The Flag Maker: A Story of the Star-Spangled Banner

by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Claire A. Nivola

Thirteen-year-old Caroline Pickersgill was the daughter of a famous flagmaker in... read more

Thirteen-year-old Caroline Pickersgill was the daughter of a famous flagmaker in Baltimore during the colonial period. During the War of 1812, when the United States was still trying to prove its right to be an independent country, flags were an especially important symbol of unity and pride. It was during this period that Caroline helped her mother, Mary, sew a gigantic flag that would fly over Fort McHenry on the shores of Baltimore Harbor. It measured 30 by 42 feet and weighed 80 pounds. This flag would eventually inspire Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner,” which became the national anthem in 1831. A well-researched and lively historical narrative is illustrated in soft watercolor images that depict the bustling new city and the busy harbor of Baltimore. The huge task of sewing such a large flag is clear through detailed drawings of women working by candlelight, with piles of fabric stretched out across the floor. Historically accurate details of furniture, dress, and city life further enhance the artwork in a fascinating book that ends with Flag Facts and a bibliography. (Ages 7–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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