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History books for first graders

From child heroes to fantastic inventions, these books bring history to life.

By Hank Pellissier

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Independent Dames

Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution
By Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Twenty-two "patriettes" are praised in this exuberant collection of bios. Sybil Ludington gallops 40 miles to warn American troops — and she's only 16 years old! Deborah Sampson disguises herself as a man to fight as a soldier. "Mom" Rinker, Philadelphia spy, passes secrets in balls of yarn. Fun, feminist read that "sets the record straight."

Hank Pellissier is a freelance writer whose fiction and essays have been been widely published and anthologized. A former columnist for Salon and SF Gate, he is a regular contributor to h+ Magazine.