A Note to Readers
How I love picture book biographies!
Today’s post features a picture book biography that will be perfect for Women’s History Month (right now!) or a unit on the Revolutionary War.
Teaching Revolutionary Prudence Wright
Tell us about your book.
REVOLUTIONARY PRUDENCE WRIGHT: LEADING THE MINUTE WOMEN IN THE FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE surprises readers with a little-known event and an unexpected, everyday hero. Prudence Wright’s story widens our understanding of life in the colonies, allowing us see the reality of what happened behind big events like the Boston Tea Party, boycotts of British goods, Paul Revere’s ride, and the battles of Lexington and Concord. Revolutionary Prudence Wright features themes of family, community, courage, independence, and the power of story to inspire the future. Illustrator Susan Reagan’s rich illustrations bring the past to life with strength, beauty, and historic details.
Prudence always had a spark of independence. As she grew, King George’s grip on the colonies tightened, and Prudence organized the women to fight back. When an alarm rider warned of a British attack, the minute men of Pepperell marched off to battle, leaving the women to tend to businesses and farms. But then danger threatened. Were British troops coming through? Or spies? Prudence rallied the women to guard the bridge, forming the first and only group of “minute women” in history.
What do you hope your young readers will take away from your book?
I love surprises from history that open our minds and our world. I want kids to understand that history is real people facing challenges just like us, and that everyone plays a role. I want them to peek behind the curtain of traditional stories and texts to ask about the people we don’t see there. While history provides the perspective we need to see consequences of actions, in our own time it’s harder to imagine that our decisions matter. I hope children see themselves as actors in history, too, and consider how they’d like to create a better future, what choices they’d make, and how their actions would affect themselves and others.
How might a teacher or librarian use your book in the classroom?
In the classroom, Revolutionary Prudence Wright brings history home and invites students to connect to the past. This story supports language arts skills, as well as social studies content. It offers opportunities to explore cause and effect and varied forms of independence. Revolution is more than a battle, it’s new ways of thinking, pushing past tradition, and everyone doing the hard work of change.
Can you share an exercise or activity that teachers can do with students after they’ve read your book?
Downloadable educator materials provide a variety of activities across the curriculum. In one language arts activity you can explore similes and metaphors within the text and in a class activity. Another of my favorites in the Discussion Guide is the extension “Treasures and Bridges,” in which students look at their own lives to identify treasures that connect them to the past or someone in their lives. The packet “Precious Paper: Crafts and Foldables for Revolutionary Prudence Wright” also offers a mix with hands on activities for various ages and objectives.
What books pair well with your book?
Besides enjoying Prudence’s story as literature or bringing it into a unit on the American Revolution, it’s a great resource for Women’s History Month. Here are a few more stories of women in the revolution to pair with Revolutionary Prudence Wright:
- Leave It to Abigail: The Revolutionary Life of Abigail Adams by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
- Her Name Was Mary Katharine: The Only Woman Whose Name Is on the Declaration of Independence by Ella Schwartz, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
- Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Esme Shapiro
About the author: Beth Anderson, a former English as a Second Language teacher, has always marveled at the power of books. With linguistics and reading degrees, a fascination with language, and a penchant for untold tales, she strives for accidental learning in the midst of a great story. Beth lives in Loveland, Colorado where she laughs, ponders, and questions—and hopes to inspire kids to do the same. She’s the award-winning author of TAD LINCOLN’S RESTLESS WRIGGLE, “SMELLY” KELLY AND HIS SUPER SENSES, LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT!, and AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET. More historical stories of revolution, wonder, and possibility are on the way: FRANZ’S PHANTASMAGORICAL MACHINE, CLOAKED IN COURAGE: THE STORY OF DEBORAH SAMPSON, PATRIOT SOLDIER, and THOMAS JEFFERSON’S BATTLE FOR SCIENCE: BIAS, TRUTH AND A MIGHTY MOOSE.