Recent Posts

Monday, March 2, 2009

They Called Her Molly Pitcher

They Called Her Molly Pitcher
by Anne Rockwell

Universal Themes:
Courage, Fear, Heroism

Before Reading Questions
  • What is a hero? (Prior to discussion, the teacher may want students to create a bulleted list on this topic, or on the topic What is heroism?).
  • Who can name some adjectives that describe a hero?
  • Someone mentioned that heroes are brave. Does that mean that they do their heroic acts without any fear? Is it possible to be brave and scared at the same time? (In Number the Stars, this is a key lesson that the main character learns).

They Called Her Molly Pitcher tells the true tale of Mary Ludwig Hays, who takes her husband's position at the cannon when he is wounded by enemy fire during the Battle of Monmouth. She survives the battle, and is later recognized by General George Washington.
The book is a fabulous text to share during Women's History Month, during a unit on the American Revolution, or in a study of New Jersey state history. This picture book also serves as an excellent discussion starter prior to any novel dealing with courage or determination.

Rather than provide the usual extension activities, I'll point you in the direction of Teachers at Random, a free resource site for teachers from Random House books. In addition to the They Called Her Molly Pitcher Teacher's Guide, you'll find numerous resources for both picture books and novels, many available in a compact pdf format.Also, check out this post here at Teach with Picture Books called I Need a Hero. It features lots of terrific ideas for exploring the concept of heroism.

Also, be sure to click on American Revolution in the tags to the right for more books on this topic.

I will add that this is a superb book for studying conflict. It features character vs. character (the battle itself), character vs. self (Molly overcoming her own fear), character vs. nature (the battle was fought on an extremely hot day, and many soldiers succumbed to heat stroke), and character vs. society (Molly overcame prejudice against women in battle). My students have been able to produce well-structured expository paragraphs on the topic of conflict following a read-aloud and discussion of this text.