A brave woman’s inventive idea helped win the American Revolution.
In 1778, America’s future looked hopeless. George Washington needed spies! To meet that need, Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge formed the Culper Ring, devising codes so these covert agents could send secret messages, often in invisible ink. Tallmadge recruited one woman—Anna Smith Strong—whose Long Island home was near British headquarters in New York City. Having Loyalist relatives allowed her to mingle with British society. Who’d accuse her of spying? Anna proved capable and cunning. When British officers commandeered her home, she stealthily listened to their plotting. She concocted an ingenious scheme that signaled information was available for Washington and fellow co-conspirators, turning the laundry on her line into a code that provided the advance knowledge Washington needed to ambush enemy soldiers, helping him ultimately to turn the tide of the conflict. The British never suspected. This exciting, well-told tale places readers in the thick of things and illuminates an unsung American heroine. Lively illustrations done in a naïve style that reflects the period capture the setting convincingly and depict a few codes. Characters present white; a street scene shows a brown-skinned woman. Fascinating information in the backmatter includes Culper codes and a recipe for invisible ink.
A captivating slice of little-known U.S. history. (author’s note, artist’s note, notes, bibliography, index) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)