare I say, even fun!

      There are 89 women profiled throughout the book. Most of the women are featured in biographical sketches that explain their contribution to the war effort. While the wives of the Founding Fathers are featured, they play a small role compared to the other various women profiled. The women whom Anderson chose to feature constantly elicited exclamations from me as I read. For example, I had no idea that Sybil Ludington was 16 years old when she rose 40 miles through the night to spread the news of a British attack and round up militia members. Remember Paul Revere? He rode 16 miles. Total. Who knew?! The biographical sketches are all easy to read and do not burden the reader with unnecessary information. In my opinion, Anderson gives just enough information to interest the reader and hopefully convince them to research further on their own!

      Each page also includes dialogue boxes which add a little bit of humor to Faulkner’s illustrations. The dialogue boxes and illustrations continue to showcase the play that the story focuses on. I laughed out loud while reading many of them!

      At the bottom of each page is a timeline that spans 1763-1920 (women get the vote!). The timeline highlights all the important events of the Revolutionary War. This is also every teacher’s dream.

      Finally, the book ends with four pages that profile “Even More Dames”. Laurie Halse Anderson provides information on even more Revolutionary dames, while also debunking myths (Molly Pitcher). Anderson also focuses on women of all races and creeds- there are African-Americans, Oneida women, Loyalists, and Tories throughout the book.

      The book concludes with an author’s note, illustrator’s note, a bibliography, and an index of the famous dames. Every teacher’s dream!" Sarah Mulhern – taken from her blog entry at

  • Join the Forest!

    Join the Forest!

  • Faulkner Bio

    Matt Faulkner Bio

    Award winning children’s book author and illustrator Matt Faulkner grew up in a small town just outside of Boston, Ma. Upon graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1983, Matt took a job setting typography in NYC at an ad agency. Boy, was that ever the wrong job for Matt! Luckily the owner of the agency liked the drawings Matt had done on his work table during lunch and hired him to draw storyboards!

    Matt’s first author/illustrated work was “The Amazing Voyage of Jackie Grace” from Scholastic in 1985. He has created over 30 books for children since then. He delights in illuminating both historic stories and more fanciful tales and he works very hard not to get the two mixed up. Recently his author/illustrated book “A Taste of Colored Water” received the Comstock Honor award by the Minnesota State University, been chosen as a finalist by the California Commonwealth Club for it’s 2009 Book award and been chosen as a winner in the pre-adolescent category by the National Storytelling Network. The NSNetwork also chose “Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American” (written by Laure Halse Anderson) as the winner of its adolescent category for 2009.

    Matt is engaged to children’s book librarian and author, Kris Remenar and currently lives with his son, Gabe, and two cat’s on a little island in San Francisco Bay (No, not Alcatraz!).

  • Dames Questions

    Independent Dames Questions

    What is it with you and history, anyway?

    I LOVE American history!!! We are so lucky to live in this incredible country. I love learning about the past and figuring out how it influences us today.Did you do a lot of research for this book?

    Years and years worth. It was heavenly.

    Do you have a favorite Independent Dame?

    I adore Susan Boudinot and Deborah Sampson. I really wish I could hang out with Abigail Adams. I have a lot of respect for the women who lived on the frontier, and who had to be brave enough to take care of their families far away from other people.

  • Dames Links

  • Independent Dames – Teacher’s Section