Long May She Wave: The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and Her Star-Spangled Creation

illus. by Holly Berry. 40p. bibliog. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481460965.
Gr 1–5—Hailing from a long line of flag makers, 13-year-old Caroline Pickersgill was up to the challenge when the commander of Fort McHenry in Baltimore came to her mother's business and ordered the biggest flag he could get (42 feet by 30 feet). Over the next six weeks, Caroline and her mother, grandmother, and two cousins, along with 13-year-old Grace Wisher, an African American indentured servant to Caroline's mother, spent numerous hours cutting and stitching the flag together. When the fort was later attacked by the British during the War of 1812, it was this magnificent flag that would inspire Francis Scott Key to write what would become "The Star-Spangled Banner." Fulton describes the British attack with fervor, integrating lyrics to the anthem into the narrative ("Each explosion gave enough light for Caroline to see, through the night, that the flag was still there."), while Berry's collaged block prints with colored pencil are full of energy, action, and red, white, and blue.
VERDICT A brief but stirring account of a moment in early U.S. history. For medium to large collections.

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