Our Flag Was Still There: The True Story of Mary Pickersgill and the Star-Spangled Banner

S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. May 2019. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534402331.
Gr 3-5–The fledgling United States needed a way to establish its national sovereignty, and what better way to do it than with a flag? Enter an unassuming flag-maker, Mary Pickersgill, who ran a shop employed exclusively by women. For weeks they labored day and night to create what is now a lasting symbol of American history: a flag that is 30 feet tall and 42 feet long, and is now on display at the Smithsonian. As fate would have it, while the flag flew during a battle at Fort McHenry in 1814, Francis Scott Key witnessed the red, white, and blue flag staying its course and continuing to fly. He was inspired to write a poem, which we now know as our national anthem. Hartland’s illustrations were done in gouache and feature interesting details and vivid colors. Speech bubbles bring the story to life. The author’s note contains fascinating information, including the fact that Mary Pickersgill’s flag was actually the second official version of the American flag. Don’t miss the endpapers, which feature an interesting mishmash of artifacts of the time.
VERDICT A great addition to any library, this picture book shares information about a lesser known yet important woman who left her mark on the history of the United States

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