Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I have the pleasure to announce. . .

. . . a brand new book! 

Along with my colleague, Sienna Larson, I have written a guide to make it super easy for teachers to use my new historical novel for young readers, A Buss from Lafayette, as a cross-curricular enrichment resource in the classroom!

This guide provides bulletin board ideas, vocabulary exercises, varied handouts, puzzles and games, reading comprehension quizzes, discussion questions, individual and class project suggestions, cross-curricular activities (language arts/reading, social studies, mathematics, heath/safety, art, music, dance, drama, food/recipes) and suggestions for real and virtual "field trips."Topics covered include the American Revolution, Lafayette's role in our fight for independence, Lafayette's Farewell Tour in 1824-5, and everyday life and customs in rural America in the 1820s. A complete answer key is included.

This guide is now available as both a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon.com.

Here is the link to the Amazon listing:

Classroom and Reading Guide: A Buss from Lafayette

Now I must admit, a few of the things (mostly musical recordings) promised inside this book are not quite yet available as promised at abussfromlafayette.com.

However, we will be making all these recordings very soon.

In case anyone out there is wondering how to print the handouts/exercises from the Kindle edition, we recommendation making a screen shot of the page and printing from that. We found this to be even easier than copying from the paperback edition.

This Kindle edition was created using the Kindle Textbook Creator, so it appears to have some interesting features (such as the capacity to create note cards or flashcards) that we haven't figured out ourselves at this point. (Please let us know if you are able to do any of this and if it is useful by e-mailing me at jensendorothea@gmail.com.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Whew! Found it!

Whenever I write historical fiction stories, I present what really happened in the past as accurately as I can. Sometimes, however, it is tricky to keep track of where I found every single bit of information I use in my stories.

In A Buss from Lafayette, I had lost track of the source of two small incidents I used to illustrate Lafayette's marvelous sense of humor. Along with his enduring commitment to the cause of Liberty, his personal bravery in battle,  his financial support of the war,  his go-between efforts to make the French Alliance work and secure even more aid, I have always believed Lafayette's humor was a major contribution to our struggle for independence. His humor and charm were wonderful antidotes when things looked very bleak for our cause. In some ways, I think he was the Morale-Booster-in-Chief!

Here is a case in point: imagine how Washington felt after the Battle of Brandywine, on September 11, 1777. He was desperately trying to prevent the British from capturing Philadelphia, a sort of Capital Pro Tempore for the 13 colonies because the Continental Congress met there.  Not only had he been hoodwinked by Tory locals about the existence of upstream fords on Brandywine Creek where the British crossed to outflank his troops, but his men lacked the training to deal with such a maneuver.

Here's what Washington wrote about the battle to Congress:

At Midnight, Chester [Pennsylvania], September 11, 1777.

Sir: I am sorry to inform you, that in this day's engagement, we have been obliged to leave the enemy masters of the field. Unfortunately the intelligence received of the enemy's advancing up the Brandywine, and crossing at a ford about six miles above us, was uncertain and contradictory, notwithstanding all my pains to get the best. This prevented my making a disposition, adequate to the force with which the Enemy attacked us on the right; in consequence of which the troops first engaged, were obliged to retire before they could be reinforced. . .Notwithstanding the misfortune of the day, I am happy to find the troops in good spirits; and I hope another time we shall compensate for the losses now sustained.. ."

One of those whose good spirits Washington found cheering was Lafayette, who had been wounded in the leg in the battle.

Here is what I wrote about that:

Another in the crowd of attentive listeners told how Lafayette had been laid upon a dining-room table to have his wounded leg bandaged. When Washington and his aides had arrived, the young Frenchman had joked that they looked awfully hungry and he hoped no one would mistake him for dinner. - A Buss from Lafayette, © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

After A Buss from Lafayette was published, I started writing posts on Bublish.com about where my story ideas came from and I could not remember where I had found this one. Then out of the blue, Alan Hoffman, President of the American Friends of Lafayette, talked about this incident in a speech he made to the group. I immediately assailed him to find out his source.  He said that it came from a rare interview Lafayette did with Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser when he was on his Farewell Tour, and directed me here: http://www.ushistory.org/march/other/lafwound.htm

Here is the article.

"Lafayette returned to America in 1824 for a triumphal tour. The French hero was greeted enthusiastically in many cities. And perhaps no city loved him more than Philadelphia, the place where the 19-year Frenchman initially met General Washington in 1777 shortly before the Battle of Brandywine.

On February 25, 1825, Lafayette granted "Poulson's Advertiser," one of Philadelphia's leading newspapers, an interview. In the piece, Lafayette recalled receiving his wound at Brandywine:

The ball went through and through; I was on foot when I received my wound; a part of our line had given way but a part still held its ground. To these I repaired. To encourage my comrades, and to show them I had no better chance of flight than they, I ordered my horse to the rear. The news of my being hurt was conveyed to the commander-in-chief, with the usual exaggerations in such cases. The good General Washington freely expressed his grief that one so young, and a volunteer in the holy cause of freedom, should so early have fallen; but he was soon relieved by an assurance that my wound would stop short of life, when he sent me his love an gratulation that matters were no worse. On the field of battle the surgeon prepared his dressings, but the shot fell so thick around us, that in a very little time, if we had remained, we should both have been past all surgery. Being mounted on my horse I left the field, and repaired to the bridge near Chester, where I halted and placed a guard, to stop fugitive soldiers, and direct them to join their respective regiments. I could do no more; becoming faint, I was carried into a house in Chester and laid on a table, when my wound received its first dressing. The general officers soon arrived, when I saluted them by begging that they would not eat me up, as they appeared to be very hungry, and I was the only dish upon the table in the house. The good general-in-chief was much gratified on finding me in such spirits, and caused a litter to be made, on which I was conveyed to the Indian Queen [a tavern/hotel] in Philadelphia, and was there waited upon by the members of Congress, who were all booted and spurred and on the wing for a place of greater safety to hold their sessions. The enemy continuing to advance, I was removed to Bristol, and thence in the coach of President Laurens (and coaches were rare in those days) to Reading [here Lafayette's memory fails him — he was actually moved to Bethlehem], where I remained until so much recovered as to be able to repair to head-quarters."

Whew! Now I can sleep nights. (I'll write about the other incident later. This post is getting too long!)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A-a-a-a-l-l-l-most There!!


$31,000 of the $35,000 needed has been raised!

Please contribute today!


OK, this is just an update on the post below.

$23,250 of the necessary $35,000 has now been received or pledged!  

 (Every dollar helps - please contribute and make a little history yourself.) 

In historic Yorktown, Virginia, site of the final major battle of the Revolution, there is a duet of statues honoring General George Washington, commander of the combined American and French forces, and French Admiral Fran├žois De Grasse, commander of the French fleet that "bottled up" the British troops under General Cornwallis at Yorktown. These life-sized figures were created by Virginia sculptor Cyd Player.

Installed in 2005 and enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors annually, the statues commemorate two important meetings that took place on board De Grasse’s flagship the Ville de Paris to plan the 1781 Yorktown campaign and to explore plans for further operations.

The problem? It was supposed to be a quartet of sculptures. There are two important figures missing! Also present for at least one of these meetings were General Rochambeau, who led the French troops, and General Lafayette, who had kept Cornwallis trapped at Yorktown until the combined American and French troops had arrived. (He also served as an interpreter at the meeting with Washington, Rochambeau, and De Grasse.)

The reason that Lafayette and Rochambeau are not represented here? There was not enough funding to create all four statues at the same time.

Now the national organization dedicated to honoring the young Frenchman who did so much to help us gain our independence, the American Friends of Lafayette, is teaming up with the Celebrate Yorktown Committee of the Yorktown Foundation, and other interested organizations and people, in order to commission a statue of Lafayette. The new statue will accurately portray this important historical event and provide an opportunity for visitors of all ages to discover and recognize the role Lafayette played in shaping America’s history.

The goal is to get the statue finished in time to be dedicated on in October,  2017, at the annual celebration of the American victory at Yorktown.

To date, over $20,000 of the necessary $35,000 has been pledged.

Please consider contributing to this exciting endeavor and helping to construct history!

To help make the Lafayette Statue a reality, click here to donate via PayPal or mail a check (made out to American Friends of Lafayette) to:

American Friends of Lafayette
c/o Chuck Schwam
302 Hart Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

The AFL is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are eligible to be tax-deductible.

P.S.  Finally, you might want to become a member of the American Friends of Lafayette.
The cost to join is minimal, and it is great fun to get together every year to learn more about General Lafayette and other figures and events of the American Revolution. There is also a great publication, "The AFL Gazette", with information about Lafayette sent out to all members several times a year.

Huge Discount until December 15!

My publisher is offering a huge discount until December 15 on my new historical novel for young readers, A Buss from Lafayette. Instead of the regular price, $16.95, the sale price will be $9.95! If you have a middle grade student on your holiday shopping list, this would make an excellent entertaining (and educational) gift!

Here's the link:

NOTE: The default payment method on this online store is PayPal, but on the checkout page, there is a link that allows you to pay by credit card. Click on that link and you'll be taken to the credit card option.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

First ever BUSS book report and picture done by a young reader!

I was delighted to find this in my Facebook mailbox yesterday! It was drawn by Michaela, aged 10, for a school book report.

Thank you, Michaela!

I invite any other readers who draw pictures from my story to send them to me to post online. (My e-mail address is jensendorothea@gmail.com.)