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A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing…

A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women

by Lynne Cheney

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A is for Abigail contains many short biographical sketches of women in American history. Each page has a theme: women of science, women writers, etc. There is a wide variety of women in the book. The illustrations fit the theme of each page. It is a good introduction to American history for 3rd graders. ( )
  aleader | Mar 20, 2014 |
This is a book that this through the alphabet listing historical American women.

Personal reaction:
I honestly hadn't realized there were so many great historical women. I wish it would have listed some more important facts about each woman.

Classroom extension ideas:
1. Create an almanac of great American men and their accomplishments. (Each student will be assigned a letter)
2. Let each student recreate an image of one of the women in the book.
  MarissaWilliams | Nov 18, 2013 |
Cheney takes a specialized subject matter, women in American history, adapts it to fit an alphabet format, and then tells the story of women in America's history. Before we get to "A is for Abigail Adams," Cheney writes a note to the audience, of equal importance to the text, where she says, "There is also another story to tell, and that's of the amazing things women have achieved, often before their rights and capabilities were fully recognized." Some pages, like A and B, are devoted to one woman (Abigail Adams and Elizabeth Blackwell), while others, like "P" list a plethora of performers like Audrey and Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. At the end of the text, Cheney provides a 1-2 sentence biographical summary for the women listed on the different pages, which helps readers learn a little more about all of the women interested in the book.

As high school ELA, I'm always looking for a new way to dress up the research process; while papers are a necessary evil, students use research for more than just research papers. Having them take a subject and research it in such a way as to manipulate the final product into the ABCs or 123s of provides a fresh take on the research process. I will probably use this form (ABCs of) to have my English I students research the life of William Shakespeare. ( )
  amclellan0908 | Apr 29, 2012 |
ABC of important women in American history. Full of facts and illustrations. Fun read!
  haldemac | Mar 12, 2012 |
This book is very uneven for the choices of the women included. I am unclear what Cheney’s method was for selection. She mentions an old biographical dictionary called Notable American Women as a source of information. There have been more recent and more comprehensive encyclopedias since this source published in 1971 and 1980. If she relied on this dictionary for her information, that might account for the limited range of women chosen for this book. There are some odd decisions, like there are only 8 women artists on page N. No information is given for any of the women; just their name appears at the bottom of their portrait. To find any information, you need to look at the index which provides a line or two on each woman featured in the book. One square even depicts the letter “N” instead of a woman artist. Eight seems a pretty small number to celebrate given our rich heritage of women artists in America. Similarly, only 8 women writers are featured on the W page but then other women writers’ names are listed around the 4 margins. Interestingly, Willa Cather and Harriet Beecher Stowe are given some biographical detail but others like Toni Morrison and Pearl S. Buck get only their name listed below their image. Important native women writers like Leslie Marmon Silko and Louise Erdrich are missing completely. In contrast, the J page is dedicated solely to Anna Jarvis, a woman who pioneered the Mother’s Day holiday---not sure I would count that as more important than someone like Ida B Wells-Barnett, anti-lynching activist who I can’t find at all. I also find the illustrations to be more overwhelming than enjoyable; some pages need more white space and clearer layouts to communicate effectively.

I can think of a couple of ways to use this book. It could be used by older students to analyze who is included and who is missing in this fairly recent publication. That could lead to discussions about the inclusion of multiculturalism in children’s materials today. For younger students, they could research one of the women included in the book and do a biographical report on her to provide much more detail than given in this alphabet book. The biographies could be tied to women’s history month or with any other unit, like a unit on artists or scientists or even personal heroes.
  kimcc | Jun 16, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689858191, Hardcover)

Soldiers, scientists, performers, writers, entrepreneurs, politicians, quilt makers, pilots... as author Lynne Cheney writes, "America’s amazing women have much to teach our children--and much inspiration to offer us, as well." Coming on the heels of America: A Patriotic Primer (Cheney’s previous collaboration with illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser), A Is for Abigail celebrates the achievements of women in American history, with a special emphasis on the individuals who helped win equal rights for women. As with America, Cheney uses an alphabet book format to introduce hundreds of remarkable real women: "O is for SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR and others who were first." In addition to the first woman Supreme Court Justice, the "O" page includes Wilma Mankiller, first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation; Jeannette Rankin, first female member of Congress; and Nellie Tayloe Ross, first woman governor. Glasser’s playful illustrations are lively and busy, inviting readers to explore Abigail Adams's farm or the crowded city block that houses "V is for VARIETY," with its DNA lab, dance studio, dentist office, and "PERSONS at WORK" sign. Snippets of information about each featured woman give a taste; ideally, readers will seek more in-depth biographies about the historical figures who pique their interests. (Ages 6 to 9) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:26 -0400)

Each letter of the alphabet is represented by an important woman in the history of the United States, as well as others in her same field of accomplishment.

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