Independent Dames

What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution

Independent Dames

Illustrated by: Matt Faulkner
For Ages: 6 - 10
  • 2
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 make up part of the story? What about the women? The girls? The dames? Didn't they play a part?

Of course they did, and with page after page of superbly researched information and thoughtfully detailed 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!
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 40 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689858086 | 
  • June 2008 | 
  • Grades 1 - 5 | 
  • Lexile ® 930L
List Price $19.99 (price may vary by retailer)



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Reading Group Guide


By Laurie Halse Anderson

Illustrated 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.  


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.


  • 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
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About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson
photograph courtesy of the author

Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Chains and Speak, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also received the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and Laurie was chosen for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Pennsylvania, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @HalseAnderson, or visit her at