Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home New Picture Books in 2008 (First Word A-I) Independent Dames / by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Independent Dames / by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner


Title: Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution
Author:  Laurie Halse Anderson
Illustrator: Matt Faulkner
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0-689-85808-6
Year: 2008

Concepts:  human resources, jobs, economics of gender, producers and consumers, taxes, boycott

Review: Unlike most historical accounts of the American Revolution, Independent Dames focuses on the critical roles played by countless women-some prominent, most not. As anger in the colonies over British taxes and authoritarian rule spread, women exerted their power as consumers by boycotting British goods such as tea and cloth. Groups calling themselves "Daughers of Liberty" sewed clothing made from homespun cloth, supported American businesses, and even harassed shopkeepers that sold British imports.

Women also worked actively as spies before and during the war, using a variety of clever means to disguise themselves and the information they carried. While banned from joining the army, a number of women disguised themselves as men so they could engage in active combat, and even more worked as camp followers to perform the caring labor that supported the army. Women fundraisers collected thousands of dollars to support the war effort, and women took on a variety of non-traditional occupations vacated by men-including printers, carpenters, and shopkeepers-to keep the economy going.

Thoroughly researched and illustrated with a graphic-novel approach, this unique book makes a strong contribution by busting a number of high-profile myths and setting the record straight on the multiple ways in which women and girls shaped the course of history during the American Revolution. The country owes much to their powerful acts as consumers, producers, spies, soldiers, fundraisers, and workers.

Review by:  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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