Monday, May 3, 2010

FIRST LADY WEEK - Abigail Adams

From Martha to Michelle, America has had more than forty fabulous first ladies, as evidenced in Our Country's First Ladies. This National Geographic book is full of interesting details from the lives of Martha Washington on down to Laura Bush (it was published in 2007). The book dedicates a spread to each First Lady in chronological order that includes a full page portrait and a perfect amount of well written copy. Learn about the influence these women had on their husbands, about the different causes they took on as well as lots of other interesting tidbits. For instance, did you know that Lou Hoover was the first woman to get a geology degree from Stanford University or that Elizabeth Monroe played a pivotal role in saving the wife of Marquis de Lafayette from the guillotine? You’ll also discover that Julia Grant once hosted a White House dinner featuring 29 courses of food and that 21 year old Frances Cleveland was the youngest First Lady. This book is a pleasurable read and an appropriate choice for this week’s theme....First Ladies!

Ages 9-12

I notice that for the same aged reader, DK published a book in 2008 that includes our newest First Lady, Michelle Obama. It has been my experience that you can always count on these Eye Witness books to be fabulous. This one is titled First Ladies and it includes a clip art CD.

Many of you have gotten to know Abigail Adams through the amazing HBO miniseries, John Adams. Following is an introduction to Abigail for the younger set....

TITLE: Abigail Adams

AUTHOR: Alexander Wallner

WHAT WAS HER BACKGROUND? The daughter of a reverend, Abigail was born in 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts near Boston. She was bright and wanted to attend school, but school was for boys in her mother’s opinion. So she spent a great deal of time in her father’s library reading and listening in on adult talk of current events.

HOW DID SHE AND THE FUTURE PRESIDENT MEET? When she was seventeen, she met the 26 year old lawyer, John Adams, who was a friend to her sister’s fiance. He was very impressed with her knowledge. They married a couple of years later.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: She gave birth to six children. Of those, four reached adulthood and of those, one became the sixth president of the United States. She was often responsible for managing the family’s farm and finances while her husband traveled. She was directly effected by the brewing storm between the colonials and Britain. She boycotted goods that carried British taxes by making them herself, sheltered Boston residents who were fleeing the city after the Boston Tea Party and tried to influence her husband’s opinion regarding rights for slaves and women in the new laws he was helping to create. Unfortuanetly one reply he gave was “I cannot but laugh.” Believing strongly in education she sent her daughter to school and taught a black servant, who was not allowed to attend school, how to read and write.

Illustrated in a folk art style, this book is an excellent way to acquaint your child with a strong and bright woman who was present during our country's founding.

Ages: 4-8

Activity: Color Abigail and John Adams

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